I wonder if President Obama ever thinks long and hard of the world’s real problems (ISIS not being one). For these problems of the world are no less our problems, and vice versa, and while the President probably understands this he has yet to place the real problems at the top of his priorities, and seems always to get taken up by mostly the symptoms, not the underlying causes, disturbances on the surface, such as ISIS and its shock and awe program of beheadings and destruction of the physical remains of earlier civilizations.
The president seems to be acting as if ISIS were the greatest problem confronting us in the Middle East. It’s not. Furthermore whether the Sunnis or the Shias are right or wrong is not something we have to determine. All these factions may be making the best of a bad situation, but with their best probably making things worse, certainly doing little or nothing to rid themselves of the interminable line of despots at the helm of their lands.
So what is the real problem that the President needs to address? What’s wrong in the Middle East, and elsewhere, including our own country, is that there are too many young men (and probably women also, often single mothers) without even the promise of a future, with the result that their lives are a continual battle, and in too many lands too often, a shooting war, with the Mucky Mucks not only of the Middle East, but of the world including the United States. And it would seem, just to show how much we’re in the wrong place, if not in the wrong, that at times we are the biggest Mucky Muck of them all.
These young men believe, or what is the same thing, are led to believe, that those in power are totally corrupt, as the Middle Eastern Mucky Mucks often are, and need to be thrown out of their mostly illegitimate positions. With the result being that they throw themselves into the battle (if they don’t flee and join the tens of millions of refugees and migrants), often supporting the most persuasive leader among them, destined, sadly, to become in turn the new Mucky Muck. While Islam is often blamed for what’s happening it’s probably the lack of a future for so many young men that turns the Middle Eastern lands into what seems sometimes a war of all against all.
Our own leaders, especially our generals to whom the President seems to listen, know only one kind of solution to the chaos that is the Middle East, the military one, and hence their recommendations to the President are military recommendations, usually in support of this of that side in the conflict, as now, and again, and again, in Iraq, as we continue to keep in power a many times proven incompetent bevy of Mucky Mucks.
If there were just two sides to any of the wars in the Middle East, one of which was, say, more sympathetic to Western, liberal values, then it might have been possible to enter the wars ourselves, in that case standing tall and feeling good about our little war. But that is not the case. There are no sides in the wars going on at present among the various factions that deserve, let alone have earned our blood and treasure. Why hasn’t President Obama, an intelligent man, learned that over and over again during the six years of his presidency during all six of which we’ve been at war.
There have been a few times in history when we have been on the “right” side of a war (quick, think of those few times!) but that’s just a “few times.” Meanwhile we have fought hundreds of wars since our founding in 1776 in most of which, if there were a right side, we were not on it. At best most of our wars were, like our present struggles in Shia and Sunni lands terrible mistakes. At worst they were imperialistic wars of aggression as our “wars” during the second half of the 19th. century with native Americans.
Our President ought to stop sending our young men off to war, and instead devote himself to the question how to put hope back into the lives of millions of young men that which in this country, and in the world at large they are without. At the moment the world is turning out millions of young people, who, for the most part poorly educated, are being set loose in the world without the talents or the skills, let alone the knowledge, needed to create good lives for themselves. No wonder they keep their heads down, hide, rebel, or emigrate.
Given the problem so far there seems to be only one solution, that being for the United States to become the world’s policeman, much as is done in the cities of our own country. For it’s not all that different, the lives of unemployed young men in our cities and in the cities of the world, In both the police and/or the military, often with disastrous results, are the only ones paying close attention to the unemployed, without hope millions.
There has to be another solution to the problem, one other than guns. But at the moment both sides, both the young men and the mucky mucks are well supplied with guns, both have seemingly endless supplies of kalashnikovs, and you see now in the Middle East, as well as in many countries of Africa and elsewhere the result.
What to do? Take away the guns. Not possible. My suggestion, Mr. President, would be that we start with the immigrants (and also the refugees from the wars), for they are coming to us for help, and they are the sorts of people we can help, those millions without jobs and hope for the future who are fleeing the wars’ destruction but want something better.
We ought to be taking advantage of their wanting something better, we ought to be taking in as many of them as we can. This has always been our greatest strength, the greatest source of our wealth, the people who come to us from other lands looking to work and improve their chances. For their working has also improved our chances. Give your generals less money, put less of our treasure into the lost causes of the Middle East, and use these redirected monies to provide homes and jobs, real opportunities for the world’s “down and out,” for the world’s “boat people.”
Wouldn’t that be something if the president while reducing our defense budget began to directly address the world’s real problems. And he might, and should begin, I believe, while speaking from the bully pulpit, by addressing the needs of the millions of young men, of this country and of the world, who are now without a future. Putting more of our resources into the war, as he now intends to do, will do nothing to bring “the real future” about.