Picking up on the theme of what to do in the Middle East, I just read an article by Diane West in the Washington Times. This is provocative, to say the least:
Funny thing about the recent op-ed by Nawaf Obaid in The Washington Post outlining likely Saudi actions if the United States withdraws from Iraq: namely, that Saudis would both support Sunnis in Iraq (versus Shi’ites supported by Iran) and manipulate the oil market to “strangle” the Iranian economy…
So what should we do?
The first option is military, but it carries a seemingly insurmountable cultural override. The fact is, the United States has an arsenal that could obliterate any jihad threat in the region once and for all, whether that threat is bands of IED-exploding “insurgents” in Ramadi, the deadly so-called Mahdi Army in Sadr City, or genocidal maniacs in Tehran. In other words, it’s a disgrace for military brass to talk about the 21st-century struggle with Islam as necessarily being a 50- to 100-year war. Ridiculous. It could be over in two weeks if we cared enough to blast our way off the list of endangered civilizations.
As a culture, however, the West is paralyzed by the specter of civilian casualties, massive or not, that accompanies modern (not high-tech) warfare, and fights accordingly. It may well have been massive civilian casualties in Germany (40,000 dead in Hamburg after one cataclysmic night of “fire-bombing” in 1943, for example) and Japan that helped end World War II in an Allied victory. But this is a price I doubt any Western power would pay for victory today.
There’s another Middle Eastern strategy to deter expansionist Islam: Get out of the way. Get out of the way of Sunnis and Shi’ites killing each other. As a sectarian conflict more than 1,000 years old, this is not only one fight we didn’t start, but it’s one we can’t end. And why should we? If Iran, the jihad-supporting leader of the Shi’ite world, is being “strangled” by Saudi Arabia, the jihad-supporting leader of the Sunni world, isn’t that good for the Sunni-and-Shiite-terrorized West?
With the two main sects of Islam preoccupied with an internecine battle of epic proportions, the non-Muslim world gets some breathing room. And we sure could use it — to plan for the next round. Read More.