America has many great accomplishments, but nation-building is not one of them. From Vietnam to Afghanistan to Iraq, Washington has repeatedly proven that nation-building is not where its strength lies. America’s inaptitude to understand thousands of years of old social and tribal dynamics that define the Middle East, its over-reliance on the U.S. military—that has only begotten more destruction and chaos—and its reckless and impulsive support for proxies that upset the regional balance have all been contributing factors for America’s failure to make progress in the Middle East. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, America has wasted the last thirty years by getting bogged down between the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers of Iraq and in the mountains of Afghanistan, chasing the specter of terrorism that has only served to deplete it financially, to beset the American people with chronic “forever wars fatigue,” and allowed China to become a serious challenger to U.S. global hegemony. Instead of staying this course and spinning its wheels in Syria, Washington would be better served by turning its attention to more important matters. It should let regional powers handle a problem that has never been its responsibility.
Ali Demirdas, Ph.D. in political science from the University of South Carolina, Fulbright scholar, professor of international affairs at the College of Charleston (2011—2018). You can follow him on Twitter @DrDemirdasEn.