Sunday, May 21, 2017

Useful Idiots

Fortunately for the world, Princess Snowflake's hypocrisy junket to the Magic Kingdom is nothing but a meeting wrapped around an arms deal. Snowflake reads a good game on combating terrorism, but nobody who knows anything about radical Islamic terrorism and its origins takes this guff seriously, not when the speech is coming from the blackened, beating heart of -- wait for it -- radical Islamic terrorism.

Hey, I'm fine with the aggro "drive 'em out of this earth" rhetoric of the speech. In fact, I don't have any real problem with the content of the speech itself -- except it denies most of the reality of where radicalized Islamic terrorists come from, who bankrolls them, and it seems to take sides in a 1,300-year conflict between Sunni and Shi'a, a fight in which we really have no dog to speak of.

And the practical reality is that our coddling of the Saudis takes actual sides in the wholesale carnage of SA's barbaric war in Yemen. Snowflake is too dumb to know that putting his comically small thumb on the scale will have unintended consequences. You'd think that since he has interests in a hotel in Baku that's financed in part by the Revolutionary Guard, he'd be more careful about that sort of thing, but maybe someone needs to slap his name on a place in Tehran for him to get the picture.

AmCon's Daniel Larison has written knowledgably and passionately on this subject, and places Snowflake's empty words and promises in their proper context. This is nothing new; every American administration since FDR has been guilty of this nasty open hypocrisy. This is the unfortunate price we have collectively chosen to pay for our shameless oil addiction.

The difference here is that past administrations have not (at least as far as we know) pocketed money for themselves for such deals. As Larison point out, the idea that Saudi Arabia -- where, as Snowflake's christofascist goon followers never tire of pointing out, it is illegal to possess a Christian bible -- belongs to a group of "nations of conscience" is hilarious at best, but mostly just disturbing.

Of course, as with everything else he does, it is all too easy to find any number of tweets from a couple years ago featuring Snowflake's trolling of Obama doing exactly what Snowflake and his entourage are doing right now. It was some sort of high crime that Michelle Obama refused to wear a headscarf, but totally fine for Melanoma and Joanie to do the same thing. Toby Keith playing a concert that only men are allowed to attend (little known fact:  Toby Keith is in Saudi Arabia what David Hasselhoff is in Germany. Go figure.). As the first commenter in the Balloon Juice link notes, it's all worth it to see Steve Bannon surrounded by towelheads, with no booze in sight.

In the end, this is just the first stop on a trip that goes next to Jerusalem, where the Israelis are already pissed at Snowflake burning an intel asset whilst showing off to his Russian masters, and then to the Vatican to visit a pontiff that he, Snowflake, has repeatedly insulted. Good luck, fatboy.

So nothing new to see here, but this is less about the administration in particular than the US' ongoing geopolitical strategy in general. A practical strategy balances potential regional hegemons against each other, if neither one is favorable to the superpower's strategic interests in that region. And in this case, since our operational strategy in terms of money and foreign policy effort expended, is Israel, which both Saudi Arabia and Iran propagandize against routinely.

Beyond the ME prism of Israel's interests, there is of course the strategic interest of preserving our access to oil, and now in containing the burgeoning displacement and refugee crisis, which again has been exacerbated greatly by the meddling of Saudi Arabia and Turkey at least much as by Iran.

The corporate media don't even bother reporting on these issues anymore, since for one, they are owned and operated by conglomerates which have vested interests in these imperial adventures, and for another, most 'murkins couldn't find these countries on a map, much less keep them straight in a discussion of geopolitical strategies of past, present, and future.

Perhaps if someone could spell it out for them how much a gallon of gasoline really costs once all the externalities are factored in, they might pay more attention, but probably not. All they care about is the imagined optics of this thing, but the reality is that Princess Snowflake was every bit as empty and obsequious as Chocolate Hussein Thunder, or any other figurehead who goes to pay tribute to the keepers of the holy spigot. Snowflake's speech might meet the lowered expectations that he seems entitled to on every goddamned thing, but that's about it.

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