Mankind has always been enamored with stars. Since our earliest history, people have looked up at the stars in wonder. The bright points of lights inspired some of civilization’s greatest poetry and stories of heroism. The beacons of light in the darkness guided sailors lost at sea and eased the fear of night for children at home.
Today, some of our favorite celebrities and sports heroes are referred to as “stars”. Compared to the heroes in mythology immortalized in the sky, today’s stars are modern heroes on the sports field and movie screens on earth. We cheer their successes as our own and wait anxiously for the next opportunity to watch them.
Conversely, asteroids are lightless, lifeless pieces of rock. They lack any internal source of light and warmth. Some may have, once upon a time, been a part of something greater and noble, but those days are long past.
A hit television show developed in 2005 called “Dancing with the Stars” in which famous celebrities were paired in dance competitions with ballroom dancers. The shows quickly rocketed to number one as audiences loved watching their stars compete in an entertaining new setting. The phenomenon spread to more than 40 countries around the globe, including in: Western Europe; North America; parts of South America; Australia; Russia and China. Almost all of Africa and the Middle East did not adopt the show, with the only exceptions being Israel, Lebanon and South Africa.
The Politics of Dancing with Asteroids
In the fall of 2014, US President Obama formed a coalition of forces to fight the Islamic State or ISIS. Obama stated that: “The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.” Over 50 countries pledged support for the fight, but only a handful agreed to take part in military action.
Obama worked hard and touted his success in bringing Arab countries into the fighting coalition: Bahrain; Jordan; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; and the UAE. This was the US dance card Obama sought for what he claimed was “going to be a long-term campaign”.
- Qatar: one of the leading financiers of terrorists, especially Hamas, but also extremists in Libya and Egypt. It’s Al-Jazeera TV has helped spread Salafism throughout the Middle East. It’s treatment of migrant workers is infamous.
- Saudi Arabia: home to 15 of the 19 September 11 mass murderers. The greatest offenders of women’s rights in the world. Zero political empowerment for the masses.
- Bahrain: a monarchy that successfully crushed the pro-democracy movement in its country (out of the lens of the western press or United Nations).
- Jordan: a leading funnel of jihadists that cross into and out of Iraq and Syria.
- UAE: another financier of terrorists
- Iran: perhaps the only country to finance and export terror more than Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It helped undermine the stability of Iraq. It is building nuclear capability while it threatens to destroy Israel.
Those are the partners Obama chose when he claimed that the battle is larger than ISIL, and that the coalition is “fighting an ideological strain of extremism that has taken root in too many parts of the region.” That is the very definition of the coalition he assembled.
Obama may argue that allying in the fight with such parties is a necessary evil. It arguably protects the US from criticism that it is not acting alone against an Arab/Muslim foe, as fellow Arab and/or Muslim countries are alongside of America in the fight. Practically speaking, it is easier to wage a battle from nearby territory, so many of these coalition partners are simply the neighbors of ISIS. Perhaps.
It may be politically expedient to dance with the asteroids, but it is certainly not pretty to watch.
The coalition against Islamic State forms: http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2014/09/heres-map-obamas-coalition-against-islamic-state/95000/
Obama’s speech to the coalition: http://www.politicususa.com/2014/10/15/president-obama-talks-strategy-anti-isil-coalition.html
A perspective on the coalition partners: http://lubpak.com/archives/74002