This is excellent commentary worthy of reading & understanding.
But it is a broader statement – far broader – than its current context.
The author writes, essentially, that the Iraq / Iran / Syria catastrophe is an ongoing sectarian mess that must be allowed to run its course as there is nothing we can do about it other than waste lives & treasure.
This is exactly correct.
And had Woodrow Wilson gotten – and followed – this advice in 1917, and let the then-stalemated Great War draw to the negotiated conclusion it more than likely would have reached before the stalemate went on much longer between these constantly-warring powers (Germany, France) who both were exhausted & broke, the 20th Century would have been far less bloody.
And far more free.
Had Russia not tired of the incessant war, and focused instead on internal problems, the October Revolution – and the USSR – may never have occurred. No USSR = no Korea or Vietnam. Perhaps no Marxist nonsense in the West today. No Treaty of Versailles = no NAZI Germany = no WW2. No blowing up the Ottoman Empire in WW1 = no Khomeini or radical Islam.
The net of the 20th Century is that America must stay out of the business of other nations. Had we been smart enough to do so in 1917, hundreds of millions would not have been killed, and BILLIONS would have been more free.
AMERICA has stood in the way of the evolution of nations, and done so in service of idealistic, but not realistic goals. The result has been the opposite of what we tried to accomplish.
Recently we have followed this same course to yet more sacrifice & bloodshed.
Afghanistan & Iraq are a mess BECAUSE of borders enclosing incompatible & hostile traditions. But as thousands of miles away in Ukraine, we insist that these borders remain “sacrosanct.” We are dooming hundreds of millions to poverty death and despair.
Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and more are not organic countries. They were invented after WW1. The continued merging of Sunni, Shia & Kurd (and of Russian & European in Ukraine), just to satisfy the demand for stasis by ignorant Western leaders has got to be seen for the ahistorical conceit that it is, and for the death & destruction it creates. Always.
The devolution into sectarian violence of Iraq … while it is still on our radar … may be a good thing strategically. It may force this State evolution while we are too exhausted to interfere again.
Are we smart enough now to learn from history before involving ourselves yet again in an ongoing war none of our business? By heeding history and staying out of this sectarian war that has been waged for a millennium? By letting competition between incompatible peoples play-out as it did throughout history until “The American Century”?
By not dooming hundreds of millions to a bloody replay of the 20th Century?
Will the West make the same mistake in 2014 it made in 1914?
It would be nice to think not.