By Devin Malone
America has been diplomatically involved with the Middle East since the end of World War II. In 1953, the Central Intelligence Agency’s support for the Shah of Iran led to its involvement in the overthrowing of the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh. The reason as to why the United States backed the Shah is simple: Mosaddegh was going to nationalize their rich oil industry and remove foreign investors. So accordingly with United States’ collective consciousness, something had to be done.
This backfired on the U.S. in 1979, when the Shah himself was kicked out of office by the people and replaced with the supreme religious leader and despot Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Since then, the U.S’s relations with Iran have been tense at best, especially in recent years as Iran is now trying to develop nuclear warheads ever since Iran ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
If America had learned anything from Iran, it is that our operations and excursions into the Middle East are usually failures and have backfired tremendously. Further involvement would only put us in harms way. To avoid being dragged into something like that, the U.S. should stay out of Middle Eastern related affairs and focus on fixing its own problems rather than the problems of others, unless the threat becomes too dangerous to ignore.
However, Iran is not the only country in the Middle East that America has been involved with. Iraq and Afghanistan are prime examples of this.
According to Al Jazeera, after the mass murder of an alleged 500,000 Kurds over the course of 20 years in Iraq by Saddam Hussein, the United States sent troops to Iraq a second time since the Gulf War in 1990. This time, it was under the guise of finding and destroying the alleged “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair warned the public about. After three years in Iraq, the brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, was killed.
In 2011, the United States’ combat troops left the Middle East after our interests had been secure. Yet only three years later, the U.S. was once again thrust into Iraq due to the newly formed terrorist group, ISIS. Besides the Kurdish areas, most of Iraq lays in ruins due to the numerous years of war and bloodshed.
A look back on history, shows that avoiding intervention would be the better option.
While we may be the world’s “superpower,” ultimately this does not make us the world’s police. Yet we continue to employ warhawks like General H.R. McMaster, a man who wishes to drop all relations with Russia and continue our fight in the Middle East.
“Margaret MacMillan’s great essay written in 2014 making the analogy between 2014 and 1914, and really making the point that geopolitics is back; maybe our – what we might call our holiday from history in the post-Cold War period is over,” McMaster said in a presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in May last year.
In an era where this risk of war is great and international tensions continue to rise, it can be hard to know what the right thing to do is. While it may be hard to sit idly by as countries are torn apart by war, we must occupy ourselves with fixing the problems at home rather than fixing the problems abroad.