What Are We Fighting For?

I know it’s perilous in progressive blog-land to quote Thomas Friedman, but I have to say he raises some pretty important questions about what the United States seems poised to do in the Middle East:

[W]hen you act out of fear, you don’t think strategically and you glide over essential questions, like why is it that Shiite Iran, which helped trigger this whole Sunni rebellion in Iraq, is scoffing at even coordinating with us, and Turkey and some Arab states are setting limits on their involvement?

When I read that, I think that Nader Mousavizadeh, who co-leads the global consulting firm Macro Advisory Partners, is correct when he says: “When it comes to intervening in the Arab world’s existential struggle, we have to stop and ask ourselves why we have such a challenge getting them to help us save them.”

He goes on to argue that it’s in the strategic interests of the United States to get Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia, not America, to act as the security guarantors of the region. Any course of action that leads these countries away from their responsibilities may well be counter-productive in the long run, even if the immediate “threat” is somehow extinguished.

Makes sense to me, and I hope the coalition-building efforts of the Obama administration are quietly moving in that direction.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.