An article with an alternate idea and vision for our current dilemma.
The U.S. and Russia are both tired of terror caused by extremists. Both nations face an existential threat of terror attacks within their borders. But, we’ve managed to demonize an old villain everyone knows. The Middle East is not under an illusion that World War I and its conclusion was in the long-term interests of the region, because it hasn’t worked out.
Terror is everyone’s problem. Russia has a Muslim population living in poor conditions susceptible to radicalization on their underbelly. Islam is one of Russia’s largest denominations. China has a similar circumstance in the northwest of their country. Both nations are paranoid and concerned that their Muslim populations could house radicalized members in their communities.
A friend and colleague in Iraq, an Iraqi-born Shia turned American citizen and interpreter who returned to Iraq to help had an impact on me. He loved America and the opportunities he had found there to make a new life. He was great. But he had a different perspective than most of us at the time of the Middle East. He just saw things differently. He felt that Iraq and the Arab world as a whole were better off before the West became involved in their affairs. That was his view.
But the West was destined to inject itself. At the heart of this lays influence, economic gain, and resources amid a world globalized. We’re all interconnected. The Middle East needs to be enveloped into the greater global society, and a morphing and reaction to that are underway.
They say it’s tough to win an argument with a smart person but, it’s impossible to win an argument with a stupid person. It’s difficult to advocate for a cooling of the hype and pressure around a ‘no-fly zone’ when conclusions are drawn up. Take a look at who is pushing for safe zones. They won’t be the ones enforcing a no-fly zone. You’ve been asked to care about a serious problem in another part of the world. A problem we certainly haven’t helped. But, it’s a global issue that requires a comprehensive solution, if there is one. The only hope is helping the dust literally settle and form new boundaries.
I’ve written in the past about the atrocities being committed and our need to make a decision, one way or the other. But a safe zone isn’t going to have a meaningful impact in the long run. If anything, it could create time for groups in the area to rebuild in order to emerge later because if a solution is presented, the world will shift attention somewhere else.
We spend so much money and place so much attention to the plights of others. At some point, it won’t be possible to tend everyone else’s garden. If you’re a parent is your chief concern other children? Everyone hates the neighbor that is constantly in everyone else’s business. It’s like a friend that has created this idea of the neighborhood and is always meddling in the legitimate problems of others
Ask yourself if it’s really in our interest or a moral desire to move forward in Syria? Do we have to do something? Is Syria broken? It’s being re-tribalized. Maybe, the best thing to do is help corral the natural borders that are emerging. It’s splitting in real time and Assad will hold the coastal area with access to the Mediterranean sea. The east is where we should be aware and looking to see what happens as far as a semi-autonomous Kurdish state before they turn on us, too.
David Petraeus, a four-star general and ex-director of the CIA, told NBC News in an interview that he wasn’t confident the country could ever be reunified. “It’s increasingly appearing likely that Syria may not be able to be put back together again,” Petraeus said on Wednesday. “Humpty Dumpty has fallen and again I’m not sure you can piece it back together.”
We had our chance to do something. The American people spoke and said no. So, we let a red line pass. We already made our decision; this is just how short of an attention span we have.
It’s made it virtually impossible for everyday Americans to imagine cooperation with Russia. Traditional strategists and academics who think and study wargames are operating out of what is modern and recent American foreign policy. It’s about making others more like us in the world. We want more nations to be reimagined in our image of democracy. It sounds hokey, but it also seems right.
Something that may have emerged out of the Arab Spring is an emergence of Islamism and a rejection secularism. It explains the populism of Islamism and returns to the caliphate; the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan and Turkey. The Gulf states have helped propel Salafism via wealth clergy that has emerged in prominence from the boom in oil revenue. One thing seems certain – they’re tired of us, too. A marriage that needs a divorce.
The Iraqis, after liberating them from Saddam, are still wary of Americans. Maliki, a Shia, and former Iraqi Prime Minister made it clear he was not America’s man but, indeed, a friend. If the leader of a group of people that were violently oppressed by the leader ousted by Americans do not fully embrace us, then who will? Friends are nice but often aren’t the most productive relationships. Frenemies can get things done.
But the strongest undercurrent tells us we should not commit troops and take decisive military action towards war in this geopolitical toxic tsunami.
Featured image courtesy of Business Insider.