The dismal fact is that America has a deadly, incompetent, destructive track record in the Middle East. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)
… As Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs argued
"It's time to end US military engagements in the Middle East. Drones, special operations, CIA arms supplies, military advisers, aerial bombings — the whole nine yards. Over and done with."
"The Turks, Arabs, and Persians have lived together as organized states for around 2,500 years. The United States has meddled unsuccessfully in the region for 65 years. It's time to let the locals sort out their problems."
Yes, people would die if the U.S. departed. But people will die if the U.S. remains, arguably even more people. The fact is, the locals will sort themselves out anyway.
It would, of course, be hard for America to let go of its belief in manifest destiny and Wilsonian principles. And harder still to abandon the idea that God wants America to act.
Just a week or so ago, U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley declared
in a speech that "The United States is the moral conscience of the world."
To anyone who's studied Middle Eastern history, that statement is almost funny. But to the Sunnis of Iraq, the Shia of Bahrain, the Houthis of Yemen, the Palestinians, the Shia of South Lebanon, ordinary Iranians, or all those Egyptians who wanted democracy, it must be beyond frightening.