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

Post by:
Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (352 Responses)
  1. Blue Saffroń

    Blue Saffrońism: The Key to American Foreign Policy.


    The one most successful aspect of recent American foreign policy has been the conquest of India without firing a bullet. That is the beauty of capitalism used as a Trojan Horse! Economic victory! Give them a taste of onion rings and they will never settle for french fries again. USA now owns India Inc. not only economically but also militarily as economic subjugation ultimately leads to military domination. The recent win for US multinationals has been pressuring the Indian Govt to open up majority ownership of domestic companies by foreign investors. US will now be virtually able to control the government policies in India via remote control in Wash D.C.

    The take away is that US needs to find a similar mechanism Middle East/North Africa/South Asia to control events without having to depend on military dictatorships to do the biding. Economic subjugation appears to be the way out but what may be applicable to Hindus may not work in case of Muslims.

    That poses the dilemma that we are struggling with. Israel may have to be the sacrificial goat to make this happen, I am afraid.

    January 16, 2015 at 10:02 am |
    • Harper Beaumont

      I must tell you that you bring more to the table than the author. Thank you for the free education and your insights.

      January 16, 2015 at 10:40 am |
    • Cristobal

      Great analogy and brilliant thesis!

      January 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm |
  2. Blue Saffroń

    The Christian minority of India is very concerned about its future in India. The reason for this concern: Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP).

    At the center of the NDA is Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist party BJP. Christians are distressed knowing BJP's Hindu nationalist agenda, an ideology that seeks to create a purely Hindu India.

    As a matter of concern, Andhra Pradesh, a state located on India's eastern coastline, has seen the highest number of attacks (41) on Christians in India in 2013. Andhra Pradesh is believed to have the highest Christian population in India, yet there seems to be an orchestrated hate campaign by Hindu radical groups, including Sangh Parivar and RSS, being carried out across the state. Brutal attacks on the Christian leaders falsely accused of forcible conversion has increased.

    January 16, 2015 at 10:13 am |
    • Blue Saffroń

      Fareed, please research this issue and revert back to us. This is of more concern to us than Middle East.

      January 16, 2015 at 10:16 am |
    • Hannah

      This is indeed a cause of concern for the Pope as well as rest of us.

      January 16, 2015 at 11:41 am |
  3. Blue Saffron

    I su ck monkey di cks

    January 16, 2015 at 10:29 am |
  4. Charlie

    Stfu troll.
    Hi Blue Saffron, the one in blue.
    Can I fu kk you?

    January 16, 2015 at 10:37 am |
  5. bobcat2u

    Gods' Quality Management Questionnaire

    God would like to thank you for your belief and patronage. In order to better serve your needs, He asks that you take a few moments to answer the following questions.
    Please keep in mind that your responses will be kept completely confidential, and that you need not disclose your name or address unless you prefer a direct response to comments or suggestions.
    1. How did you find out about God?
    __ Newspaper __ Other Book __ Television __ Divine Inspiration __ Word of mouth __ Near Death Experience __ Bible __ Other __ Torah (specify): _____________
    2. Are you currently using any other source of inspiration in addition to God? Please check all that apply.
    __ Tarot __ Lottery __ Horoscope __ Television __ Fortune cookies __ Ann Landers __ Self-help books __ S ex __ Biorhythms __ Alcohol or drugs __ Mantras __ Other: ______________________________________ __ Insurance policies __ None
    3. God employs a limited degree of Divine Intervention to preserve the balanced level of felt presence and blind faith. Which would you prefer (circle one)?
    a. More Divine Intervention b. Less Divine Intervention c. Current level of Divine Intervention is just right d. Don't know
    4. God also attempts to maintain a balanced level of disasters and miracles. Please rate on a scale of 1 – 5 his handling of the following (1=unsatisfactory, 5=excellent):
    a. Disasters (flood, famine, earthquake, war) 1 2 3 4 5
    b. Miracles (rescues, spontaneous remission of disease, sports upsets) 1 2 3 4 5
    5. Do you have any additional comments or suggestions for improving the quality of God's services? (Attach an additional sheet if necessary).
    Thanks so much for filling out the survey. Your participation will be taken into account when you apply for membership to Heaven.

    January 16, 2015 at 10:38 am |
    • Ahmed

      Is ok for Americans to make fun of Allah and of their own God. Freedom of something or other.

      January 16, 2015 at 10:41 am |
      • banasy©

        This post isn't making fun of God or Allah.

        January 16, 2015 at 10:59 am |
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        December 21, 2021 at 8:50 pm |
    • banasy©

      bobcat, I often wonder if Jesus were to have started his journey say, three decades ago, if he would have employed modern methods of communication?
      How would have He been received?

