There is an old proverb that is based upon a claim made by 4th century B.C. Sanskrit writer Kautilya: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Such pragmatic thinking has not been good in terms of American foreign policy. During the Cold War this kind of thinking led to the United States embracing the likes of Ngo Dinh Diem, Saddam Hussein, Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, the Mujahideen, Colonel Husni Zaim, etc. While a noninterventionist policy like that of the Founders would be most sane, the current American policy is completely insane. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.
After the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the hostage crisis, Iran became an enemy of the United States. The Reagan administration embraced Iran’s enemy Iraq for a short time. At least long enough to aid Saddam Hussein in committing war crimes by using chemical weapons provided by the United States against Iran. Eventually, the United States also became the enemy of its enemy Iran’s enemy Iraq by waging not one but two unnecessary wars against the nation—the second one a preemptive war of aggression. Despite the Obama administration’s efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement regarding the Iranian nuclear program, Iran remains an American enemy. Iran’s enemy the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL) is now also an enemy of the United States. At least when the Jihadist organization is fighting against the corrupt Iraqi regime. When the Islamic State is fighting against the Syrian regime, then it is a different matter. Which makes the policy even more incoherent.
Again, the United States is the enemy of Iran. However, the United States is also the enemy of Iran’s enemy Al Qaeda for obvious reasons. Of course, the United States was formerly friends with elements of Al Qaeda and the Taliban when they were fighting against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the late 1970s and early 1980s. But now the United States appears to be enemies of both Russia and the former Mujahideen. Even Big Brother in Oceania was sane enough to be allied with Eurasia and/or Eastasia while warring against the other.
The United States was the enemy of Libya when that North African nation was ruled by the dictator Qaddafi. President Reagan seemed to fire missiles at Libya willy-nilly any time that he got up on the wrong side of the bed. While the United States and NATO bombed Libya and aided the rebels in winning the civil war, the United States is enemies with the Jihadist elements of the winning side in the Libyan Civil War.
What is to be gained by this new brand of American foreign policy? It simply doubles the chances for blowback. Instead of creating enemies on both sides of conflicts, the United States should simply stay out of these wars. Instead of creating new enemies with foolish and aggressive policies, the United States should be attempting to use diplomacy to turn enemies into friendly acquaintances and trading partners. The neo-progressives want war for humanitarian reasons, and the neoconservatives want war to preserve American hegemony. Both want war. Creating so many enemies on both sides of deadly conflicts pretty much ensures that the American people will get plenty of wars which will cost them blood and treasure.