There is little doubt in anyone's mind that our current administration is screwing up overall relations with the nations of the Middle East. We are, after all, engaged in two wars there (one popularly supported, one not), are threatening another, and pretending to ignore the calls of several other regional states to mind our own business.
There is also little doubt that these operations are less the result of "spreading freedom" than they are of spreading American capitalism. Of course, while I don't necessarily disagree with the idea of spreading American capitalism (hey, I'm a capitalist), I do disagree with the idea of trying to do it under false pretense.
All of the problems and issues implied above can easily be blamed on our so-called "conservatives" in government, a debated fact our so-called "liberals" in government do not hesitate to point out during the current campaign season. But do the liberals have the answer to the problems in/with the Middle East? Hardly. In fact, I'd say they could only make matters worse.
Now, before you start labeling me a neo-con asshole, keep in mind that I'm not a huge fan of current foreign policy either... I'm just trying to point out some glaring probabilities that everyone seems to want to ignore.
First, the Democrats (a.k.a. the liberals) want to pull out of Iraq. Dumb idea. Yes, going in was a stupid idea in the first place and should have been done (if at all) immediately after the first Gulf War. But pulling out now? Well, despite trying to tout "save our soldiers," such an action will merely create a power vacuum that will undoubtedly cause short-term chaos in an already chaotic region. And guess what short-term chaos always leads to in that part of the world? That's right, long-term chaos.
Second, in a thinly-veiled attempt to force the Bush administration to pull out of Iraq, the liberals went ahead and declared the Turkish government (one of our main allies over there) as genocidal. For what, you might ask? Well, for actions that occurred nearly a century ago in World War I. Not only that, they were actions committed by Turkey when Turkey was controlled by a completely different government. This would be like China blaming the United States for actions that occurred in America prior to 1776. Fair? Hardly. In fact, it's morally, politically, and futilely stupid. But, hey, the Democrats are trying to make a point.
So I pose this question: is this really the direction we want to go? I would hope you say no, but given the relative uneducated political viewpoints of America en masse, you're probably jumping all over that bandwagon.
With certainty, I can say the Democrats are wrong in how they want to approach the Middle East. With equal certainty, I can say the Republicans are wrong with how they are currently approaching the Middle East. So what do we do?
One option is to leave it all alone. Sure, we can do that, but that only contributes to the aforementioned power vacuum, and for "leaving it alone" to be successful, other world powers such as Russia would have to "leave it alone" as well. Will that happen? Um, no.
Another option is to reopen relations with Iran. Iran, a surprisingly stable government enjoying said stability more or less since they overthrew the US-friendly government back in the late-Carter, early-Reagan days. Yet that appears to not be a possiblity, what with Iran being a member of the "Axis of Evil." Don't get me started on that...
I don't pretend to know the answers, but I do think I know what isn't going to work, and just about everything I've heard or read from both sides of our government isn't going to work. And until we realize that Arab Muslims don't want a government that separates church from state, nothing we come up with is going to work at all.
Until then, we're just going to keep screwing things up.