I've been away for two weeks visiting family in Illinois. I didn't even watch the news. I did get some reading done, though. I read a couple of books about the Shias and their hopes for power in Iraq after generations of oppression by Sunnis. Some of their biggest enemies are the Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia, who consider Shiites to be worse than infidels, apostates, based on events occurring over a millennium ago.
I believe that we have done a good thing by overthrowing Saddam and overseeing the development of a democratic government. I think we need to keep training Iraqi troops as fast as possible, because the sectarian violence is not going to go away and we can't suppress it without more troops and stirring up more resentment from Muslims. We're seeing a bid by the Saudis to remake Islam in the Wahhabist or Salafist image countered by Iran trying to make it safe for fundamentalist Shiism. The terrorists aren't following moderates like Grand Ayatollah Sistani, and Iraq will be a battleground rather than a source for jihadists.
I think that our approach should be that of letting the supporters of terrorism and terrorists know that anywhere it crops up will be bombed until the regimes take care of their own messes. In other words, we may not be able to move in and restore order, but we can make short work of governments like Sudan's that is allowing genocide in Darfur. We may not be able to do it for them, but we can sure make sure it won't be safe while it fails to deal justly with its own people. Maybe if these tinpot dictators know that they won't be safe while they're hosting terrorism and genocide, they'll see that it's in their own interests to keep them out.
I'd like America to be loved, but failing that I want it to be feared, as the craziest bad-ass on the block, not to be messed with. We may not be able to invade and occupy anybody for long, but we can certainly destroy their property and sow chaos in their strongholds.
End of vent. It's not going to happen, but it's a nice idea for dealing with a hostile world. Our friends resent our power and our success as they sink into torpor. Our enemies take comfort in their ability to manipulate our media and undercut ongoing operations like Iraq, but that doesn't make us impotent. Warfare is still in its essence a barbaric activity. We're good at it, and even if the world doesn't care to adopt liberal democracy as a system, they shouldn't get the idea that they can destroy us or impose a different one on us.