The Mideast is a region, not as a collection of separate countries. If you don’t get that, you find yourself with internal contradictions. This applies to the US government.
Talking to host Bob Bartolomeo on KQV Radio in Pittsburgh a few minutes ago, I compared the dissent document by State Department officials who want the US to bomb targets related to the Assad regime in Syria, and an interview by CIA director John Brennan, who tells my friend Nancy Youssef and a Daily Beast colleague that the airstrike-centered war on ISIS is a failure. (I’ve had the pleasure of working with both reporters.)
I’m appealing for a long-view approach–getting out of the bombing business and using the same money to help the millions of refugees displaced by the conflicts sweeping the region. Then when they go home, and most of them do want to go home–perhaps they will have a positive view of the West, as opposed to the current perception of the West as a colonial oppressor that kills from the air.
A weakness of elected regimes is that inability to plan last the next election. This concept–helping the refugees instead of bombing perceived enemies and ensuring a backlash–is a policy that could last for many years. Even so, it would be cheaper than the pointless military campaigns–food and shelter are remarkably cheaper than planes and bombs–and it actually has a chance of a positive outcome, both in the short term (saving lives) and the long term (making friends and allies).
So let’s tell our representatives that this is what we want.