I was waiting on my car to be repaired at the shop so I had a lot of time on my hands and so I began to read one humongous story in the on-line New York Times, the longest one they have ever written they say. It is called: “Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart”. I read quite awhile and was engrossed, but finally I succumbed to fatigue and almost fell asleep in my chair — but I will try to continue it. I think it is important.
What I think I will probably get out of it is a feeling more than ever that the United States should as much as possible let that world deal with its own problems, except that its problems have a way of becoming our problems, whether we like it or not. And we are often accused of helping create its problems — but all that is problematic in that we are the world super power and it is inevitable that we find ourselves involved to at least some degree. And today it is harder than ever to be isolationist in that we live in a world that is so interconnected and interdependent.
But, but I say, still we need to avoid getting bogged down in that world that we can perhaps never fully understand due to a culture there that is so different from ours.
Have not read the full article yet (just begun as I said) but I imagine the reason the so-called Arab Spring did not result in a magical transformation to Western-style democracy for the Middle East is that unlike, say the U.S., they did not have a historical movement toward democracy to support them. Western society began moving away from rule by divine right and by lords of fiefdoms and such centuries before the colonists revolted in the American revolution. When the colonists defied the British monarch they were not demanding some new rights, they were demanding “the rights of Englishmen”. Those rights to some extent were proclaimed hundreds of years previous in the Magna Carta (although British historians say Americans put more stock in that document than they do — but that is another subject). There is no long history of individual rights or self-government or movement beyond the tribe in the Arab world. But one day, perhaps, they will get sick and tired of being backward and will on their own, thankyou, decide to copy or borrow from our ways (maybe even improve upon them, who knows?). In fact, if we did not meddle in their affairs they might find it easier to do so.
Of our two leading candidates for president, Hillary Clinton may be the most likely to get us mired even more than we are in the Middle East — I’m not sure. But she talks tough. I think she both is more of a hawk and she finds it necessary as a woman to talk tough, tough as a man.
Women can be decisive in such matters. As I recall people darn near laughed when Margaret Thatcher dispatched the British fleet to the Falkland Islands. But under the leadership of the “Iron Lady” they dispatched the Argentines, who tried to snatch British territory inhabited by Britons.
Donald Trump: his position is indecipherable. He is both for staying out and bombing the hell out of them (in the Middle East). I think he likely does not have a clue. He would not be the first American president to not have a clue when it comes to use of the military. We have had a run of bad luck on that one.
In summary, I would just say that I think the policy of the U.S. in the Middle East should be to stay out when at all possible, but of course we have to protect our trade routes and economic interests. No easy way around all this for sure.