      January 16, 2015 at 10:57 am |
      • bobcat2u

        That is a really good point banasy. I honestly never even thought of that. It probably wouldn't have made much difference as many who were said to have met him face to face still denied him. It sure would have saved wear and tear on his sandals though.

        January 16, 2015 at 11:13 am |
      • banasy©

        His sandals. Lol.

        I have no doubt that many would have denied Him; many still do. I just wonder if He could have reached just that more people, what the face of Christianity would look like today...

        I also wonder, if John of Patmos were to write Revelation today, would the images his words called up into the mind be more frightening or less frightening? (Seeing as we see the most frightful images via video and movies now...)

        January 16, 2015 at 11:25 am |
      • bobcat2u

        Since all we know of Jesus comes from ancient text, we have been left to visualize the events of those days. If we could see today what the true events were then, our total perspective I'm sure would be changed.
        In regards to Revelations, I often had visualized his interpretations. If they were a literal description, it would make even the strongest person cower at the sights. I don't know that he could possibly use any more disturbing images than what he described.

        January 16, 2015 at 11:44 am |
      • banasy©

        Yes; I think the imagination is a very powerful tool.
        Which is why I prefer the written word over the actual visuals.

        January 16, 2015 at 12:49 pm |
  6. Newsflash

    News flash. American intervention has not been the answer to the ME peace crisis for decades now. Grow a brain Fareed.

    January 16, 2015 at 10:40 am |
  7. Blue Saffroń

    To those who have read "Who moved my cheese" by Spencer Johnson, it is clearly evident that I have ruffled some feathers, disturbed the status quo and challenged the mediocrity of comments being posted. Indeed I have. Not only that but I have challenged the authors as well. That is my prerogative and that is what I plan to continue doing. You have my word on that.

    This is not your mother's kitchen nor your father's garage. This is a public forum. Follow ettiquettes and decorum. Be productive.

    I lead by example. Read my posts and follow me to enlightenment.

    January 16, 2015 at 10:52 am |
  8. Blue Saffroń

    Please don’t create a divide. I just post my comments and move on. I have no other agenda nor interfere in other people’s business. Freedom of expression with respect for others where due is my motto. However, I do not and will not condone human right violations in any form or manner. I abhor suppression of people If you are a party to it then I am your worst nightmare.

    It is not my responsibilty to clean up forums though I encourage meaningful debate.

    This is my credo. This is who I am. This is what I do.

    If you can't debate me stay away from me. I have no interest in you.

    January 16, 2015 at 10:56 am |
    • banasy©

      You must have missed this post asking you some questions; it sounded as if she would have wanted to debate:

      @ Blue Saffron.....So its your opinion that one journalist has the capability to "bring the world together"??? He isnt a super hero...you do know that, right? And obviously you hold him (Fareed) in contempt, so why do you continue to read his articles? Just so you can slander and heckle him? And you dont think thats disturbing?

      January 16, 2015 at 11:04 am |
  9. bobcat2u

    There seems to be this consensus the US must be first to intervene in the hot spots of the world. Why ? In Bosnia, Why did the Europeans not take the lead to help them ? This is their back yard. In the ME, why did the Arab states not come to the aid of their brethren when al Qaeda first reared it's head ? This is their back yard. What has our interventionist atti tude garnered for us throughout the world. Peace ? Stability ? Good standing in the eyes of the world ? No, all it's gotten us is the mantle as world bully. Unless we are asked specifically for our help, we need to stay the hell out of the affairs of other countries. We have too many issues here that need addressing.

    January 16, 2015 at 11:01 am |
    • banasy©

      I agree with this.

      Concerning Syria, this has been pretty much been my stance since that war started nearly three years ago:

      No US boots on the ground,
      (Acting as aggressors)

      I very rarely agree with him, but Newsflash above said it succinctly.

      January 16, 2015 at 11:11 am |
      • bobcat2u

        I can agree with our stepping in to help in humanitarian situations, but not sending our lambs to slaughter just because we think we have a better way.

        January 16, 2015 at 11:21 am |
      • banasy©

        That is precisely what I meant; I could not think of the word! (Haven't had much coffee yet)
        I thought "as support staff" but I knew that wasn't what I meant either...

        January 16, 2015 at 11:28 am |
  10. palintwit

    Maybe next time the dog will stand on top of the Trig-tard.

    January 16, 2015 at 11:09 am |
  11. Blue Saffroń

    The business model used to dominate the world by NATO has collapsed. Democracy is a failed concept in recent times and has produced the worst band of thugs imaginable. US Congress, British Parliament are good examples. A bunch of underperforming sayx p erverts. Irak, Afghanistan..... What a joke! See what it has produced. Clinton, Bush, Obama. I wanna throw up.

