The Kurds ought to be our focus in the Middle East. They’re legitimately our friends. At this point, it’s clear we don’t know the Middle East better than Middle Easterners. But, we do know who has performed and helped us in the past. We ought to give the Kurds some measure of solidarity, because once the mess that is ISIL fades into the background, the Kurds will be out of friends.

Turkey has sent in troops versus ISIL. But it’s a masquerade. Because ISIL has given Turkey the excuse, it needs to enter the battlespace and take the fight to the Kurds.

A scenario where the Free Syrian Army, backed both by Turkey and us, go on a warpath against the Kurds would create an impossible situation. Who do we support? There’s a solid argument for either – but a stronger one to support the Kurds. As a nation, our responsibility is to stand for those who cannot stand up for themselves. The Kurds are exclusively despised segment of the Mideast.

From a larger perspective, ignoring the re-tribalization of the region (causing cannibalization of the area’s assets and people), it’s Sunni Muslims versus Shia and everyone versus the Kurds. That’s what the battlefield might eventually become. A larger Sunni force will claim to have reformed or modernized ISIL after big battles, and all Sunni groups could join to become one to stand up to the Shia militants. They will, of course, fight amongst themselves but together fight the Shia.

The Kurds are public enemy number one. They’re outsiders, ethnically estranged from the larger forces at play in Syria. Seen as heretics and ethnic enemies in the region, no one wants them alive. Because of these regional and cultural tensions, the regime and ISIL can sit back and enjoy the popcorn.

The winner in all this is Russia. We’re a reluctant loser. Their new KBG already has a victorious tale where they contributed to a quagmire of confusion that drew the Americans deeper into an impossible war. But, we could end up on top in the end. Except right now, we’re hurting.

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We need a foreign policy renaissance. One advantage of both a Trump and Clinton presidency is that no one is quite sure what they’d do in office. The “madman” theory, where a leader cannot be predicted, worked for President Nixon. It might be a good way to slow the boil abroad and begin to reassert ourselves with a better strategic vision. Whatever we do – the next White House offers a unique opportunity; an opportunity to try and get this right.

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