This post is a response to a question a friend of mine asked on Facebook.
70 years ago there was a clear cut evil in the form of Hitler. It took The Allies 5 five years to get rid of him. Today, it seems to me that evil lurks on every corner. As for the Middle East I am having a hard time keeping up with all the groups, factions, extremists, jihadists etc. etc.
I study this everyday and I can’t even keep up.
The point I am making is that the problems in the ME are not simple. There is not one clear cut “head of the snake” that the world community can chop off.
What are the alternatives?
1. Blow them all to hell and back? Even more people die and that starts World War III.
2. Let them all have at each other and the best equipped army wins? This brings nuclear and chemical weapons into play on a large scale. No one wants that. The people involved don’t care – all of them fight under the banner of Allah. So death to them (martyrdom) is a reward full of gifts and special treatment in their heaven. Killing to them is meaningless. Do we tell them to blow each other to hell and back but no nukes and chemical weapons allowed?
3. Do we provide strategic help when help is needed? We have been doing this but the results are short lived. Our help comes with a cost to us as well. Remember Benghazi? To date over 7,000 American troops have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally in the ME a friend today is a foe tomorrow. If we do nothing? Russia or China steps in and manipulates the situation(s) to their liking.
Another question? Outside of oil what is the US interest in the Middle East?
There are no easy answers.