With the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria sweeping across Iraq, driving the army and police forces of that failed attempt at nation building before it, what is the United States going to do about it?
The underlying cause is no longer important, nor is casting blame; there is plenty to go around. No one in this or the previous administration should get a pass over what has happened in the Iraq. There are valid reasons we should never have been there, but once there, we had valid reasons to stay. The Iraqi government also has plenty of blame to shoulder.
“By not doing something in Iraq, we will show our enemies and detractors that we do not have the determination to see bad situations through to the end.”
If we ignore what is going on in Iraq and let the jihadists establish a de facto fundamentalist government over large swathes of the country, the stabilization of the entire region has failed. Our national prestige will go down. Unfortunately, prestige is what allows our country to get things done on the international stage and we have been taking many blows to it lately. By not doing something in Iraq, we will show our enemies and detractors that we do not have the determination to see bad situations through to the end.
Our allies will question our determination to stand up and aid them against an aggressor. I should say, question more. We have had a long list of failures and missteps in foreign policy in the last few years. We went from being strong but shortsighted and bullying during the Bush administration to being weak and vacillating in Obama’s terms. By refuting all of his predecessors programs, Obama has diminished our importance on the world stage much more than Bush’s policies ever did.
With the resurgence of Russia and China, both demonstrating territorial ambitions that will only be held in check by a strong country with not only the power to stop them, but with the will to use that power, many of the “hot spots” that we had an interest in during the last two decades are now becoming important again. Not because either of those countries will challenge us overtly in them, but just to gauge our reactions to events and see how we handle the situation.
If we lose Iraq, and it appears that many people in the US don’t care if we do or don’t, it will embolden China and Russia. This will effectively embolden other countries that are protected by Russia or China. Countries like Syria and Iran. We will appear too weak to stand up for what we feel is important. At this point in history, that is the wrong appearance to give. We have too many interests outside of our national borders to have every tin pot dictator and power mad terrorist wondering what exactly he can get away with before provoking a response from the US.
Iraq war veterans question what their service accomplished.
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