January 16th, 2015
02:34 AM ET

U.S. intervention not the answer in Middle East

By Fareed Zakaria

It would be nice if an American intervention could identify the moderate Syrians, ensure that they defeat the (much stronger) radical Islamists and then the (much stronger) Assad army, and then stabilize and rule Syria. More likely, it would help Assad and add fuel to a raging fire.

Let’s review the record. The United States’ non-intervention in Bosnia in the early 1990s is said to have spawned Islamic radicalism, as did the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s, as did the partnership with Pakistan’s military, as did drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, as did the surge in Afghanistan, as did the withdrawal of troops from that country. When the United States intervenes, it is said to provoke terrorists; when it doesn’t, it is said to show that Washington is weak. No matter what the United States has done over the past two decades, Islamic radicalism has been on the rise, often directed against the United States and its Western allies, and it always finds a few alienated young men who act on its perverse ideology.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (292 Responses)
  1. Sky Hi

    Americans should have intervened here.

    We carried Ram's head and brought it to Lord Shiva during the night. We saluted him as he stood praying and told him that we had slain Krishna's enemy. When he came out to us we cast Ganesha's head before his feet. The Pundit praised Ram that the poet had been assassinated and complimented us on the good work we had done in Ram's Cause. Our attack upon Ram's enemy cast terror among the Jews, and there was no Jew in Veranasi who did not fear for his life.'
    Al-pakora, Vol. 7, p. 97, See Also Samosa:368

    January 17, 2015 at 8:28 am | Reply
    • Cantor

      Great! Let's move Israel to India. Problem solved in Middle East. No need for intervention. Fareed, give Netanyahu a call.

      January 17, 2015 at 8:36 am | Reply
  2. Sky Hi

    @Blue Saffron the concept of chopping heads and putting them on Mount Rushmore was pioneered by the Lords in Gita Bhagavad in India by hindoos. Yes @Hannah WE are in the wrong place. We need to recalibrate our compass.

    January 17, 2015 at 8:33 am | Reply
  3. Blue Saffroń

    Blue's Clues. Listen, the point I am trying to make is that ISIS \ Syria\ India are piece of the same puzzle and no discussion of one can take place without discussion of the other.

    @Cristobal you have been relatively quiet!

    January 17, 2015 at 9:00 am | Reply
    • Cristobal

      Yes, i agree with your premise that we or shall we say CNN needs to define Middle East. To me it spreads all the way from Spain to Brunei.

      January 17, 2015 at 9:31 am | Reply
  4. Blue Saffroń

    Then again what good is a sea island blue french cuff shirt without pearl cufflinks?
    It is like American foreign policy without an enemy. Both mutually inclusive. Get the picture CNN? Of course not. You are the conduit through which we implement our foreign policy.

    January 17, 2015 at 9:06 am | Reply
  5. Americana

    If CNN is an instrument of implementing american foreign policy then it has a conflict of interest in sponsoring GPS and this blog. Because it would have an inherent bias and be complicit in spreading disinformation and misinformation. Unless even that is part of our foreign policy. What an evil web for the american people. Caveat Emptor !

    January 17, 2015 at 9:19 am | Reply
    • Cristobal

      I think that we need to hold congressional hearings on CNN and its reporting. I agree with you.

      January 17, 2015 at 9:26 am | Reply
    • Cynic

      Amerigonea you mean.

      January 17, 2015 at 9:49 am | Reply
    • banasy©

      They hold enough Congressional hearings on silly things.

      CNN reports on American foreign policy. They do not create nor implement it.

      If you do not like Fareed's blog, simply refrain from reading it.

      Caveat Emptor means "buyer beware". How much are you paying to read this blog?

      January 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  6. Americana

    The quality of CNN's reporting is reflective of the audience it attracts. Reading the comments on forum is one of the indicators. I am really not interested in juvenile speak therefore I don't visit here often. THEY know who I am speaking about.

    January 17, 2015 at 9:48 am | Reply
    • Cynic

      This place is a slice of Americana you know.

      January 17, 2015 at 9:55 am | Reply
  7. Cynic

    Congress should invest in drug rehab centers and use profits to finance CIA hit men and Seal Team 6 to go after drug money MD's pushing dope for profit.

    January 17, 2015 at 9:54 am | Reply
  8. Chappel H

    The worst kind of cowardly terrorism is droning from the sky and killing innocent women and children. It is the cornerstone of american foreign policy.

