To Intervene, or Not to Intervene: US Role in Middle East and Inner Asia | 美國應否介入內亞和中東事務

Foreign intervention in Inner (non-coastal) Asia, high-cost and low-yield, disrupts local evolution of spontaneous order, and can only be borne by powers with little regard for lives. Given the depressed oil prices, even the Middle East is no longer worth direct US intervention, which sacrifices American lives. US naval and air dominance would be better employed in the vast Pacific ocean: Pacific states are wealthy enough to pay for US protection.

Intervention in the Middle East and Inner Asia is not in America’s best interests, for these regions brim with failed states. Similar to Lebanon and Cambodia in the 70s, the failed states have little state capacity. They are unable to protect their citizens, nor are they capable of preventing infiltration by foreign militant groups.


International terrorist groups and other anti-US forces can easily emulate the strategies employed by the Central Office for South Vietnam or Iran: the former set up bases in Cambodia; the latter funded Hezbollah in Lebanon. Terrorists were able to assault South Vietnam from Cambodia, or Israel from Lebanon. But were South Vietnam or Israel to retaliate, Cambodia or Lebanon would become victims. North Vietnam and Iran were, however, in safe areas and had little concern for their shields.


Direct intervention, costing American lives and resources, does not strike at the roots of Anti-US forces. Two cost-effective strategies, both eschewing direct engagement, are: 1) aiding — only with military supplies and technical support — regional allies such as Israel or the Kurds; and / or 2) employing precision strikes or economic sanctions against the patrons of terrorism, and disentangling from battling roving militant groups.


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