Egged on by a nuclear-armed Israel and its wholly owned subsidiaries throughout the US government, a blizzard of recent news reports make it clear that President Obama’s foreign policy team is becoming obsessed with Iran, particularly, but not exclusively, its nascent atomic energy program.
Obsessions are dangerous, because in any conflict, be it political, economic, or military, they create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by one’s adversaries — not to mention one’s purported allies. That is because obsessions shape the Orientation of one’s Observation – Orientation – Decision – Action (OODA) loop in a way that induces one to see and act on what one “wants” to see rather than what “is.” When this happens, one’s decision cycle looks inward and becomes disconnected from its environment, and as a result, the actions decided on will not have the desired outcome. The mismatch between desires and reality will then feed back into subsequent decision cycle, and if the obsession is not corrected inside the decision-maker’s orientation , the mismatches will amplify themselves in subsequent actions. Left unaddressed only one outcome is possible: what the American strategist Colonel John Boyd, the inventor of the OODA Loop, used to call “incestuous amplification,” or an increasingly self-referencing decision making spiral, that by “talking to itself, succumbs to an inevitable evolution into chaos.
America’s amplifying obsessions with Israel are creating just this kind of evolution, and there is no better example than in our increasingly dangerous self-referencing policy towards Iran, which itself is now turning into an obsession.
The downward spiral becomes apparent when one tries to examine the results of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to the Middle East through the eyes of those she was trying to win over. Her aim was to shore up our Arab “allies” in a unified anti-Iran policy. But as Rami Khouri, a highly-regarded observer of politics in the Middle East (bio), explains in this commentary in Lebanon’s Daily Star (also attached below for your convenience), Clinton’s efforts devolved into yet another version of our old self-referencing effort to shore up a pro- Israeli, neo-colonialist, foreign policy that is doomed to fail again.
By Rami G. Khouri Daily Star [Lebanon]
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Phi Beta Iota: The Secretary of State cannot be effective in the absence of a national strategy connected to reality as well as means, ways, and ends; multinational decision support with a grip on historical, cultural, and contextual realities, and integrity across the board–integrity in feedback loops, integrity of discernment, integrity of purpose.