Checklist for Middle East Foreign Policy; When to Hold & When to Fold

(CNN) Trump’s irritation with top aides grows over Iran strategy.

Here’s a Sun-Tzu style list of aphorisms. Something to to chew on:

  • To think one correctly identifies the adversary’s most important self-interest, and that it will act according to that interest, is usually wrong. (Sanctions.)
  • Don’t blow up a political  system, however odious, unless you have the means and will to replace it. Consider: Responses to Syrian use of poison gas, overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.
  • Any power, no matter how strong, needs allies.
  • Make your alliances before the battle.
  • An untested ally is likely to be imaginary.
  • Keep your friends closer than your enemies (Yes, the opposite.)  Cherish them.
  • Always offer the adversary a compromise to your absolute demands. He might take it.
  • Distinguish between the evil you can live with, and what you cannot abide.
  • Act as if you are signing the deployment orders and condolence letters.
  • Don’t start wars. Finish them.

You got to know when to hold them know when to fold them.


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