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An ‘Arab NATO’ Is a Lousy Idea

Trump will propose [1] the creation of an “Arab NATO” during his visit to Saudi Arabia:

When President Trump arrives in Riyadh this week, he will lay out his vision for a new regional security architecture White House officials call an “Arab NATO,” to guide the fight against terrorism and push back against Iran. As a cornerstone of the plan, Trump will also announce one of the largest arms-sales deals in history.

Some version of this idea [2] has been floating around for a while now, and it makes no more sense now than it did before. The war on Yemen is the prime example of collective military action by Gulf Arab states, and it has been a disaster for Yemen and a demonstration of how militarily inept many of the coalition’s members are. Insofar as an “Arab NATO” serves as nothing more than a vehicle for Saudi-led interference in the affairs of its neighbors, it would be a regional menace and would involve the U.S. directly or indirectly in more of the region’s wars.

Building a formal alliance to “push back against Iran” would guarantee ongoing regional instability for years to come, and it would fuel vicious sectarian hatreds between and within the countries of the region. If the members of this “Arab NATO” conduct the “fight against terrorism” as well as they have to date, jihadists will have little to worry about, since the policies of most would-be members have helped make jihadism flourish in several countries. The U.S. will be expected to support the misadventures of this alliance, and that will implicate our government in whatever other ill-advised interventions they start on their own. Worse, if the “Arab NATO” obliges the U.S. to defend members of this new alliance it will mean more foreign commitments and entanglements for the U.S. Finally, there is no threat comparable to that of the USSR or some other major power to merit a collective defense alliance of this kind, so it isn’t needed.

14 Comments (Open | Close)

14 Comments To "An ‘Arab NATO’ Is a Lousy Idea"

#1 Comment By Viriato On May 17, 2017 @ 9:26 am

Impeach Trump.

#2 Comment By Uncle Billy On May 17, 2017 @ 9:48 am

I suspect that an Arab NATO would result in the Saudis paying the Egyptians and others to do the dying for them, in their efforts to destabilize Iran.

The Saudis, our so called “Ally” are becoming more and more expensive to maintain. We are constantly told what a good and important ally they are. If only that was true.

#3 Comment By Slugger On May 17, 2017 @ 10:12 am

The Arab nations have substantial internal disagreements. For instance, there are significant numbers of Shia in Damascus, Beirut, and Baghdad. The one thing they might agree on would be supporting establishment of a Palestinian nation. Is this what Trump wishes to facilitate?

#4 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On May 17, 2017 @ 10:22 am

This was tried during the Cold War. No dice.

#5 Comment By G Harvey On May 17, 2017 @ 11:32 am

If an ‘Arab NATO’ would be a menace because of Saudi power over it, then shouldn’t we all worry – loudly – about the Israelis and Saudis playing BFF footsie?

#6 Comment By Fred Bowman On May 17, 2017 @ 12:03 pm

The last thing the US needs to get involved with is an “Arab NATO”. I wonder what “educated beyond their intelligence” Ivy Leaguer comes up with this stupidity.

#7 Comment By Enoughalready On May 17, 2017 @ 12:15 pm

Since we’ve been going steady, my alcoholism has grown worse and your heroin addiction has become more consuming such that I’ve been fired from my job and now make a living feeding your habit by robbing old ladies. You hate my parents. Your parents have put out a hit on me. We have nothing in common, really, except a mutual disdain for electronic dance music. I’ve caught you cheating on me several times, but then I’ve been messing around whenever I can. Nothing’s been going well lately, so let’s fix that by getting engaged and planning a family. Once we’re married, our mutual love will only grow. I’m sure a formal union will be better than the informal one.

#8 Comment By Adriana I Pena On May 17, 2017 @ 12:34 pm

Funny way to fight against Islamism, by siding with the more extreme form of Islam against moderate versions, and those compatible with secularization.

#9 Comment By Just Dropping By On May 17, 2017 @ 12:42 pm

I’ll be curious to see how all the Trump supporters who were not long ago saying, “Haw, haw! Trump gave Merkel a bill for NATO,” rationalize why an Arab “NATO” would not be an even bigger suck on American resources.

#10 Comment By Dan Phillips On May 17, 2017 @ 1:00 pm

I was a very vocal Trump supporter, but I am perfectly willing to say that this is a really bad idea. We need to get out of the NATO we are already in, not join a new one.

#11 Comment By sid_finster On May 17, 2017 @ 2:36 pm

Apparently “America first” really meant “open-ended commitments to America’s frenemies.”

Who coulda knowed?

#12 Comment By Joane Bayer On May 17, 2017 @ 2:36 pm

Wahabism is already a global menace. Let’s not elevate it even further. An Arab NATO is a terrible idea.

#13 Comment By sherparick On May 17, 2017 @ 3:30 pm

I would never join a club that has people like me for a member.

Not Ivy Leaguers, but Military and Naval Academy vets. McMaster and Mattis are very bitter at Iran for the men and women under their command killed or wounded by Iran back Shia militia in Iraq and the role and influence Iran still has in Iraq’s Government.

Still don’t see why we a dog in this fight any more, especially when we now domestically produce 90% of our oil, and can ship in the rest from Canada and Mexico.

#14 Comment By jk On May 17, 2017 @ 9:02 pm

Wow, this is only getting dumb and dumber. Not only has Trump reneged on his America First and fight NATO freeloading promises, he is making even worse mutations of NATO freeloading empowering those that fight behind the US’ back and actively funds the likes of Al Qaeda.

Neocons and the Deep State have won.