    Also take the case of world's largest democracy (laughter) India. Modi, a murderer. Most of those elected have a criminal record.
    Another guy called Shashi Tharoor just murdered his wife and got away. He is a hindu politician also.

    And we are worried about Middle East? Middle of what? Lol

    January 16, 2015 at 11:23 am |
    • Hannah

      Bombing has become a proxy for democracy. Talking has failed. Finding solutions to long existing problems has been "evasive" (deliberately).

      January 16, 2015 at 11:40 am |
      • Blue Saffroń

        Anarchy has taken over global affairs. Since there are no political solutions people have taken up arms to force solutions. The worst is yet to come.

        January 16, 2015 at 11:50 am |
    • Cristobal

      I was never a fan of majoritarian democracy.

      January 16, 2015 at 12:14 pm |
  12. Blue Saffroń

    When corporation cant turn a profit they go out of business. When CEO's cant solve corporate problems they are booted out by BOD.

    The Middle Easterners snd South Asians are telling us that the Palestinian and Indian Occupied Kashmir problems have been hanging out there for 70 years!!! Time for a change as current world order is inept. Out with the old guard.

    January 16, 2015 at 11:46 am |
    • Cristobal

      They are fighting for what they perceive to be their rights.

      January 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm |
      • palintwit

        Just as the tea party patriots are fighting for their right to be arrogant morons.

        January 16, 2015 at 12:26 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        Remember that members of the Tea Party have the right to hold any opinion, even if it is not your opinion or mine.
        They do not have the right to murder you.

        January 16, 2015 at 7:20 pm |
  13. Blue Saffroń

    The people of Indian Occupied Kashmir have been struggling for many years to have the right to their own destiny. Imagine Scotland being separated into two parts with one being given independence and the other half occupied by British troops at a ratio of one soldier for every two civilians, with restrictions on all their movements. The people of Kashmir have always rejected the idea of having a border separating it.

    India must hold plebiscite in Indian Occupied Kashmir without further ado.

    January 16, 2015 at 12:51 pm |
    • Cynic

      So have the people of suburban Mississippi. What of it?

      January 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        I lived in one of the very nicest Mississippi suburbs until I left that state. Many college professors thought that we had that Mississippi's best public high school.
        Much about that suburb is still almost utopian.

        January 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm |
    • Crockett

      I don.t understand what is taking India so long? Shouldn't take 70 years to hold plebiscite.

      January 16, 2015 at 1:50 pm |
  14. palintwit

    Several times a year physicists and astronomers from all over the world travel to Alaska to view the meteor showers. Sarah Palin is there as well and is easy to spot because she is the only one with an umbrella.

    January 16, 2015 at 1:13 pm |
  15. Harbinder Singh Jat

    You have my full support.

    January 16, 2015 at 1:38 pm |
    • Crockett

      Are you referring to @Blue Saffron's comment on holding plebiscite in Indian Occupied Kashmir or supporting the formation of your own Sikh State in India called Khalistan or both. Please clarify.

      January 16, 2015 at 1:52 pm |
  16. Ahmed

    Jesus would be rejected today same as the other day. Duh.

    January 16, 2015 at 1:44 pm |
    • banasy©

      Which is precisely what was said in the above posts; thanks for your confirmation that bobcat and I have it right.

      January 16, 2015 at 2:02 pm |
      • Cynic

        No. Jesus would not have laughed at Bob's joke. He would have laughed at Bob.

        January 16, 2015 at 3:14 pm |
      • banasy©

        I'm sorry; are you confused?

        I was referring to bobcat's "It probably wouldn’t have made much difference as many who were said to have met him face to face still denied him." and my answer of "I have no doubt that many would have denied Him; many still do. I just wonder if He could have reached just that more people, what the face of Christianity would look like today…" when I answered Ahmed's OP with my 2:02 response.

        Getting the hang of following threads can be tricky, no?

        I hope this clears up your confusion, Cynic.

        Fwiw, I believe that Jesus was not bereft of a sense of humor; He would likely have laughed as cynics, as well.

        January 16, 2015 at 5:14 pm |
  17. Ahmed

    There is no "civil war" in Syria. Only those who believe official versions of news stories think there is. What has happened in Syria is nearly 4 million people have been displaced from their homes due to lack of water. (Syria is experiencing their worst drought ever) And US backed Muslim Brotherhood trying to take over Syria got their butts kicked by Syrians, and so retreated to Iraq and changed their name to "ISIS/ISIL". Americans are stupid.

