In his Monday column on U.S. involvement in the Middle East, David Brooks said it is a region where choices on whom to support “normally range from the appalling to the horrendous.”
He’s got that right.
Regionwide, the Shiites and Sunnis have hated each other for centuries, and the Kurds hate everybody.
In Iraq, this has meant that when the Sunnis were in control (like under Saddam) they beat up on the Shiites, and now that the Shiites are in control, they beat up on the Sunnis.
For the U.S., this means cooperation to fight the Islamic State is hard to come by in Iraq.
Iran and Baghdad back Syria’s Bashar Assad while Turkey and the Saudis want him out.
So what should be the U.S. role in the region? Here the usually thoughtful Brooks wanders off into la-la land. Outside of a few suggestions like financial support for the moderate rebels in Syria, Brooks’ bottom-line advice for the U.S. is to “stick to our values and support people who do” and “support the good, oppose the bad.” Lots of luck on those goals.
My humble 2 cents is that the U.S. has two main goals: national security promoting economic growth at home and abroad.
If events in the Middle East do not seriously threaten either goal, let’s stop getting involved. Let the locals slug it out.
How about the U.S. focusing on the Far East — China and India?
Pine Grove Mills