The Devil We Know

An Irish proverb from the 1500s advises, "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't."  During the Cold War, the Red Army invaded Afghanistan to strut its military  prowess in the Middle East and add yet another satellite "stan" to the Soviet Union.  To be sure, the Afghani tribal chieftains proved to be formidable foes, though not unconquerable by the Soviet war machine.

Enter the United States under the Carter presidency in support of the Afghanis.  A proxy war ensued,  pitting the United States against the Soviet Union.  Without committing troops, the American CIA launched an aggressive "secret" training initiative with the mission of enabling Afghani  Mujahedeen to defeat the Red Army.  Among those fierce warriors in training marched a mercenary Saudi soldier named Osama bin Laden.  The Carter administration chose to support the devil it did not know against the devil it did know.

Almost simultaneously, Jimmy Carter recklessly failed to support Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a close ally to the United States.  Joel J. Sprayregen succinctly chronicled Carter's folly in the American Thinker: "In early 1979, President Jimmy Carter facilitated the overthrow of Iran's shah by Islamic radicals.  The shah was no Thomas Jefferson, but in the Middle East, non-authoritarian leaders are torn to shreds.  And yet the shah was our ally."  After the shah's exile, Iran became a fundamentalist Islamic nation under the iron fist of the Ayatollah Khomeini.  Once more, Carter faced the devil he did not know by abandoning the devil he did know.

Fast-forward to the so-called Arab Spring, "a revolutionary wave of nonviolent and violent demonstrations, violent and nonviolent protests, riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on 18 December 2010."  One by one, Arab dictatorships began to topple, with the specious sanction of the Obama regime.  Hosni Mubarak, although a harsh despot to Egyptians, was a staunch ally of the United States.  Obama threw Mubarak, the devil we knew, under the bus, instead supporting the devil he knew, but whom the American people did not know: the Muslim Brotherhood.  Despite insults and threats hurled at Israel and America by the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood, the Obama regime continues to reward that rogue regime with fighter jets and tanks, knowing full well that these weapons will ultimately be used to attack our only ally in the Middle East, Israel.

Next, the loathsome strongman, Moammar al-Gaddafi, dictator of Libya, was certainly no friend of the United States; however, he was the devil we knew.  With the full backing of the Obama regime, the "rebels" -- actually the Muslim Brotherhood -- overthrew  and killed Gaddafi.

And now Syrian president Bashar Assad is engaged in a two-year-old civil war, killing thousands of his own people.  Once more, the American president has chosen to support the devil he knows, but whom we do not, against Assad, the devil we do know.  Not so with the Russians.  Learning from the mistakes made in Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union, Vladimir Putin has chosen to support the devil he knows, Bashar al Assad.

I hate to admit it, but this time the Russians are right.  Has history come full circle?  Will the United States once more engage the Russians in a proxy war using Syria as the battleground?  Only the devils in the Kremlin and the White House know.

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