Why is it that leaders so often fail to heed the lessons of history? Is it ignorance or hubris? I suspect both play their part, particularly when it comes to conflicts based on morals and ethics. Today we have a classic example of how history is ignored at our peril in the matter of I.S.I.S. and the Syrian Civil War.
I would seem as though we are now fully engaged in a crusade for democracy, a foolhardy and useless endeavor, that will lead nowhere and cost a great deal of money. Worse it could cause thousands of unnecessary deaths among young people caught up in the fervor of the democratic imperative.
The truth about this sorry business lies in the fact that the people’s of the Middle East, with the exception of the Israelis, have never been ruled by any form of government even approaching democracy. They are, and have always been, tribal, and for the most part, Moslem. This form of rule leads to autocracy because it is very often the only way to bring peace to warring tribes. This way of life is not perfect but it seems to have worked well enough for thousands of years.
Why then are we so keen to upset the apple cart and convert millions to our democratic ways?
The lessons of history as evidenced by the failure of the great crusades, on behalf of christianity to terminate the heathen hordes, along with countless other futile attempts to subjugate the Moslems to Christian ethics, should have demonstrated the dangers and the futility of the cause . Our western imposed democracy in Iraq is a cruel joke, going nowhere as in that in Afghanistan that will shortly return to its tribal ways. More recently, we have witnessed the results of the so-called Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, countries that have now returned to autocracy, after a brief flirtation with social media inspired chaos.
My prime suspect in this charade is N.A.T.O. (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) a colossus, armed to the teeth, with no mission now that it has retreated from Afghanistan. As we are witnessing in Ukraine, there is nothing more dangerous than highly paid,arrogant bureaucrats and generals, with huge resources at their disposal, with nothing to do. In the Middle East N.A.T.O. may have found a never-ending cause.
Syria and I.S.I.S. maybe irritants to our Judo-Christian sensibilities, that attract the lunatic fringe, good and bad, of our society. Tragic though this maybe, it is high time for the rulers in North America to grow up and realize the limits to our powers to re-make the World as our effigy. It may also time to limit the powers, or disband, international organizations that have outlived their intended functions.
My advice would be to leave the Arab people alone. Over time and particularly through the auspices of social media, they will come to the inevitable conclusion that there is more to be gained by interaction with the West than there is hammering away at idea-logical differences. To whit the experience with Iran. The sanctions imposed by the United States may hurt, but the religious leaders know full well the limits of their power, in continuing to subjugate the young people in the face of the social media blitz. So the West will likely gain a favorable outcome at fraction of the monetary and human cost of an Iraq or an Afghanistan.
So ends this week’s rant.