The Middle East Left Behind by Obama
Socially, former President Obama took the steps needed to make sure that we were progressing in this country. He led the way in legalizing gay marriage, blocked both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines from happening, and even took steps to prevent climate change. I respect him for this because I think it was an unpopular decision to do what he did. He knew that this would only further anger the Republican Party. When it came to Hillary continuing the Democratic ways for the next four years, one has to think that Obama thought he would have four more years.
That is neither here nor there. The real reason I'm writing this article is to talk about how much I disagree with his foreign policy in the Middle East. An already turbulent region was turned upside down, yet again, because of the Obama administration. Obama was, in a sense, anti-Israel. After reading about the Sykes-Picot agreement, it is clear that the situation is murkier than most think. You can read about it here.
To sum it up, Britain and France wanted to make sure they defeated the Ottoman Empire in World War 1. So, they drew up different spheres of influence to make sure that Arab nationalism no longer spread. They drew the borders that worked for them, not borders that worked for the people who actually lived there.
In reality, what was left was a region divided by people who did not know what they were dividing. Since then, the Middle East has been in constant upheaval and the Obama administration did nothing to make sure that it got better.
You could look at the situation and say, "But wait! Obama pulled us out of Iraq/Afghanistan! You have to commend him for that!" Sure. Whatever. Anyone with a brain could tell that we shouldn't have been there in the first place. Before Obama was sworn in, George H.W. Bush put a plan in place to have the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan by 2011. So, Obama just followed the path set forth by his predecessor, but he gets all the credit.
Like it or not, when you occupy a country for over 6 years and your rules become the citizen's rules, you are going to have to stay longer than 4 years to make sure things go back to normal.
Operation Iraqi Freedom was pronounced dead by Obama when he was elected. Most of the troops were brought home by 2011. But, was this really a good idea? I don't think so.
If you are in a country for over 6 years, you should spent at least the next 6 working with the local authorities to make sure they are properly trained to defeat the forces of terror in their homeland. We can't expect a country to be bombed to all hell, and then a few years later be ready to take on a terrorist force like ISIS or Al-Qaeda. A lot of the time, the country will be too weak to fight back and will lose key cities to these terrorist forces.
What I admire about Iraq is that the Prime Minister came out this week and said that he believe that ISIS would be wiped from the country within the next few weeks.
The other day, I flipped on the news and I saw that over 200 civilians were killed in a US airstrike in ISIS occupied Western Mosul. No terrorist was killed. Women, children, and men alike lie dead in the rubble. While it may be easy to point the finger at Trump, Obama is to blame for this. Trump has been office for two months, while Obama facilitated this drone/airstrike culture for 8 years.
If anything, this is a win for ISIS. It absolutely convinced people that the United States was evil and was waging war against not just radical Islam, but Islam itself.
Looking around the Middle East, you can clearly see that Syria is presently in the worst situation. There are many groups trying to grab power. The corrupt regime conducts daily airstrikes, as do the Russians and Americans. ISIS has control of a lot of the reason due to the general instability.
Trump could do one of two things to help stop the spread of radical Islamic violence in the Middle East. The first thing he could do is completely retract all troops station in the region, so the respective countries could take up their own fight with their terrorist foes. After all, it is "America First", right Donald? However, we have seen how this story goes (see Korea, Vietnam, and current Middle East).
The way to truly win the war against radical Islam, as unpopular of an opinion as it is, is to put boots on the ground. Cease the drone warfare started by Obama that has killed so many civilians. With actual United States Armed Forces on the ground in Syria, we would be able to wipe out the extremists as they currently exist. The problem here is one that we faced after the War in Iraq. We would have to sit with Syria for a number of years to make sure that their own (SELF ELECTED) government would be able to succeed on its own. I know that it would take a long time and it would take a lot of American soldiers' souls. But, we have seen that sticking to airstrikes does not work. It is a costly choice that often ends in failure.
Working WITH the Middle East, instead of directly against it, is key to attempting peace in the region. What we, and many countries across the globe, are doing about the current situation is obviously not working. We are very clearly making things worse.
As much as it pains me to say, I really think having American boots in Syria is the only way to destroy the physical body of ISIS. I don't think we will ever be able to kill the idea of ISIS. If you look at neo-Nazis, you can see that the ideas of Adolf Hitler live on in those as young as I am. It is an impossible, psychological war to win and I don't expect any leader to be able to wipe it out.
With that being said, I think that Trump needs to stop hiding behind the barrel of an un-maned gun and step it up if he really wants to defeat this terrorist organization.