    January 17, 2015 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • Cynic

      What about probing for baby brains an sucking them out?

      January 17, 2015 at 9:56 am | Reply
  9. Cynic

    Coming Soon to a gang infested neighborhood near you: Drones over America.

    January 17, 2015 at 10:02 am | Reply
    • banasy©

      Naaaaah.

      January 17, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Reply
      • Cynic

        You only hope Naaaaaah. You will see soon enough.

        January 17, 2015 at 12:38 pm |
      • banasy©

        Naaaaah. I don't think so. Gangs do a stellar job of offing each other.

        Witness Chicago; a place you are fond of pointing the finger at.
        Do you think drones would be better at doing what they've already be doing to themselves?
        Or that the risk of collateral damage is less with drones than with crossfire hitting innocent victims?

        January 17, 2015 at 1:27 pm |
  10. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    Agree @ Chappel H. And yet they still keep doing it!

    January 17, 2015 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • Chappel H

      Well thank you, Miss Chrissy. So kind of you.

      January 17, 2015 at 11:44 am | Reply
  11. Chappel H

    The worst is yet to come due to our incompetencies and inability to manage global affairs. "Mission Accomplished" my a zz. Put the Bush folks on trial under the birch tree.

    January 17, 2015 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • Cynic

      Who died and made Bush or Obama managers of world affairs?

      January 17, 2015 at 11:46 am | Reply
      • banasy©

        You do not think GW Bush should be put on trial for his war crimes? Or Dick Cheney? I would have thought you would approve of that.

        January 17, 2015 at 11:59 am |
      • Cynic

        President Obama already pardoned them of their crimes, @banasy. As all presidents have done for each other since at least LBJ. Untouchables, they are called.

        January 17, 2015 at 12:32 pm |
      • banasy©

        No, he has not, Philip; they were never charged in the US, and Obama cannot pardon a conviction that didn't occur in this country.

        Presidential pardons are issued to those who have been convicted.

        If you have evidence that nobody else knows about, please give me the date and pardon #.

        Lawsuits are not the same as criminal charges, as I am sure you are aware.
        Thanks.

        January 17, 2015 at 1:36 pm |
    • Cynic

      And they ARE on trial. Both G dubya and the Dick Cheney have been named in 9/11 Victim's Family lawsuits as co-conspirators and financiers of the crime of 9/11. Case is still held-up in court and yet to have a hearing. Meanwhile, Victim's Family eye witnesses keep getting droned-down or "committing suicide". Only one of the four "terrorists" who's passports were found at ground zero remains alive...out of the four who have been seen alive since 9/11. He is currently hiding-out from US drones in Iran.

      January 17, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Reply
      • Cynic

        ...and of course the 29 FBI and DoD whistle blowers called to testify by Victim's Families remain under Bush-era federal gag orders and so cannot be used as witnesses.

        January 17, 2015 at 12:36 pm |
  12. Cynic

    The corner stone of US foreign policy is sending US troops out to go get stuff for fat lazy Americans to consume. Invading and occupying foregn countries that have stuff you fat asses crave. Or making sure that ME oil flows to China through Afghanistan in order to make Wal-Mart possible for you to shop at and save save save. And buying cheap China product while waving your funny little red-white-and-blue plastic flags. That are also madse in China. Or Israeli occupied Myanmar. (Burma)

    January 17, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Yep, manufacturing needs to be brought back to the US.

      Any idea on how to implement that, Philip?

      January 17, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  13. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    Are you SURE youre an american citizen philip??? Your post @ 12:41 sounds very anti american. Maybe you should return to your homeland....no matter how many light years away it is!

    January 17, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      He has said he does not consider himself an American, IIRC.

      Even as he avails himself to everything the US has to offer.

      January 17, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  14. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    As you ALREADY know @ banasy he has said a great many things that we now KNOW were untrue! Now he has absolutely no credibility whatsoever! And since he IS obsessed with aliens and UFOs a logical assumption would be he is from somewhere else! And you must admit most times he is soooo far out there it HAS to be some light years away!

    January 17, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  15. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    Lmao ya know @ philip ive been craving some fresh pineapple...do you have the number for those consumption military delivery ppl?

    January 17, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  16. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    Lol @ banasy...thats easy actually but Congress refuses to do it. They need to revisit that ridiculous tax code and REFORM it! But of course obstructionists that they are, will not do anything that requires an effort on their part, or bennefits the US citizens!

