What if they gave a jihad and no Americans came?
Describing the destruction of Jericho, circa 1400 BC
King of Assyria 883 – 859 BC
Survivor of the 1915 Armenian Genocide
Survivor of a 2015 Saudi airstrike on a village in Yemen
What sort of fool believes that US forces can implant American values in the Middle East? Yes, the United States might participate in international efforts to punish war criminals and suppress inhuman forces that offend the values of all humanity. No, that region is not going to accept US notions of freedom and democracy — all of which are challenged, disputed and degraded in the USA itself — under the compulsion of drone strikes, clever alliances in the region or the seductions of “soft power.” Americans would be well advised to vote against any candidate for a US federal office who suggests otherwise.
But throughout all of US history there have been people from that region who dreamed the American Dream, and many of them came to the USA to be Americans. Most of these were good citizens who added their muscle and intellect to the building of a great nation.
Is there something to be done about the horrors of the Middle East? Providing refuge from those sorts of nightmares is the traditional American role. With relatively few exceptions it has worked well and still does.
Drone warfare? Special operations units? Mercenaries? Alliances in which America lavishes money and weapons on vicious bigots, pompous dictators and pretentious kleptocrats? Been there, done that and there is little worthwhile to show for it.
Should the likes of the Islamic State leaders be brought to justice? Of course they should be, and one of the things that the United States should do to advance that cause is to submit itself to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and insist that all of humanity must do likewise.
Are there human beings who are suffering, to whom Americans owe a moral duty of protection? It’s the world’s duty and the Americans should shoulder a fair part of the burden.
But these are not America’s wars. Whether governments of the Muslim world should be secular, Sunni or Shia is not a US concern. Whether and how Iraq or Syria ought to be partitioned are not decisions that should be made in Washington. This is not a matter of isolationism, but of moral and practical guidelines for a positive US role in the world.
Bear in mind…
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