In a column, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius mentioned a disagreeable statement:
“Among Egyptian generals, Saudi princes, Israeli politicians, and other conservative players in the Middle East, the consensus seems to be that [U.S. President Barack] Obama is a weak president–and that they need to rely on themselves for security.”
This statement is disingenuous because it assumes that power to strike militarily is equally shared. It is not; thus, Ignatius is putting forth an argument that is meant to encourage yet another misadventure in the Middle East. The United States has long had sanctions against Syria, yet now is the time for another regime change operation, after the Pyrrhic victories of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, an objective look at the facts shows that Ignatius’s intentions with his column are less than pure and, thus, are best to be ignored.
|State||United Nations P-5 Member||Population (in millions)||Nuclear Weapons||Gross Domestic Product (in U.S. dollars)|
|United States||Yes||313.9 (2012)||Yes||14.99 trillion (2011)|
|United Kingdom||Yes||62.74 (2011)||Yes||2.445 trillion (2011)|
|Russia||Yes||143.0 (2011)||Yes||1.858 trillion (2011)|
|Israel||No||7.766 (2011)||Yes||242.9 billion (2011)|
|Egypt||No||82.54 (2011)||No||229.5 billion (2011)|
|Saudi Arabia||No||28.08 (2011)||No||576.8 billion (2011)|
|Syria||No||20.82 (2011)||No||59.15 billion (2010)|
|Iran||No||74.8 (2011)||No||331.0 billion (2010)|
|Lebanon||No||4.259 (2011)||No||40.09 billion (2011)|
|Iraq||No||32.96 (2011)||No||115.4 billion (2011)|
|Afghanistan||No||35.32 (2011)||No||19.18 bilion (2011)|
Source: For population and gross domestic product, Google. For nuclear weapons, www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat. For United Nations, www.un.org/en/sc/members/.