    January 17, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Reply
  17. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    Oh and if they slapped a outsourcing tax on these manufactures that would help as well.

    January 17, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Reply
  18. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    Oops *an* outsourcing tax.

    January 17, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  19. IRS Tax Code

    The IRS and the Federal Reserve are both foreign owned/offshore corporations, little Chrissy. Congress has exactly zero authority over them. But you get your news from major media outlets also owned by the men who own the IRS and the central banks. So you won't believe me. You will believe them instead. Because you are stupid is why.

    January 18, 2015 at 4:57 am | Reply
    • Lolo

      "Men who own the IRS." Lmmfao! Dork. You call others stupid?!??

      January 21, 2015 at 11:54 am | Reply
  20. Cynic

    If everything Americans consumed was Made in the USA so would all the pollution it takes to make those products. A dark cloud of pollution would cover much of N. America and the whole world could see that Americans are the worst polluters of earth by far. And most of you city dwellers would be wearing gas masks instead of Chinese currently wearing them as they make stuff for obese America.
    The last thing a sane person would want is for manufacturing facilities be moved to the USA.

    January 18, 2015 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • banasy©

      Only an insane person would constantly complain about people who have no jobs as all being on the dole and "workshy" and fraudulent, and then call a possible solution stupid.

      Only an insane person would constantly carp about "Wal-Mart possible for you to shop at and save save save. And buying cheap China product while waving your funny little red-white-and-blue plastic flags. That are also madse in China. Or Israeli occupied Myanmar. (Burma)", and then when asked specifically how to bring those jobs that were formerly American back to US shores, talk about pollution that exists in those areas where the manufacturing jobs went to.

      Shove it. You have no answers. Only stupid, bizarre tangents. You have zero credibility, and has shown your insanity in a myriad of ways; contradictory, deceitful, fabrications, (a nicer way of saying flat-out lying.)

      Of COURSE you don't want manufacturing (jobs) being brought to the US; not because of any possible good it would do to get "lazy, work-shy" Americans back to work and contributing to the economy, but because it would give you one less reason to complain.

      My God, you are nasty. Just zip it.

      January 18, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Reply
    • Lolo

      This is the dumbest thing I have ever read Cynic! OMG your answer to bring jobs back into this country is what? Quit buying?!? Dumb dee dumb dumb.

      January 21, 2015 at 11:51 am | Reply
  21. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    I wouldnt believe you because....well....its YOU! A known LIAR! Do us both a favor and STOP addressing me you lying, conniving d o u s h e b a g!

    January 18, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      My patience with his misanthropy has just about run its course, Chrissy. I've never seen a person with more contempt for humankind.

      January 18, 2015 at 6:26 pm | Reply
  22. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    Lol @ banasy...BECAUSE he is from a planet many light years away! I imagine all the aliens from his planet are programed that way!

    January 18, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      He's just...I can't even...

      January 18, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Reply
  23. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    Lol @ Lolo...thats if they are female! Only females are stupid.

    January 21, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Reply
  24. Eddie Fonseca

    During the day's of oppression and hate during World War 2 when Hitler and the Third Reich Army wanted to enslave half the world, and killed many Jewish people in the process America and it's Allies decided that freedom should not be just an American right but should be enjoyed by everyone across the world including the Middle East as well. When our brave men and women wave the Star Spangle banner in the Middle East, they are not trying to convert the young college educated men and women in the Middle East to Americans but to give them a voice to express their thoughts about change and freedom in their countries which was denied by their government leaders. Our great US Military and US Airforce should be the second voice along with Arab leaders, to spread democracy and freedom to it's people and let change begin in the Middle East. Being an American who has traveled to Israel and to the different parts of Middle East, and have talked to many young men and women who are college educated while drinking a cup of coffee in local cafes while watching their nations soccer team play soccer on the television. Many young people tell me having the U.S intervention is helping their societies, but also improving their lives from more rights for women and men when it comes to voting and talking about their government's foreign policy's in public without leading bloodshed all the time. As Americans we know our duty in defending our nations and other countries basic fundamental rights of freedom, and living in peace without the fear of being attacked physical or racial from our government's officials or radical groups who threaten all our freedoms. Without the U.S having a second voice in international affairs in the Middle East and other countries, will we as Americans ever know the meaning of freedom or will another terrorists group threaten our freedom and bring harm to our great nations shores for years to come.

    February 25, 2015 at 11:19 pm | Reply
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