After a decade of war, people are weary and suspicious of any further involvement abroad. They want an answer to the fundamental question of how this serves their interests. What do we intend to accomplish? How do we plan to accomplish it? And what is our exit strategy?
Many American Iraq war veterans must be disappointed; after all, they didn't risk their lives for all those years so that the country they believed they were helping liberate can fall into the hands of extremists.
Indian Strategist Prof. M D Nalapat, UNESCO Peace Chair and Editorial Director of the Sunday Guardian, has an unusually spot-on record for predicting trends in the Middle East. This is what he has to say about Iraq.
American intervention has broken pottery all over the Middle East. Every time the U.S. attempts to repair its last accident, it increases and spreads the mess. It is time for a different approach. One in which Washington does not attempt to micromanage the affairs of other nations. In which Washington practices humility. This would not be isolationism. America, and especially Americans, should be engaged in the world. Economic and cultural ties benefit all. Political cooperation can help meet global problems. Humanitarian needs are varied and manifold. Military action sometimes is necessary, but only rarely -- certainly far less often than presumed by Washington.
The United States should use the 300 soldiers who are on their way to Iraq to stiffen its allies spines and to generate collective action to fight the forces of evil now set loose in the Middle East. America can help with this endeavor, but the heavy lifting must be the responsibility of America's Middle East Allies.
We are clearly in the early stages of the intervention sweepstakes. The initial moves may even be greeted as auspicious, but watch out for the long-run destabilizing effects in an already chaotic region. Washington only imagines it can control such combustible situations.
The insurgents are not only in a struggle against what they see as oppression by a largely Shiite government in Baghdad and its security forces, but also over who will control and benefit from what Maliki -- speaking for most of his constituents -- told the Wall Street Journal is Iraq's "national patrimony."
The battles in Iraq should be heartbreaking and infuriating to all Americans. Heartbreaking because it did not have to be this way. Infuriating because we have to know, in our heart of hearts, that this is a U.S.-created disaster.
From Egypt, it was off to Baghdad for John Kerry to see whether Iraq's bold effort in democratic nation building could be resuscitated in the face of imminent collapse. The problem there is that Kerry will have trouble locating a military strongman to back.
The Middle East has been turned into a region of several failed or almost-failed states, and if the United States and Iran do not work together constructively, terrorism and instability will continue there for years to come.
Where is the Iraqi Air Force? What does the Iraqi Air Force consist of? How many attack helicopters and attack fighters does it have in flyable condition? Most importantly, how many trained pilots does it have who can fly combat missions?
Have we learned nothing during our adventures in the Middle East and Central Asia?
The rise of Shi'ite-Sunni sectarian warfare has its roots not in the distant 7th century, but in Saudi Arabia's response to Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979, when the Saudi regime as a matter of policy began to counter Iran's revolution by financing anti-Shi'ite Islamists across the Muslim world.
With the country again teetering on the brink of sectarian chaos, it is time to stop forcing Iraq's 35 million inhabitants -- Shiite Arabs in the south, Sunnis in central Iraq, and Kurds in the north -- to coexist within arbitrary British borders.
Time and time again, we've learned the lesson that oil dependence makes us vulnerable to flare-ups in the Middle East and around the globe.
Unbelievably, former Vice President Dick Cheney, after being wrong on every foreign policy issue for more than a decade, has again crawled out of his Wyoming cave and begun outrageously sniping at Barack Obama's performance in foreign policy.