The fact that the Shia are gradually ascending and the Sunni camp does not have the willpower and wherewithal to stop them—and that Russia is supporting the Shia camp—leads to the inevitable conclusion that if the United States does not greatly increase its commitments to the region, then the Sunni camp will continue to fail. The United States could choose to engage to increase its role in several proxy wars in the region, but it makes much more sense for the country to directly confront Iran.
Amitai Etzioni is a University Professor and Professor of International Affairs at The George Washington University. He is the author of Avoiding War with China and Foreign Policy: Thinking Outside the Box . For more discussion on this topic, see his 2011 article “ Shifting Sands .”
Image: Saudis riding camels wave the country's national flag during celebrations of the 7th anniversary of Saudi King Abdullah's accession to the throne, in Ashwaq city near Tabouk, 1500 km (932 miles) from Riyadh May 21, 2012. Picture taken May 21, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Alhwaity