"Increasingly it appears that in the future US influence in the region will be limited by its ability to project raw military power into the region. And that ability is ebbing along with the influence of the dollar."

What will limit US influence in the region is the sheer incompetence of the American regime at diplomacy. We went out of our way to alienate Saudi Arabia. No matter how much raw military power we can or cannot project, we can only exert influence in conjunction with one or more regional allies. if we doubled the amount of military power we could project but still had no allies in the region with who we could work, no friendly country where we could not land a plane, our acual influence would still be marginal at best. The Biden regime went on jihad against Saudi Arabia over that journalist they wasted. I won't defend the Saudi's actions, but the way we treated them over the incident was always going to carry a cost.

LIdell Hart, in his book Strategy, reminds us that "The enemy of today is the ally of tomorrow and the customer of next week". We now have Russia as a permanent enemy. Even if regime change in Russia were a feasible goal it would be insane, because if you destroy Russia, then China, which has a lot of territorial claims against Russia, will pick up a hell of a lot of territory and resources in Asia increasing its relative power. How does this make the world a better or safer place? How does this further American interests? This is the product of people who lack basic diplomacy fu.

European statesmen once understood that the Great Powers had to adjust their claims against one another as they came up. You cooperated with other powers when you could and when your interests conflicted you tried to resolve that while avoiding a Great Power war, especially a war between coalitions of Great Powers, because that was incredibly dangerous, destructive, and unpredictable. The people in charge understand hegemony, and use the word hegemon quite a lot in their writings. They know only how to dictate to subservient satellites powers. They do not know how to practice diplomacy on the level I am describing. Thie incompetence dooms them to well deserved defeat and they may take the rest of us down with them.

Like the man said, can't anyone here play this game?

Sidebar: I am less impressed than most with the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement. The Mullahs may keep their commitments to the Saudis and the Chinese, but if they do it will be a first.

Expand full comment

“…but it is certainly remarkable that neither the US nor Israel, both countries presumably with an ear to the ground throughout the Middle East, didn’t have an inkling of what was going on…” the “tune out” method of intelligence gathering, guaranteed to lead to disaster.

Expand full comment

It's times like these that make me hopeful. Our kiddies in Washington are playing at the game they know best, politics, and assuming that is what this is all about. We are not players on the world stage at all, and even domestic matters will work their way out independent of Washington. Sure, they will throw a monkey wrench left and right, but their basic incompetence prevents them from being particularly effective in messing things up, Joe's specialty. Iran and the Saudis finding common ground effectively locks us out, and even Israel, having done deals with the Saudis, will survive. The American citizen will also survive, mostly by ignoring Washington. I count on Russia and China to exercise restraint, as they can safely assume the US is a paper tiger and not united at all.

Expand full comment
Mar 20·edited Mar 21

I will believe there is a substantive rapprochement between the Sunnis and the Shia, between the Sauds and the Persians when I see it in action.

Call me skeptical.

The USA and KSA (who took that acronym to emulate America) have a long-standing relationship. Team Zhou is screwing the pooch, sure. And perhaps once the democrat party of the USSA is firmly in dictatorial control for the foreseeable future, then yeah, the KSA will step firmly away from the USA.

Right now, these signals are simply tactical moves.

As to the CHICOM influence in the area,

good luck to them, hah.


Truth be told, if the CHICOMs could/could bring a general rapprochement between all warring ME factions, between the Sunnis and the Shias, we, and the rest of the world, should simply, joyfully, and humby offer our profound "Thanks."

Expand full comment

Lots of financial pressure building that is about to be released.

The problem is nobody knows how it will be released.

Expand full comment

I don't think there are any "slow news days" these days, Mark. Just "less fast" ones. Things are piling up very quickly. With each day that passes, a whole new multi-polar world is growing up. We ordinary folks need to be fleet of foot to avoid the stampeding mastodons.

Expand full comment

The Obamanation that causes desolation. Why would the Bad Orange Man do this?

Expand full comment

I find myself wondering how much of what we've been told regarding why we must have direct involvement in ME affairs was neocon (or other) bull...

Expand full comment

Drezner was an early blogger back in the 90s when he was still working on his PhD at Stanford and I used to read him back then. I stopped around 20 years ago because he was such a closed-minded foreign policy thinker, trapped in the Neocon paradigm. He, like so many at the time, could only see a bipolar world or a unipolar moment and could not conceive of a world with multiple Great and Major Powers.

Putin also just held a conference in Moscow for Africans, who have a long history of positive thoughts towards Russia.

It seems pretty clear now that no leader wants to follow the dictates of Babylon the Great anymore and that they see a path where they can put their own country first instead of locked into the dictates of the WEF or Wall Street or Washington. The Sino-Russian agenda of state sovereignty, one which Trump pushed for, but was already building prior to Trump, but he accelerated, is a really easy sale to the world leaders.

Expand full comment

G'day Mark and all, May be it's a slow news day but I'd note extremely important news is unfolding.

UBS supported by US Fed: Russia/China/Gulf alliances being strengthened w/Iran-Saudi 'Architecture' revealed: not-noted herein the seemingly desperate Ukrainian Bahmut offensive coming (ahead of an expected 'Spring Offensive') which -per Simplicius- if unsuccessful would seriously impair said Spring Offensive capability: considering today's posting these seem to reveal a US Neo-con/Cabal failure set producing an extremely dangerous positioning of the United States and by extension, it's citizens.

I've left out the civil issues that I think are relevant; however the incompetence and unwillingness for considering diplomacy of the US Gov't leadership is leading towards an unimaginable Nuclear option for resolution. My election concerns (etc.) pale in that light. I really do not like the fact avoiding such options rests on Putin, Xi and the alleged 'enemies of mankind' our Leadership presents as enemies requiring their actions. Finance to Military: US Hegemony is appearing to be a source for evil actions. What Has Happened to us? Best wishes for all from Idaho - where Fallout kills just as anywhere else might experience. (WrH)

Expand full comment

It does seem like the Middle East has discovered they have a common enemy, and are joining together to push back.

Access to oil should is a big priority to US interests. How this manifests? Going on the last few years, any action, however inconceivable, could occur.

Expand full comment
RemovedMar 21
Comment removed
Expand full comment