President Obama has been hammered for saying that in response to a question about ISIS and Syria. Thank goodness he did say it, otherwise that might have indicated we were about to go off, half-cocked, on another one of our Middle East misadventures.
Here’s the root of the problem, and the reason the situation in Afghanistan is still shaky and Iraq is still a mess. We are in no position to bring reform to the Muslim Arab world. No one is or ever will be but Muslims themselves. If you are interested in the history of the place, and how it got where it is today, I recommend this article: “You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia.” After you read it, you tell me what the strategy should be.
Here’s what I think. We should have two strategic goals. First, when confronted with a deadly, incurable disease, you isolate the sick and do all that’s humanly possible to protect yourself from them. I think we do have a responsibility to use air power to help beat the ISIS infection back out of Iraq and what may become the independent country of Kurdistan, not just because we broke the place, but also because the Iraqis have responded to our demands that they put in place a more inclusive government. Most important, they and the Kurds asked for our help. We are not acting unilaterally.
If we and whatever allies that gather together succeed and ISIS is pushed back into Syria, we’re done. Syria is already in the isolation ward and we can focus all our attention on keeping it that way. (I do sympathize with the suffering of so many of the Syrian people, but tyrants like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad almost always reap the whirlwind, and those winds always produce deadly collateral damage. There’s nothing we can do to save Syria. Syria has to save itself.)
If air power and support for local troops don’t work, we’re in for some tough times. We have only two strategic interests in the Middle East — oil and Israel. If the ISIS contagion continues to spread, I know we will do whatever is necessary to help the Israelis protect themselves, but I doubt we have the resources or the will to put and keep boots on the ground to protect all the oil fields, pipelines and ports in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. We’ll have to figure out how to get along without the 20 percent of our oil we import from the Persian Gulf.
So our second goal should be true energy independence. We should triple down on developing alternative energy sources and continue to grow our domestic oil and gas resources as long as they are needed. Even if ISIS can be contained, instability is a hallmark of the Middle East, and that fact isn’t going to change anytime soon. Getting off Middle East oil is the only way we can finally extricate ourselves from that quagmire and do what should be done. Leave the Middle East find its own path to the 21st century.
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them