When it comes to foreign policy, President Obama can’t seem to win. Critics correctly point to how his efforts to draw red lines have become an international joke. And even his success at toppling dictators, or his efforts to help the “reformists,” whoever they are, have all had adverse unintended consequences. Indeed, the Arab Spring he helped nurture has witnessed widespread violence on an unprecedented scale. Chaos now reigns!
However, the fact that many of Obama’s political opponents call for more boots on the ground and a concerted effort to “eradicate” ISIS shows that the president is not alone in his advocacy of irrational policies. George Bush’s ground war in the Middle East proved, if nothing else, that we can’t “nation build” in the Middle East. The Muslim culture, their institutions, and even the people themselves, educated in religious schools to hate all Infidels, are not able to develop the ordered society needed for peace and prosperity. History proves this–their culture and their nations have stagnated, strangled by the Inman’s adherence to Sharia law, backward-looking observers for the last 1,000 years, while the West grew prosperous and free. They are still in a tribal culture, something Europeans left behind thousands of years ago.
Our continued meddling is based on the concept that we have a strategic interest in the region, or that we have a duty to stand up for human rights. Hawks compare our failure to solve the crises disrupting the Middle East to Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler that led to WWII. But, this is not 1939 when Hitler and a modern militarized Germany threatened Europe. Perhaps there was a need to deter Germany then–before they ravaged Europe. However today the Middle East presents a very different situation. None of the countries are advanced industrial nations and none have the Blitzkrieg strength, aircraft, and armored forces that can run over their neighbors–let alone land on the shores of North America. Plus they are fractured into at least a dozen warring, tribal sects all set on dominating each other. Germany and Japan were led by a single leader who could marshal their forces along a consistent and malignant objective. In the Middle East, tribal and religious factions render national boundaries irrelevant and create constant insurgencies and horrific terrorist disruptions. Significantly, they are totally dependent on foreign nations for their arms and sustenance. They pose little threat to the nations outside the Middle East. If they have a nuclear factory it can be destroyed by missiles and bombs. Indeed, a true embargo would have them back fighting each other with clubs and sharpened stones!
It is curious that virtually all American politicians and pundits argue for some degree of force to wipe out the terrorist menace. Where are the Doves when you need them? Let’s look at what’s happened–all our efforts have failed to bring stability to the region. It seems that our presence impairs even what internal strength these countries possess. Most of the Muslim leaders are motivated to do nothing in the hopes we will solve their problems, and yet they enjoy our failures and resent our interference. It is a culture we fail to understand. It is very possible that if we disengaged they would begin to address their own problems. Even if they don’t, it’s not our problem!
As an inveterate contrarian, I suggest the best answer is that we should simply get out–totally–remove all Americans, close the Embassies and let them have at it. Give Israel a free hand to protect themselves. We have no strategic interest there. It’s a hornet nest, the graveyard of civilizations, and our presence only muddles their conflicts. We don’t even know who to help, who are the good guys, nor how to help them if we did. For over 60 years America has poured sweat, money, and blood into the Middle East with nothing to show for it. Hundreds of diplomatic meetings and billions of dollars of hand-outs have left a consistent record of failure. To continue such a failed effort is insanity.