While I am not the kind of epic gamer who would sit in a smelly dark room for days on end at a convention playing D&D or something, I do enjoy games of strategy from time to time. I’ve played more than a few games of Stratego, Axis and Allies, Chess and Risk – all games based on military tactics and requiring a pretty advanced intellect and strategic awareness to master, though none perfectly reflecting the reality of modern warfare (they were excellent parallels for pre-WWI ground warfare, though).
Today, I decided to compare the Middle East in 2008, at the end of the Bush Presidency to the Middle East today at the end of Obama’s first term with the gamer’s sense of military conflict. And here, I present you with the two maps I created.
In Red are the nations which are enemy combatants – either through spoken intention or acts of war, in green are allies – nations with whom our relationship is basically civil and diplomatic, even if they don’t particularly love us or we don’t particularly love them. And in white…are neutral territories – either neutral because their spoken words and deeds are mixed (some favorable, some not), or because they have no skin in the game regarding Israel, American oil interests or American security (truly neutral parties).
2008 – September
Afghanistan* (puppet regime and security forces only, but for military purposes, an ally)
Iraq* (an ally at that time – at least the government that was in power, though terrorism was still tampant)
United Arab Emirates
Libya (not in a diplomatic sense, but the country was very dangerous and filled with extremists even in ’08)
Non-recognized Hamas-run Palestine (not depicted)
2012 – September
ALLIES to NEUTRAL:
Turkey (this isn’t anyone’s fault…Turkey has been trending extremist for a long time)
Oman (have joined Saudi Arabia in solidarity with anti-US sentiments against the US incursion into Iraq)
Yemen (see above)
Eritrea (squeezed by Somali piracy and pressures from Sudanese extremest violence)
Afghanistan (the Taliban was whipped…and they’re back and rising to power again as we time our withdrawal)
Iraq (now a puppet government extension of Iran as Iranian terrorists overwhelm their security forces)
Jordan (squeezed by Syrian terrorists and Hamas in Palestine)
Egypt (now in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood)
Tunisia (also in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood)
Algeria (our embassy there was attacked not two years ago and that government is no less extreme now than Libya’s chaotic officials are)
Palestine (now recognized by the UN…*sigh*)
Cyprus (threw us out – we had military support in Cyprus but they don’t want anything to do with us now)
Tell me where my logic is wrong here…I’m willing to listen…but it sure as hell looks to me like a map decidedly less favorable to Israel and to the United States BY FAR…in fact…if I were the green player in a game of Risk and I had that map, I would probably resign…because that’s almost unwinnable in Risk…thankfully, the US isn’t on that map and the US can still keep Israel alive, but we’re not doing a good job of it here.