Friday, January 17, 2020

The Shifting Sands

The enemy of my enemies is my friend. Therefore, the friend of my enemies is not my friend but my enemy. And the enemy of my friends must therefore be my enemy. Which leaves this whole aphorism a little top-heavy on the enemies.
Now let's go ahead and try to unravel the Middle East.
Iran and Iraq are enemies. Historically, anyway. Which makes it hard for us here in the U.S. to determine who is our friend. This is primarily due to the somewhat frequent flag burning and chants of "death to America." Protesters in the streets of Iran have lately been vocal about how the problem is really the theocracy and suddenly we have a front-runner in the friends sweepstakes. The clerics who have been in power there for decades have been our enemies for most of that time, so maybe this is our in.
We assume it was that same group of Iranian mullahs who may have been behind the missile that brought down a Ukrainian Airlines passenger jet, killing all one hundred seventy-six passengers and crew. A terrible thing. Not unlike the missile that took out an Iran Air flight back in 1988. That "whoops" was on us. As in the U.S. The accidental destruction of passenger aircraft turns out to be more problematic than an actual act of war. The Iran Air "accident" ended up costing the United States one hundred thirty-one million dollars in death gratuities. And a new aircraft. Which didn't end up making us friends or anything. We were still enemies.
But what about the Canadians on the Ukrainian Airlines flight? Canadians are friends with everyone. Which is probably why Iran is so incredibly embarrassed by their little mistake. Go ahead and try rolling the words in your mouth: "Canada declares war on..." It doesn't come easily. Meanwhile, relations between Canada and the United States might best be described currently as less-than-friendly, but still we don't find ourselves hopping into bed with Iran.
Except our "president" is now Tweeting in Farsi.
Meanwhile, the country that sent most of the hijackers from September 11 (Saudi Arabia) is still our friend. The "president" told us recently that the Saudis have even paid us one billion dollars for some of our troops. What are friends for?
If you guessed oil, I think you may be onto something there.

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