Have We Forgotten the Middle East?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

One of the bizarre aspects of the arguments of those urging a pivot of U.S. military capabilities from Europe and the Mediterranean to the Pacific is their failure to mention the Middle East, which is already threatening to dissolve into a massive civil war among the haves and have nots, the Sunnis and the Shi’a, and assorted other malcontents. It appears to rest on the comfortable assumption that the United States will never again have to commit ground forces in a serious conflict as well as the strange belief that since the United States will soon become energy independent—actually it will be at least a decade or more, if the Obama regime were actually to support the idea—then it follows that America need not consider the commitment of significant forces to that nasty area known as the Middle East. In fact, in Washington, a city where the concept of a grand strategy has disappeared along with any knowledge of history, the supposed strategy of a pivot to Asia represents little more than a procurement raid, encouraged by an administration eager to slash and burn the defense budget without any serious thought or analysis. In fact, the real problem is that the international environment is more uncertain at present than at any time since the very first years of the twentieth century. To place its strategic emphasis largely on the Pacific represents the most careless of strategic bets, but then as the wag once said: “God takes care of drunks, Irishmen, and the United States of America.”