Q: People who hate Americans are killing each other! What will the US do?
A: No idea. What will China, or Italy, or Turkey do?
Q: But there’s an enormous humanitarian crisis! Innocent people are being slaughtered!
A: Yes, they are. The Muslims should stop killing each other and everyone around them. But what are we supposed to do, kill them until the killing stops?
Q: It’s George Bush’s fault! We should never have invaded.
A: We gave them a chance, and they blew it. But okay, I’ll never again vote for any politician who supported the invasion.
Q: Um, well, back to the question, what will the US do?
A: Based on recent experience, something feckless and incompetent that makes America look stupid and does nothing to stop the killing. Worst case, something so blisteringly stupid that the Muslim fanatics take a temporary break from killing each other to kill Americans.
I know that sounds harsh and mean and unsympathetic, but really there is no action the US government can take to stop the killing in Iraq or any other Muslim nation. For a significant fraction of Muslims, killing is what they do. There’s nothing the US can do to stop any Muslim democracy from electing a tyrant first chance they get. It’s what they want. Maybe they understand themselves, and have learned that only a brutal repressive dictator can give them even marginal order and security.
It’s easy and not unreasonable to call out the feckless incompetence of the Obama administration on foreign policy. But in the case of Iraq, it seems to me that it’s mostly the fault of the Iraqis.
Q: So yet again, what should the US do?
A: Drill, baby, drill. More fracking. Let’s start mining and burning coal again, and ease regulation of nuclear power to make it easier to open and operate a nuclear power plant. Let’s modernize the power grid to accommodate more wind power. Solar energy should be used where it makes sense, and geothermal, and ocean wave power.
Q: That isn’t very satisfying.
A: No, it isn’t.