First this little tidbit to get your morning going:
The United Arab Emirates has secretly dispatched hundreds of Colombian mercenaries to Yemen to fight in that country’s raging conflict, adding a volatile new element in a complex proxy war that has drawn in the United States and Iran.
The arrival in Yemen of 450 Latin American troops — among them are also Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean soldiers — adds to the chaotic stew of government armies, armed tribes, terrorist networks and Yemeni militias currently at war in the country. Earlier this year, a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia, including the United States, began a military campaign in Yemen against Houthi rebels who have pushed the Yemeni government out of the capital, Sana.
Yep, the whole world is festering with unhappy souls, and we are arming them to the teeth. Happy Thanksgiving.
Okay, I promised to solve the Middle Eastern crisis in one simple blog. You know, it is a great responsibility and not easy trying to save the world from my iPad in the morning, usually in one page or less. But somebody has to do it because our mainstream press asks really important questions like, “Marco, what non-politician would you like to sit down and have a beer with?” If that weren’t bad enough, he answered Malala who is probably underage and a Muslim (doesn’t drink). I rest my case on the brain trust that is running for President on the Republican side.
Okay, the common perception is that ISIS is the problem. So the easy answer (see Lindsey Graham) is to send in our troops and wipe them out. However, we have the vacuum problem. Who fills the vacuum after we go or do we just stay there forever being the policeman of the world? It’s what we did before. You get the problem.
But there really is a more fundamental problem which many have pointed out has to be dealt with or the problem just keeps raising its ugly head. This problem is the lust for religious totalitarianism that cannot abide any other beliefs. It is not just Islam, Christianity has this in its blood stream also, but we have a more tame version where if you don’t believe the “right” way you are just damned to hell. God will get you in the end and that is good enough. That’s actually a comforting thought for us atheists since we think God is a figment of the imagination anyway. And I am always reminded of priest and pastors who are “right” thinking, sexually abusing their flock.
The good news, like Christianity, most Muslims are quite happy with live and let live, so part of the solution is to mobilize them against the more crazy Muslims. When we see shows like The Book of Mormon, being played out as The Book of Mohammed, we know we have arrived. All kidding aside, just getting the discussion going without death threats within the Muslim world would be a big start. So whatever we do, that has to be part of the solution.
The next thing we have to do is recognize that what we have been doing does not work, period. And from Libya to Yemen to Syria to Iraq and Afghanistan, our many varied approaches have yielded very little unless of course you manufacture and sell arms or more sadly, if you are in the medical rehabilitation field. Oh, and it has worked swimmingly if you sell dilapidated boats to refugees. So we have a region in chaos, millions migrating to Europe, and ISIS and al Qaeda exporting war to our shores. Not what I would call a success.
So we throw everything we think we know away. That includes established borders and who are our friends and foes. Next we have to lay out our goals. I know this is Project Management 101, but apparently those in charge could use a little. Here would be my goals:
- Destroy ISIS and al Qaeda (and the idea of intolerant religions)
- Separate the warring factions and quit trying to get them to hold hands (Iraq)
- Stand behind our American principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (did I forget minority rights (Think women here)?)
- End the refugee crisis
For Goal 1, we make whatever deals we have to except allowing a war criminal like Assad to remain in power. If we do let him stay in power, it will be self-defeating and violate Goal 3. There are going to have to be some Americans involved and NATO has to step up to the plate, along with primarily Arab ground troops. This includes putting the screws to Pakistan who have nurtured al Qaeda and the Taliban in their territories.
As part of this, we are going to have to establish a no-fly zone and using NATO forces secure it so the refugees do not have to go to Europe (Goal 4). This will also require massive humanitarian aid, to build a modern place to be safe while the nuts can fight their wars elsewhere. Cause trouble and out you go. This could even become a proving ground for a modern Arab government, but tightly managed by NATO to ensure no backsliding.
To make the deals to in fact get an Arab force to fight ISIS and al Qaeda (and maybe Assad), they have to know that they get some of the spoils. Since we have seen how promising an inclusive government does not work, they get to control the areas they win (Goal 2). Iraq would probably become three areas (remember Joe Bidden said this years ago), Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish.
Syria could go the same way. Turkey is in for a rough comeuppance. Since they have facilitated the flow of oil and people into and out of Syria. Russia is not going to like this, but they either play along or get confronted. Better now than later. They can either play and have a role in a new Syrian government or they become part of the problem. The whole pack of nations has to clamp down on the flow of money and arms. Remember this is a world solution to a creeping cancer.
Finally, the big one, Goal 3. This is really what brings the Middle East into the 21st century and makes us a more civilized world. We help them separate and survive only as long as they promote the values of life, liberty, and happiness. If they become like Saudi Arabia, they are just a ticking time bomb and will eventually go off, and not peacefully. If we are going to solve this, we have to recognize that some cultures are not just different, they are destructive to the human spirit. We have to use our force, influence, and money to become the good guy again.
One last thing. We are not going to be the policeman of the world. If it doesn’t work out, we walk away and let them fester in stupidity. The only time we (NATO) get involved is if like ISIS, they start posing an international problem. Then we squash them. See, that was not so hard. Now with this framework in hand, and France now probably fully on board, let’s see if we can make some headway because this is a world problem and only a world solution will work.