It is not clear to me why we have national interests in the Middle East. We had to suck up to Saudi Arabia when we needed their oil. Today we are energy-independent, producing all the oil we need with energy to spare. Have our policymakers considered the significance of going from energy-dependent to energy-independent? It allows us to go from a policy based on dependency to one based on principle.
All but two of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian, and all were Sunni. The Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIS are all Sunni-based groups who get financial support from Saudis and other rich Sunnis in the region. Iran and its Shiite affiliates are also sponsors of terrorism. The bottom line is that there are no “good guys” in the Middle East. Strong men rule, women and minorities are oppressed, and freedom of speech and religion are suppressed. Regional relationships are complex and fluid. The culture is foreign to Westerners and our leaders. What do we hope to accomplish? What is the endgame? Why are we there?
I am not an isolationist. We need to spend more time, money, diplomacy and military might supporting American principles in the Americas and making sure no foreign adversary enters the Western Hemisphere. We need to continue to support allies throughout the world who believe in freedom of religion, freedom of speech, equality for all and representative government. We should maintain economic and diplomatic relations with all countries and lead by example. But I don’t see value in spending any more of our greatest treasure in the Middle East now that we no longer need their oil.