Can you teach an old regime-changer new tricks? From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
The United States tore itself apart with extraordinary violence 160 years ago. Around 750,000 Americans died in the Civil War, which would be about eight million dead today. It is an experience no American should want to go through again.
Yet U.S. policymakers seem drawn to foreign conflicts like moths to light. Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton unaccountably made brutal battles in Lebanon, Somalia, and the Balkans Washington’s own. George W. Bush turned Iraq into a civil war and joined Afghanistan’s long-running conflict. Barack Obama escalated in Afghanistan, returned to Iraq after leaving, and racked up involvement in three additional bitter conflicts: Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Donald Trump kept the US fighting in all of them, though he launched a last-minute bid to withdraw from the longest one, Afghanistan.
So tired of enduring “endless wars” was the American public that even candidate Joe Biden promised to halt them. But will he? Or will this pledge, like the promises of so many other presidents, end up down the fabled memory hole?
A decade ago the “Arab Spring” swept the Middle East. Protests in Tunisia upended the dictator and led to a democracy which survives against the odds. In Egypt the autocrat also was ousted and a democratic election for president was held. However, the Saudis and Emiratis underwrote the generals, who retook control, creating an even more brutal tyranny that killed hundreds and imprisoned tens of thousands. The Gulf monarchies generally recognized the threat and opened their treasuries to dampen revolutionary sentiments. Bahrain invited Emirati and Saudi troops to back a vicious crackdown on protesters and guarantee the authoritarian Sunni monarchy’s survival, along with its rule over a majority Shia population.