If there was ever a reason why we should not engage in nation building, this is it. The process failed in Vietnam, it failed in Afghanistan twice (USSR and USA), and it failed in Iraq. I have always contended that these “artificial” states created in the Middle East after WW I were doomed to revert to their original condition when not propped up by other powers. This is what is happening now.
Kurdistan is becoming more important as an independent state but can they hang on?
Iraq is reverting to a Shiite state centered in Baghdad and supported by Iran. It may very well become a province of Iran.
ISIS is setting up a caliphate consisting of Syrian and Iraqi territory.
Syria is much smaller but still controlled by Assad. Will it fail?
Lebanon is basically controlled by Hezbollah.
Libya is literally falling apart into fiefdoms controlled by local tribes and war lords.
Egypt is stable for the time being but I doubt that those living close to Sudan feel safe. The last time I visited Egypt we needed armed convoys to travel to various tourist sites for fear that terrorists would attack. This was under Mubarak and it is much worse now. The Christians are being persecuted without remorse.
Those states that were relatively untouched, and are ruled by kings and emirs are relatively stable. They are also fragile particularly if the royal families are decimated by deaths or family coups. Most of these are on the Arabian peninsula. Kuwait, also controlled by an emir, is included here.
All of these states were outgrowths of World War 1 politics and all are falling apart.
Gaza and the West Bank are controlled by Hamas. Neither is a real state.
The one exception is Israel. It is surrounded by chaos. It is democratic. It is prosperous. It is oriented to the West. And we do nothing to help them.
So what does it mean to us?
I have long promoted a new #crusade and an embargo/containment of the middle east. This is more important than ever. As awful as the humanitarian crisis is, there is little we can do about it. We can’t stop the war lords and sheiks from moving back to the 12th century. It is their business if that’s what they want. Our interest is to prevent radical islam and its terrorism from crossing the boundaries. Because if that happens it will be to attack the West.
I am talking about a total embargo. We can’t let ships, planes or even vehicles to cross borders unless they are thoroughly inspected by Western forces and our allies in the area. If training camps or other al Qaeda centers pop up, they should be bombed to oblivion. Military forces (state sponsored or private) should be used to protect such vital installations as oil fields and refineries. They should also be used to inspect the movement going in and out of those countries.
We can work with other stable middle eastern states to assist. This means that we need to have good relations with Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Israel and even Iran. it is in everyone’s interest to contain al Qaeda.
We should recognize the state of Kurdistan and provide it with military assistance in the form of arms, vehicles, and well armed advisors. Kurdistan, Jordan, Kuwait, and Israel can be used to base Western troops and to stage rapid commando attacks on al Qaeda targets.
We must convince Europe that it is in their interest to help us now because they are next if we let this cancer grow.
We can’t lost sight of Russia’s intent to recover some of its “lost” territory. We must support our NATO allies to make sure that Ukraine remains free and to make it clear that an attack on us will result in devastation to the Russians.
We can’t do any of this with Obama’s feeble foreign policy. Rather than shrink the military, we need to expand it back to Reagan era levels. I am willing to pay higher taxes if that is what it takes to fund it, although I am sure that we can find a great deal of savings in domestic programs. Our strategy should be very different…containment, not nation building. As hard as it might be we should restrict our humanitarian efforts. We can’t do anything about beheadings, mass executions, and sharia, as much as we might be tempted. Perhaps after a hundred years they’ll kill each other off and they can start fresh.
A containment policy would ensure that these failed states remain that way. The stronger they get as nation-states the more dangerous they are to us.
I know that our people are war-weary. Our leaders must start leading else our people will be in much worse shape. This should be a political issue now. It is one that the GOP can start raising. Will we have boots on the ground? Yes…to protect our vital interests and to prevent further expansion of the caliphate. More to the point, we should have a robust drone and manned aerial force, and a robust navy to ensure that the caliphate and its people stay where they are.
I fear that Obama is allowing all this to happen intentionally. He is destroying us at home and internationally. It is time for us to kick him out of here.
The following is from the Wall Street Journal and articulates many of the dangers we now face.
The Iraq crisis–alas, how to count the calamitous ways! Here are the top 10:
1. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has become the most aggressive and ambitious extremist movement in the world. It is also the most deadly and the most accomplished, dwarfing al-Qaeda in influence and impact. And under current conditions, it looks largely unchallenged.
2. An undisciplined militia with a rigid and intolerant ideology walked over a conventional army that the U.S. trained, armed and aided—at a cost of billions of dollars. Large numbers of Iraqi forces simply took off their uniforms, dumped their equipment and fled–leaving hundreds of thousands of civilians without protection. Extremist thugs captured millions of dollars’ worth of military equipment, which will only bolster their onslaught.
3. ISIS terrorizes rather than governs the turf it takes. It has little regard for human life or respect for basic rights. Its system of justice is utter injustice.
4. The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shows no ability to end the crisis politically. Since taking office in 2006, Mr. Maliki has become increasingly authoritarian and repressive. He has repeatedly failed to craft a viable formula for power sharing among disparate ethnic and sectarian groups, which could have eased tensions. Instead, he has antagonized and confronted.
5. The Iraqi people are caught in the middle of all this. Hundreds of thousands have reportedly fled the new areas the ISIS has captured. Many more may follow if ISIS continues to forge ahead—and remember, the region has already shown itself unable to absorb or tend to millions of Syrian refugees.
More In Think Tank
10 Dangers in the Iraq Crisis
Cantor’s Loss Is One for the History Books
Did Tax Increases or Spending Cuts Spur Greater Growth in Europe?
Don’t Blame the Tea Party for Eric Cantor’s Loss
Iraq and Syria Are Increasingly the Same Battlefield. How Will the U.S. Respond?
6. Some worry that Iraq’s turmoil could lead to the collapse of the state. For now, such fears may be exaggerated. But Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari conceded to European and Arabian counterparts Wednesday that the ISIS campaign is a “serious, mortal threat.”
7. ISIS could eventually reconfigure the Middle East if it is able to seize and hold significant chunks of Iraq and Syria, the Arab world’s two strategic centerpieces, spanning the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. No extremist movement has conquered so much territory in the region.
8. The danger from ISIS is not just creating failed states out of Iraq and Syria but spawning a failed region.
9. ISIS’s rise comes at a time of staggering region-wide challenges: Egypt is returning to military rule—democratically elected—under former field marshal