Shanghai Institutes for International Studies
By Dan Steinbock
Washington has launched still another “war against terror” in the Middle
East and beyond. It is the kind of escalation that the Islamic State
has hoped. In contrast, Beijing is likely to stick to cautious
Half a month after offering the American people his rationale for taking
the United States into a new Middle East war to combat the Islamic
State (IS), President Obama issued a call to the world to join America
in the fight against violent religious extremism. Taking the moral high
ground, President Obama told the UN General Assembly that “there can be
no reasoning, no negotiations with this brand of evil.”
Undoubtedly, the IS represents the kind of brutality that is new even in the most violent war-torn enclaves of the Middle East.
But as the critics see it, the rise of the Islamic State is the result
of President Bush’s war on terror and military actions, while its
further radicalization is the effect of President Obama’s efforts to
overcome the Middle East’s divides with raw military power, but without
ground troops – and a political solution.
Huge investment, barbaric returns
A decade ago, neoconservatives in Washington envisioned a new democratic
Middle East, including a stable, prosperous Iraq that would be united
and peaceful. And they walked the talk. Between 2003 and 2012, U.S. aid
to Iraq totaled more than $57 billion. During the same period, war costs
in Iraq soared to $3.5 trillion (Joint Economic Committee of Congress).
That’s more than 20 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.