Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A New (Unpleasant) Normal

I'm certain you are beyond tired of the mess in the Middle East. "Ugly, and getting worse" is the rule there.

Nevertheless, you could probably benefit by reading Marina Ottaway's article for RealClearWorld, done under the auspices of the Woodrow Wilson Center think tank. It is entitled "The New Normal in the Middle East" and is at least as depressing as you expect it to be. She writes:
Intervention in Syria and Iraq has already forced the United States into de facto alliances with organizations it does not want to support.

Unfortunately, such inconvenient alliances are not the result of poor but reversible decisions by the Obama administration, but of the complexity of the situation in the region, which the United States cannot orchestrate to its own liking.

The United States is staying in Iraq and Syria because it fears ISIS and other radical Islamist groups. In this fight, it lacks true allies in the sense of governments or other organizations that share its goals and its values. Even the partnerships of convenience it forges come burdened with unwanted linkages.

The Middle East is too dangerous for the United States to withdraw, but it is too complicated for Washington to manipulate and change. This will force Washington to continue working with inconvenient allies for short-term, limited outcomes.
Although I believe she exonerates the clueless Obama administration too quickly, the situation in the Middle East is as complex and fraught as relationships among crime families or street gangs.

The Roman Empire knew how to solve the region's problems - which is no help to us. Their solution involved genocide and slavery, modern-day no-nos to us, if not to ISIS.