At my most cynical, it’s hard not to feel like we’re subject and victim to a perpetual protection racket where our nation’s past military misadventures in the Mideast and Asia are primed and positioned to spark and erupt into sectarian violence in concert with each other, just to keep the U.S. military in the protection business. The United States stirs up trouble then promises to protect hapless folks in the way of our reckless, opportunistic aggression from the effects and consequences of our own blundering militarism.
We saw an example of that lingering, reflexive paternalism earlier this summer when President Obama used the refusal of a sizable number of the Iraqi army to defend the government against an advancing ISIS force as a pretense for U.S. military response.
The political cards had been deliberately laid out in Iraq by his predecessor in a way that both compelled our government to respond as both an ally and an adversary of Iraqis. The government in Iraq had fallen. All that remained was the appearance of democracy, much like Saddam’s own rule; complete with a paper Parliament left to squabble over whatever scraps of their country that haven’t been sullied, stepped on, and stolen by their arrogant invading overlords.