The horror of this past week has been traumatic for most of the world, for all religions and all nationalities. This is NOT a clash of civilizations. This is seventh century barbarism.
The sheer savagery of the Paris massacre is beyond description. The revelation of seemingly half-hearted counter-terrorism effort in Belgium is deflating. The stay-the-course anti-Assad position of the U.S. administration inspires angst. It’s like we’re all aimlessly herding cats. And the evil ones take charge, and celebrate, because of all that confusion.
There is a lot of talk about the need for American leadership in the world. What does that mean exactly? It means learning from recent history for one thing. And that history tells us that a strategy of regime change is a failed policy. The results in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya scream: STOP IT.
“History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” -as Mark Twain put it.
The United States has wasted something like 2 trillion dollars and countless lives changing regimes during the past thirteen years. The results: bloodthirsty Sunni radicals appear to be better organized and more motivated in each area. ISIS discovered a void in these locations (one hesitates to call them cohesive nations). And in the case of Iraq, the terrorists have propagated in a milieu of Sunni vs. Shia hatred where the brave Kurds hang on for dear life. ISIS would have lasted about five seconds under Saddam Hussein. Libya was probably better off, more stable, under the iron fist of wicked Gadhafi than it is with the anarchy and incipient Sunni ISIS caliphate. Is Afghanistan ISIS’s next target?
My point? It is that the United States must desist from a strategy of regime change in Syria. Rather we need to refigure our objective of getting rid of Assad. As evil as he (and his late father) is, he pales next to the barbarity of ISIS. The United States should indeed lead. And it needs to lead an AD HOC coalition of forces in Syria and Iraq that is focused on one thing: the obliteration of ISIS. Leave the status of Assad to diplomacy (as vague as that may sound); on the back-burner. But when it comes to warfare, it needs to be focused on one, repeat one, enemy. And that enemy is ISIS.
It seems obvious to even the most casual observer that the oil-rich Sunni nations in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia and the rest) will not be effective members of a coalition that is hell-bent on wiping out a gang of Sunnis. We’re back to square one (the subject of my earlier blog post): Sunni versus Shiite.
And square one is my contention that the United States of America and Iran have the potential to be AD HOC allies, if not close friends, in the war against ISIS. An ideal for me in the effort to squeeze ISIS out of existence is a coalition of the USA, Western Europe, Iran, the Kurds and perhaps Russia – going after the terrorist caliphate from every direction, on land, sea and air. No more playing “Mr. Nice Guy”. No more political correctness. No rules of war. Do what it takes, Mr. President. While you’re at it, forget about regime change: anywhere and everywhere.