The chaos and conflagration in the Middle East has expanded into Yemen this month with another poor country devolving from a barely stable and increasingly polarized state to another war zone.
I don’t think we should be the world’s police, I also don’t think we are serving the people of the region well. Our schitzophenic domestic politics have effects all over the world and especially the Middle East. For me, this Syrian refugee’s reaction to a camera is part of our country’s epic and continuing fail.
Inshallah, this 4 y/o girl will be here for many years beyond those of us old enough to read this are gone. But just think of the scars she and the hundreds of thousands or millions of other survivors will carry into the future.
As I was searching twitter for the hashtag #surrendered, I also found this tweet from late February stating simply “God will provide #surrendered”.
I’m not religious myself, but for those of you who are, doesn’t he need our help down here? Isn’t it so clear that God, or the Muslim’s, Christians, Jewish vision or our path to the divine is the root of so much of this chaos?
I do believe God will provide, but I also believe that we are active participants. Once in a while we get an extraordinary chance to share the trauma of another region in a way that might re-adjust our own priorities and help us to empathize with our fellow humans before we all wind up where whereever we will.
Roger Cohen from the NYT in his column yesterday sums up well what the U.S. can’t do in the Middle East.
America cannot stop the Sunni-Shia schism in the Middle East that its invasion of Iraq exacerbated. It cannot rebuild the Sykes-Picot order, or the borders that went with it. It cannot reverse its failure to prevent the worst in Syria (which will forever blot Obama’s record), nor its failure, outside Tunisia, and particularly in Egypt, to nurture the hope of the Arab spring for more representative societies freed from the paralyzing (and mutually reinforcing) confrontation of dictatorship and Islamism. It cannot prevent the violence inherent in all these developments. Nor should it hide its eyes from the fact that this violence will last a generation at least.
As he ends his column, this shouldn’t be something to despair, but to help us focus on what we can do. I hope one thing we can start doing is beginning to help minimize suffering. Currently, we, along with so many of those with influence in this region are failing the families and the ancient and proud communities of this region.
From Mr. Cohen’s article.. a descriptive and apt word.. Revanchism: (n) As in “Islamic State is also a Sunni revanchist movement in Iraq and Syria, directly opposed to Shia Iran.” From The Google: “a policy of seeking to retaliate, especially to recover lost territory.” It’s a 20th century term from the French for “revenge”.