Bandow on the Middle East: Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and sydicated columnist, spoke yesterday at Dartmouth to a small group of students and members of the community. The Dartmouth Review and the Campus Libertarians sponsored the event.

A self-proclaimed policy wonk, Bandow gave his insights on how the U.S. could best handle the crisis in the Middle East. According to Bandow, the United States would be best served by disengaging its military from foriegn lands and by adopting a uniform foreign policy.

Saudi Arabia, Bandow said, is a “monstrous” nation which has funded, directly or indirectly, terrorism. Also, Saudi Arabia is a repressive regime�women, aside from those in the royal family, have few, if any, real rights. The U.S., then, would be best served by disengaging its troops from the country and severing friendly ties. The relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. should be strictly business�the U.S. purchases the Saudis’ oil.

Bandow pointed out the hypocritical stance the U.S. often takes in its foreign policy. The U.S. is very critical of Saddam Hussein for his treatment of the Kurds. At the same time, however, the U.S. has maintained a friendship with Turkey while the Turks have also been waging a war against the Kurds in their borders.

Bandow was often critical of the current administration. He expressed concern for the President’s eagerness to attack Iraq. While acknowledging Hussein as a horrific villain, Bandow did not see Hussein as an immediate threat to our national security in terms of weapons of mass destruction. Also, if the U.S. did depose Hussein, who would take his place, Bandow asked. His answer: There would be not safe bet that the new leader would be any better than Hussein. Bandow also stressed that many of the Middle Eastern countries could be considered threats to the U.S. as fomenters of terrorist action�is it worthwhile to depose Hussein, when the Mullahs in Iran are just as bad?

While assuring the audience that he was in no way an isolationist, Bandow stressed that the U.S. should, first and foremost, protect the lives of its citizens in its borders. By providing military support to the world, we are sacrificing our security and also failing in our mission to make the world a safer place.