George W. Bush's Machiavellian Reshaping Of Middle Eastern Alliances

The Long March
President George W. Bush and Niccolò Machiavelli
Wikimedia Commons

Will future historians speculate that President George W. Bush was Machiavellian in his foreign policy moves? I ask because when you look at the Middle East today, we see a new alliance between Arabs and Israel against Iran and its allies in the region. I don’t think that new alignment has been discussed enough in this country. I welcome your thoughts on it.


The proximate cause of the shift, it seems to me, was the U.S. invasion of Iraq 14 years ago, which turned over that country to its Shiite majority, who are natural allies of Iran.

Iran, in turn, is by far the most powerful country in the region. Like Iraq, it has oil, water, and people—a threesome no other country in the area has. (Egypt, Turkey, and Syria have two, Saudi Arabia has one.) Nowadays we see Tehran holding great influence in two of the three great historical capitals of Arab culture—Baghdad, and Damascus. (The third is Cairo.) Iranian influence extends from the Mediterranean to western Afghanistan.

The result seems to be that in recent years, Arab states have become less interested in confronting Israel and more in countering Iranian moves around them.

Or did Bush just revive Henry Kissinger’s plan from the pro-Iran title in the 1970s? I get confused.

(New Line Cinema)

The Marine Corps has tapped a new Silicon Valley defense firm to develop a "digital fortress" of networked surveillance systems in order to enhance the situational awareness of security forces at installations around the world.

Marine Corps Installations Command on July 15 announced a $13.5 million sole source contract award to Anduril Industries — the two-year-old defense technology company and Project Maven contractor founded by Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and several former Palantir Technologies executives — for a new Autonomous Surveillance Counter Intrusion Capability (ASCIC) designed to help secure installations against "all manners of intrusion" without additional manpower.

This is no standard intrusion system. Through its AI-driven Lattice Platform network and 32-foot-tall autonomous Sentry Towers, Anduril purports to combine the virtual reality systems that Luckey pioneered at Oculus with Pentagon's most advanced sensors into a simple mobile platform, enhancing an installation's surveillance capabilities with what Wired recently dubbed "a web of all-seeing eyes, with intelligence to know what it sees."

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The Marine Corps' dune buggy drone jammer may have downed two Iranian drones in the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. military have officials announced.

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer was transiting the Strait of Hormuz on July 18 when two Iranian drones came dangerously close, according to U.S. Central Command.

"This was a defensive action by the USS Boxer in response to aggressive interactions by two Iranian UAS [unmanned aerial systems] platforms in international waters," CENTCOM spokesman Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement. "The Boxer took defensive action and engaged both of these platforms."

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On July 17, Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal briefly met with President Donald Trump at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina to discuss the eponymous legislation that would finally allow victims of military medical malpractice to sue the U.S. government.

A Green Beret with terminal lung cancer, Stayskal has spent the last year fighting to change the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court precedent that bars service members like him from suing the government for negligence or wrongdoing.

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The Pentagon is no longer topless. On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Mark Esper as the United States' first permanent defense secretary in more than seven months.

Esper is expected to be sworn in as defense secretary later on Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.

"We are grateful for the Senate leadership and the Senate Armed Services Committee's willingness to quickly move through this process," Hoffman said.

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(Paramount Pictures via YouTube)

The new trailer for Top Gun: Maverick that dropped last week was indisputably the white-knuckle thrill ride of the summer, a blur of aerial acrobatics and beach volleyball that made us wonder how we ever lost that lovin' feeling in the decades since we first met Pete "Maverick" Mitchell back in 1986.

But it also made us wonder something else: Why is Maverick still flying combat missions in an F/A-18 Super Hornet as a 57-year-old captain after more than 30 years of service?

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