Friday, August 30, 2013

Brooks explains it all

David Brooks writes:
Apparently, as it turns out, there is a bigger threat to world peace than the use of poison gas in Syria; even bigger than the Islamic atomic bomb that will be ready in three weeks from whenever Ayatollah Khamenei gives the word, which could be any second. It's the fact of Islam being divided into different sects, with different beliefs, and adherents that really don't like each other very much, killing each other.  This could get big! [jump]
Image from bigfreefun.
The problem is that the conflict in Syria has become Sectarian Central, a magnet for Sunni and Shiite power players, Holy Warriors, and theology professors from all over the region. Though the Syrians themselves planned only a modest little political war, these outsiders have leapt into the country like an elephant into your swimming pool, and now the violence is splashing everywhere, to Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi, Jordan—even Kuwait and Pakistan! Many express a fear that Iraq is sliding back to the horrifying civil war that was destroying that country a few years ago for reasons I have never quite understood.
Now, of course, the violence in Iraq is easy to understand. It's because there are no US troops there. Obviously President Obama has no strategy. Nevertheless, he does have three strategies, so I'll just see if I can pick one and tell him to run with it.
The three strategies would be containment, reconciliation, and neutrality. Neutrality is the most interesting, because I can think of more things to say about that than the others. I note that Sunni players such as Saudi Arabia are always asking us to pick them to be on our side and President Obama seems reluctant to do that, because he thinks it would make everyone angry. 
The best way to show neutrality would be to chastise Iran instead of leaving them to bask in the warm bath of their so-called "sanctions".* And put those troops back in Iraq. Any further questions? 
*Note one of the worst effects of sanctions is thousands of cancer patients needing radiation treatment. And yet the production of the needed 20% enriched uranium is treated as a crime. They aren't building a weapon, they are saving lives. 

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