Simon Jenkins on the Possibility of a Realistic America
"Strong countries can bomb and invade weak ones but not conquer them. They can sow destruction but not ordain peace. America will have humiliated only itself in this region and will not return for a long time. While its withdrawal from Europe would have been dreadful during the cold war, its withdrawal from this debacle can only be welcome.
"The horror of this war may just induce the rulers of Iran, Pakistan, Syria and the Gulf states to seek common cause in guaranteeing Iraq's integrity. They may recover their self-esteem and feel more secure in curbing their jihadist hotheads and Al-Qaeda cells — as they are not now. That is the only hope.
"Over the past five years hundreds of thousands have died and tens of billions of dollars been wasted that could have done so much good in the world. The Fourth Crusade has been restaged largely at the behest of one man, Osama Bin Laden. It will end, as everything in history ends. But was there ever such a mistake?"
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Otto M. Kerner - 12/12/2006
Well, Syria's rulers are Alawi Shiites, which partially explains their relatively good relations with Iran. But, overall, you make a fairly good point. I wouldn't expect all Sunni-controlled states to make policy based on sectarian politics; I expect them to often act opportunistically. Still, it's an influence.
Sudha Shenoy - 12/11/2006
Syria, Pakistan, & the Gulf states have Shia _minorities_ & Sunni _majorities_ (except for, I think, Bahrain, where the ruling groups are Sunni.) Shias are often persecuted in these states, esp. in Pakistan.Why would these rulers want to help a Shia state? Especially one which will ultimately ally with Shia Iran?