Take Your Pick: Dictators or Religious Fanatics
You Can't Get There From Here
When we see Russia getting involved in Syria and the US deciding to leave more troops in Afghanistan for longer than he would like, we may be forced to ask ourselves a question: Is there a winning strategy in the Middle East? Some of us have come to the conclusion that the answer is: No.
It becomes increasingly clear that there are only two viable options in much of the Middle East. Either you back a brutal dictatorship like the one that used to be run by Saddam Hussein or you support religious terrorists like ISIS.
Our current Middle Easter misadventure which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and produced millions of “refugees” means that the Third Option, which requires that we engage in nation building and/or installing a representative democracy is a merely an illusion.
The 3rd Way Is A Trillion Dollar Illusion
Barack Hussein Obama has never saw radical Islam. Barack Hussein Obama never saw a Muslim terrorist. Barack Hussein Obama is uniquely qualified to continue to waste trillions of dollars trying to force a system on the Middle East that does not fit. In all fairness, George Bush and the neo-cons had their very own rose colored glasses that made them think that they could help build democratic nations and processes in the Middle East.
If you think about it, the reasons why we cannot force a western style government on the Middle East should be obvious. The word “force” as in “force freedom on them” or “force liberty on them” or “force freedom of speech on them” sums up some of the reasons why this cannot be done. People have to want liberty and freedom for themselves and they have to be willing to fight and die for it.
Another reason why the Third Option is an illusion is because the underlying reality of Islamic extremism. Muslim extremists are all too willing to die for their cause and they are even more willing to take out anyone who would oppose them. Once the religious purists grab the microphone in the public square in a Middle Eastern country they are not letting go. Moreover they are not shy about condemning all who oppose them to hell. So western countries in general and the United States in particular wind up being the Great Satan if we can be depicted as opposing the imposition of Sharia law and a theocratic state. God hates the western devils the purists will say.
Declare Victory and Leave
It is no accident that ISIS arose once Saddam Hussein was out of the way. The religious extremists are almost guaranteed to fill every power vacuum that occurs in the Middle East. Unlike the nuanced negotiated settlement between warring factions favored by western countries, religious extremist bring absolute certainty which sooner or later tends to win the day in much of the Middle East.
If this analysis is correct, the proper way to look at Putin in Syria might be: Let’s pack up and bug out. Let the Russians examine the bear trap from the inside for awhile.