opinion

US Policy of Dual Containment, “the Crocodile Farm”!

“Harun’s Cloud”, a policy that makes US President say the same thing said by Caliph Harun AL-RASHID.

Mekki ELMOGRABI
Press Writer on African Affairs
elmograbi@gmail.com

Rollback or Containment? Is the title of a book by William LeoGrande; “The United States, Nicaragua, and the Search for Peace in Central America.”

According to my point of view, the question is still valid and my answer is “Containment” or its developed version “Dual Containment”.

The term “Dual containment” was firstly coined by Ambassador Martin INDYK in May 1993 at Washington Institute for Near East Policy and was defined as the policy that aims at containing two rival powers and managing their conflict. Indyk served twice as US ambassador to Israel and also served as the US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Negotiations.

Indyk was born in London to a Jewish family who had immigrated from Poland. During the 1973 war, Indyk spent time volunteering in southern Israel. This gives me proof that his policy is realistic. Also, he became a US citizen in 1993 a week before joining the US National Security Council; another proof of the reality of US-Israel relations.

When I was asked in “the African Forum” to explain “the Dual Containment”, which is practiced by the USA in the Middle East, Gulf, and almost all parts of the world, I didn’t find a better example than “the crocodile farm”.

There was a story of a businessman in Sudan, you can say he is a smart but evil person. He owns a “crocodile farm” to produce and process expensive crocodile leather. He built a big corral for dogs, the local kind that delivers 5 to 7 puppies a year. He feeds the crocodiles from the dogs and then kills crocodiles to take their leather and feeds the dogs from the crocodiles’ meat.

The containment policy was inspired by George KENNAN’s ideas of containing the Soviet Union during the 1940s. It was the era of establishing US foreign policy institutions and mainly the National Security Council which was created in 1947 because policymakers found that old-fashioned diplomacy cannot be able to stop the spread out of Communism.

Kennan was an American diplomat and historian. He was best known as – along with John DULLES – an advocate of the policy of containment of Soviet expansion. Kennan was also one of “The Wise Men” which is a group of foreign policy elders.

Ironically, when he was a young diplomat in US Embassy in Moscow, the US ambassador at the time didn’t like his ideas and requested the State Department to withdraw him from the station.

Kennan’s writings manifested in “Truman Doctrine”. His “Long Telegram” from Moscow during 1946 argued that the Soviet regime “Is inherently expansionist and that its influence had to be contained in areas of vital strategic importance to the USA”. Kennan played a major role in the development of the Marshall Plan in which the goal of the USA was to prevent the spread of communism by enhancing a free economy in Europe.

John DULLES, the second famous politician in “Containment Policy” was a Republican senator and diplomat, he served as the US Secretary of State under President Dwight Eisenhower. Washington – Dulles international airport was named after him.

Another policy, which I can explain by “controlling and modifying all possible scenarios and not to prefer one of them”. I named it “Harun’s Cloud”, a term that needs to be explained. The Islamic Caliph Harun RASHEED during Abbasid Caliphate or Empire was looking at a cloud that takes a very beautiful shape, then it went fast with the wind. “Go wherever you want to go; your tax will come to me”, he said. His empire was covering the area from Morocco to the borders of China, which means the cloud will irrigate plants somewhere, and then the farmers will send the taxes to him in Baghdad.

I call the policy of controlling all possible scenarios by inserting US interests and agenda within each scenario separately, and then let them all go without taking a decisive stand “Harun’s Cloud” because the US president will be able to say to all going scenarios; “just run, the results will be good for American interests”. I like this policy more than “the crocodiles’ farm” because it cuts to cost of supporting or financing a specific scenario and then possibly losing the results. Also, you can deal with scenarios’ owners within dual or multiple containment policies by fueling the competition between them.

As mentioned before, the dual containment policy is not over yet. It is integrated with other policies, principles, and even institutions. US cannot change this policy because the domestic policies that run by state and non-state actors are matching with US foreign policy within the dual containment. It could also be useful for the American division among the lines of the dual-party system; so all would be represented in foreign policy.

Although a similar policy of “rollback” had been considered during the third decade of the Cold War or in Iraq War, the US government’s fears of nuclear conflict made it chose not to confront the Soviet Union directly. This situation enhanced US foreign policy with a lot of smart tools that can be used efficiently only in dual or multiple containment.
Yes, it is true that Reagan Doctrine represented an important shift in the post–World War II foreign policy of the USA and became the drive of US foreign policy from the early 1980s until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Still, containment was the core of the policy. if “the containment” disappeared, how then it has been developed to “the dual containment” in the 1990s.

Reagan Doctrine was implemented through “war by proxy” by supporting guerrilla forces, freedom fighters, and jihadists at a lower cost compared to the Soviet Union’s expenses in sustaining communist governments.
Rollback is the strategy of forcing a change within a state or against a government, in the case of “regime change” which is in most cases one of the scenarios explained in “Harun’s Cloud Policy”.

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