OK, America is the world’s only Superpower and, like the British Empire before it, is thought of as the policeman of the world. However, that is not an easy role because national interests will always dominate and America will always want to shape the world to its own taste. I think that when UK and France had this role, they had a reasonable understanding of the best way to deal with emerging nations but the reality was simply repression and imperial domination.
Now America has that role and has tried to make things better – or has it? Did anyone in Washington really believe that democracy is best for everyone? Didn’t anyone see that removing some odious, murdering dictator would lead to something worse? That when Arabs are presented with democracy, the first thing they do is start killing each other? Well, that’s the reality and it’s a pretty sorry track record:
Libya: civil war – ongoing
Afghanistan: civil war – ongoing
Egypt: civil war stopped by military coup
Syria: civil war – ongoing
Iraq: civil war – ongoing
Tunisia seems to have made it, however. The trouble is that everyone wants to leave and go to Italy….
It goes on. The borders of the Middle East were defined by Imperial Powers France and UK drawing lines on a map after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of WWI. Those borders were only maintained by occupation and brutal dictatorship. Those dictators are now gone and what we are seeing is the big regional powers engaged in dirty proxy wars in their own back yards. I refer, of course, to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and the Gulf States.
My question is why does everyone expect America to sort out this mess? You might say that, in its naîveté, the US (and UK and others) may have caused the mess but it’s the big local powers that should be in there pitching. However, they all have their vested interests; have a read of http://www.defenddemocracy.org/the-syria-strategies-of-iran-saudi-arabia-qatar-and-turkey/
Now, Saudi hates Iran. Iraqi Shi’ites like Iran. Iran would like to export the Islamic revolution but only its kind of Islamic revolution, certainly not IS. The Sunnis hate the Shi’ites. Everyone hates Christains. Turks hate the Kurds. Everyone hates the Palestinans, and everyone is wary of Israel. Many Gulf Arabs are supporting the Islamic State which is now out of control. IS want a Caliphate across three countries, the Kurds want a Kurdistan. Iraq wants to disintegrate into three countries. Syria is a maelstrom of disorganised sects fighting each other. Ah, for the good old days when Saddam Hussein and Al-Assad ruled by terror.
Is the Middle East heading for its Thirty Years War to sort out its religious differences and redefine its borders? Looks like it. Stand well back, it’s going to get messy.