Source:Brookings Institution– with a look at the Middle East.
“There is no place in the world today where chaos is more prevalent and the reestablishment of order more critical than the Middle East. The “great game” between rival great powers may have originated in Central Asia but it found its most intense expression at the “crossroads of empire” in the Middle East. As long as American interests are still engaged the United States cannot desist from playing it.
The United States used to have a strategy for the Middle East. It was known as the “pillars” strategy, and it was based on working with the regional powers that were committed to maintaining the status quo—Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Turkey. The challenge was to contain the revisionist powers—Egypt, Iraq, and Syria—who were backed by the Soviet Union. Over time, the United States lost the Iranian pillar but gained an Egyptian one, reinforcing the Sunni Arab order, but now confronting a Shia revolutionary power in the Gulf.
In 1992, the United States became the dominant power in the region in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the eviction of Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait. After that, Bush ’41 and Clinton ’42 adopted a clear, common strategy for preserving stability that involved three components…
You can read the rest of this article at Brookings
Supporting Middle Eastern dictators in the past may have worked in the past up until 1978 or so with the fall of the Shah of Iran, as far as maintaining some form of peace and stability in this region. And giving America a good resource for energy which we don’t need anymore, as well as intelligence on certain terrorist groups and the worst dictators that had plans for expanding their territory like Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But we’ve paid a heavy price for both financially and with our own security. Like having troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia a country more than capable of defending themselves both financially and with their current military.
Not excusing 9/11 obviously, but our involvement in Arabia and our subsidizing authoritarian states there, is one of the motivations for the attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania on 9/11. We subsidized the Shah of Iran for about forty years going back to Franklin Roosevelt and the Shah was a tough, ruthless, dictator, that beat down the opposition. And the Iranians rose up and threw the Shah out of power and of course replaced that regime with another authoritarian regime the Islamic Theocrats. There are huge costs that America is still paying for subsidizing states that don’t have our best interest and their own people’s best interest at heart. And we’re still paying for them today.
And you can say that well if America and Europe didn’t subsidize these authoritarian regimes, something else that is worst would come instead. Perhaps if all you did was not subsidize them in the first place and done nothing else instead. But an alternative would be to give those states conditional backing. That they respect the human rights of their people. Like not arresting political prisoners simply for being against the current government. Respect the rights of their women, racial, ethnic and religious minorities. Most of the countries are fairly diverse across the board. And instead of backing authoritarian regimes, back people who want democratic change and to build a democratic society in their country.
Backing authoritarians doesn’t stop or prevent future violence or terrorism. Is just moves it around, because instead of the regime backing terrorists who would hit you, what you do instead of give the people on the ground in those countries who hate their government motivation to want to hit you. Get organized, join a current terrorist group or create their own that would work to knockout the current regime, as well as try to hit American targets.
America needs to get past the better of two evils foreign policy in the Middle East. And stop subsidizing bad guys even if they aren’t as bad as other bad guys. And instead work with the good guys who want to build a developed peaceful society where their people would be respected.