It is easy enough to criticize Trump’s actions and threats of action in the Middle East. I find it more difficult to say what the Mid-East policy of the United States ought to be, given the facts on the ground as they are today. Leave to one side the fact that many of the current national boundaries in the Middle East were decided by a committee of European generals and politicians after the First World War. Leave to one side as well the fact that in 1953 a progressive secular president of Iran, democratically elected two years earlier, was overthrown by a joint US/British operation, to be replaced eventually by a puppet Shah. The question I ask myself can be put this way: On January 21st, 2021, as President Sanders settles into the Oval Office with the Democrats in firm control of the House and Senate, when he holds his first meeting with his foreign policy advisers, what ought his long term goals be for the revision, perhaps even the upending, of American Middle East foreign policy?
I begin with two premises and one general rule. First premise: America has no national interest in the religious dispute between Sunni and Sh’ia. Second premise: America [as opposed to certain American capitalists] has no national interest in who controls the oil resources of the region. General rule: Regime change as an American national policy is a bad idea, even if the change one is actually trying to bring about [as opposed to pretending to bring about] is a change from a non-democratic to a democratic form of government. What then ought America’s Middle East policy be?
I simply do not know. I invite suggestions and comments from the readership.