And forget trying to concoct any overarching linear tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory around this latest fiasco -- there are too many parties involved, across too vast a region, each with their own interests, who will all exploit the disruption and fog of war to the max, regardless of how and why it may have started.
To some, the obvious solution is to cut off funding to all proxies and abandon all foreign interests to refocus on domestic economics and security. The common refrain is, "What are we still doing in Islamic countries? Let's get out of there and bring everyone home." Right. And the ragtag "rebels," including al-Qaeda, shuttling as needed between Libya, Syria and elsewhere to foment paid unrest on behalf of the highest bidder are just going to go home, kick back with a beer and take up macramé?
It's a naive worldview at best. Even if America and all its allies shuttered all foreign embassies and interests tomorrow, they would be abandoning all economic interests and influence to the competition -- namely Russia and China.
It's a false paradigm to qualify these two nations as the "enemy." Russia has fought alongside NATO in Afghanistan and in the war on terrorism. Four months ago, Russian Special Forces held military drills with U.S. forces at Colorado's Fort Carson. You don't do that with the "enemy." In China's case, the "enemy" doesn't help prop up your bank account by buying up a significant chunk of your debt at a critical time. No, these are, more accurately, "competitors" who, just as we do, want to win at the game of ideological and economic supremacy for the sake of their people's best interests.
Abandoning the global competition would be forfeiting the game completely, so that's not a realistic alternative.
Rather than everyone bashing each other over the head for political show, we need to find solutions for containing and curtailing these proxies -- including our own -- and engaging in a more honest and civilized global economic competition that doesn't involve constant mutual deception and obfuscation. Either that or we just accept warfare and any related deception as inherent to man's nature, regardless of his purported degree of sophistication, and a natural extension of politics by other means, as military theorist Carl von Clausewitz said. In that case, we just toughen up about it and quit whining about every global flashpoint as though we have some sort of better idea when clearly no one does.
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