Dear Arab Nations,

Do not ask for our help.


Go this road alone.

Yes—doing so will result in more death, more struggle, more strife. But do not ask for our help.

We could supply guns, technologies and training; and all these would catalyze your fight for freedom. But do not ask for them.

Even if you don’t ask for help, we will come to you and very quietly offer it.

Don’t take it.

Of course that’s easy to say from within the sunlit walls of freedom, but know that it’s said with an eye on history.

The people who will come to help have families, friends that make them happy. They do things like play the piano, ride bikes in the park, barbeque, smile. They are good people. But you don’t want their help.

They will take you to dinner and buy presents for your children. They will listen to your terrible stories, even lend a shoulder for tears. And then they will conduct business.

They do not see your revolution. It’s not malicious; it’s nothing personal. It has nothing to do with Christianity or Islam. Our revolution was fought by our great-grandfather’s great-grandfather. It’s not that we don’t empathize with you; it’s that we can’t empathize with you.

Your revolutions have become our opportunities.

If you reject us, many of your countrymen will cry, “Why has America forsaken us?” Show them Iraq, where we say now that we need to stay a while longer. Show them South Korea, Japan, Germany or any other country where America has involved themselves in conflict and point to the military bases on the outskirts of humble villages. Show them the shakier governments that depend on our hand and how that same hand quietly shapes policy for those people. Show them fallen governments and how quickly our friendship can disappear.

That will be your future.

Because we don’t help—we trade. We provide ammunition if you provide leverage. It’s that simple.

So go this bloody road alone. It truly is, for the good of your future.

And good luck.


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Caleb’s recent column on Bleacher Report: Learning From Bill Walsh.

Follow Caleb at

Caleb Garling lives in San Francisco and wrote The St George’s Angling Club, available at

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