Paul Krugman too often, but this morning the New York Times columnist writes:
...there are indeed some people determined to believe that Western
imperialism is the root of all evil, and all would be well if we stopped
I wouldn't put it quite that way, but how about this? Maybe, like the Vietnamese back in the 1960s, the people of the Middle East just aren't buying what we're selling. Maybe they don't want Western culture. And, what's more, maybe they'd like it if we just went home.
Now, go ahead and click on something else or call me a "Blame America First" peacenik or whatever, but I have to ask: Hasn't the West been meddling in the Middle East for what, hundreds of years?
Ask yourself, why do Iran's leaders hate us so much? Could it be because we installed and backed the Shah for over twenty years? An American puppet who tortured his own people? Don't they have just a little right to be pissed off at us?
How about Egypt? Or Saudi Arabia? Or any other country whose authoritarian leaders we've supported?
And what about ISIS? We invaded their country, deposed and had their leader executed and then turned the government over to the Shias. Is it really a surprise that the Sunnis would form something like ISIS to fight back? And why wouldn't they be angry at the West?
I heard Donald Trump say on Thursday that he'd "bomb the shit out of ISIS." (I can only imagine how he feels after the Paris attacks.) And it's an understandable emotion. Who doesn't want revenge? But it also reminds me of that famous quote by Gen. Curtis LeMay in 1965 about the North Vietnamese, "Well bomb 'em back to the Stone Age!"
Well, we did. Or at least tried. And you know what? It didn't work. They still didn't want what we were selling. Can you believe it? All they wanted was for us to pack up our things and leave them alone to run their own affairs. (Who wouldn't?)
Now, it may be too late for us to withdraw completely from the Middle East. But let's not pretend that history somehow began on 9/11. It didn't. We have plenty to answer for. Our first step should be to at least acknowledge reality. Krugman and other liberals (like me) are always laughing at Republicans for living in a dreamworld (as well we should). But let's not make the same mistake.