This morning, I quoted
Alan Greenspan, foreign policy wonk, implying that he wants the US to attempt
regime change in Venezuela. Greenspan’s attitude to Hugo Chávez was so
startling – even Otto Reich wouldn’t say that kind of thing on the record
– that I missed his idiosyncratic conception of Middle Eastern geography:
My view of Saddam over the 20 years … was that he was very critically
moving towards control of the Strait of Hormuz and as a consequence of that,
control of the oil market. His purpose would be very much similar to [Venezuelan
President Hugo] Chavez’s actions and I think it would be very dangerous
for us. So getting him out to me seemed a very important priority.
Here’s the thing: Iraq is at the other end of the Persian Gulf from
the Strait of Hormuz, which is a good 550 miles away from anything which could
conceivably be considered Iraq. Between Iraq and the Strait of Hormuz are Kuwait,
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Oman on the southern Gulf coast; and Iran on the
northern Gulf coast. (See map here.)
Reed Hundt has
Iraq has no port or border on the Strait. Saddam had no naval capability
of consequence after the first Gulf War. He had no air force. On the ground,
he would have had to fight his way through a legion of enemies to approach
the Strait from either side, and plainly would have been crushed. The U.S.
Navy is invincible in those waters.
Now I’m no foreign-policy wonk, but I do dimly remember the run-up to the invasion
of Iraq in 2003, and I can’t for the life of me recall anything about protecting
America’s vital interests in the Strait of Hormuz. Did Greenspan come up with
this all by himself? Seriously, I would love to hear any coherent explanation
of where this meme might have originated.