15 Oct 2009

Middle East Map Fun!

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I am knowledgeable in many diverse fields, but one of my obscenely blind spots is geography. I am not kidding, once in Hillsdale (as a student) we had a map quiz for a history class. There was a map of the US that didn’t have the state names; I can’t remember if the borders were noted. In any event, I tried to be funny and put “Lake Baw Beese” on the map (named after an Indian chief who lived in the area before the Michigan authorities made a perfectly legitimate real estate transaction, I’m sure). I think I got a 60% on the quiz, and the professor noted that I had placed Lake Baw Beese in Illinois, not Michigan.

With that preamble, it occurs to me that maybe some Free Advice readers are similarly inept when it comes to the Middle East. So here ya go, to help you make sense of all the news stories:

(Map source)

Some observations:

(1) The borders of Kuwait were not exactly determined through Lockean principles. Do you think Saddam Hussein minded that his access to the Persian Gulf was [almost] completely blocked? I think Walter Block has written essays on this kind of thing, in the context of private roads…

(2) Imagine you are the leader of Iran. When you’re not busy refining uranium, you pay attention to what the United States government is doing. After 9/11 they invade and occupy Afghanistan, in order to defend the US. Then they invade and occupy Iraq, in order to defend the US. They have Predator drones patrolling Pakistan, and US troops occasionally cross the border to hunt down terrorists–to defend the region and the US. They already have bases established in Kuwait. They have an air base in Turkey. If you were a paranoid sort–and I bet all those imperialist Iranian leaders are, it’s just like them–you’d start to smell a rat. You’d probably really get worried if the talks about a US base in Azerbaijan ever went anywhere. (You would have been quite relieved–phew!!–when the US ambassador announced in 2005 that there were no plans to relocate a military base to Turkmenistan.)

(3) So, who’s surprised that all of our military honchos and hawkish pundits keep telling us how dangerous Iran is?

One Response to “Middle East Map Fun!”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good stuff. I have come to the conclusion that the world will not be safe until the Abrahamists (Christians, Jews and Muslims) disappear from the face of the earth.