    January 16, 2015 at 1:47 pm |
    • banasy©

      Would you be willing to go be the correspondent in Syria to get us the real story? Your take would be interesting.

      January 16, 2015 at 2:06 pm |
      • Cynic

        Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney already did that for us, Donna. She and her entourage were in Syria last March reporting Israeli rocket fire taking-out Syrians fighting against invading Muslim brotherhood even.

        January 16, 2015 at 3:12 pm |
      • banasy©

        Oh! So she said emphatically there was no civil war?

        January 16, 2015 at 5:15 pm |
  18. Crockett

    As always, the only person making sensible comments is @Blue Saffron. The rest are just leaches. Just saying.

    January 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm |
    • banasy©

      Some people actually comment on the story.

      Sorry, but that doesn't qualify as a "leech".

      You do not have to read what others post.

      Just saying.

      January 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm |
  19. Daddy's Joy

    There is a subtle difference between leaches and leeches once you get beyond the reading disability issue. In any event, leeches are what is found in abundance in India. Just sayin.

    January 16, 2015 at 2:41 pm |
    • banasy©

      Oh, yes, I understand. For whatever the reasons, my "smartphone" corrected the spelling, and I didn't catch it. Thank you for pointing that out so adroitly.

      Thank you for also using the reply button.

      Leeches are founds on abundance in many places, as a person with your intelligence would no doubt know.
      As are leaches. I, however, am not one of them.

      Let me rephrase:

      Some people actually comment on the story.

      Sorry, but that doesn’t qualify as a “leaches."

      You do not have to read what others post.

      Just saying.

      January 16, 2015 at 3:08 pm |
  20. Daddy's Joy

    That brings me to the next point. This is a professional forum. Certain standards are expected otherwise dont post.

    January 16, 2015 at 3:21 pm |
    • banasy©

      Why, thank you. I shall remember that. I try to be as respectful always.

      Upon further examination, I have found that my phone changed it from "leach" to "leech"; however, given the spirit of Crocket's OP, he probably meant to say leech, which alternate definition to the annelid worm states:
      2. a person who extorts profit from or sponges on others, rather than: leaches, which pertains to
      the verb:
      (with reference to a soluble chemical or mineral) drain away from soil, ash, or similar material by the action of percolating liquid, especially rainwater.

      In any case, neither applies to me.

      Not to be a pendant, but perhaps my smartphone was correct in the first place.

      January 16, 2015 at 4:50 pm |
  21. chri§§y¥¥¥¥

    @banasy meet me at Chandni Chauk to have some gol guppas. Later we will go a raypin.

    January 16, 2015 at 4:03 pm |
    • banasy©

      You were quick to steal Chrissy's new s/n; one cannot accuse you of letting the grass grow under your feet when there is thievery to be done.

      That being said, your post makes zero sense to me, as I do not know what Chandi Chauk is, (I assume an eatery of some sort; unsure) nor what gol guppas are.

      I shall further have to decline your delightful invitation to "go raypin", as your style of "seduction" does not match mine, and is criminal; I am not a criminal. I lack the equipment in any case.

      Good luck on your "quest." Have a nice weekend.

      January 16, 2015 at 5:00 pm |
  22. Blue Saffroń

    "Islamic radicalism .... Pervert ideology." Fareed tell me about your ideology. For a few $ you have sold your soul to CNN. Put some cheap lipstick, stilettos and a red dot on your forehead and hit 42nd street on a buggy. PRICELESS!! Twitter us your selfie. Lol

    January 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm |
    • banasy©

      Is a red dot on the forehead used in Islam? Because that is the faith Fareed Zakaria belongs to.

      January 16, 2015 at 5:02 pm |
      • Peter

        Did you s ukk his d ikk to figure that out? Lol

        January 16, 2015 at 5:23 pm |
      • banasy©

        No. I just know what I'm talking about.

        January 16, 2015 at 5:36 pm |
  23. Peter

    @banasy slipping a suppository may help your condition.

    January 16, 2015 at 5:08 pm |
    • banasy©

      Oh, and what condition would that be?

      To quote Daddy's Joy:
      That brings me to the next point. This is a professional forum. Certain standards are expected otherwise dont post.

      January 16, 2015 at 5:23 pm |
  24. Hannah

    Hi...I su ck Modi Indian Hindu di ck.
    He he

    January 16, 2015 at 5:24 pm |
  25. Haji Allah Baksh

    Hold your head high !!!


    The world is yours.. Break away from the shackles of suppression that you have been subjected to. YOU HAVE A DREAM ....OH YES YOU HAVE A DREAM AND THAT DREAM SHOULD BE FULFILLED. These are the words of Martin Luther King that are so applicable to you. We shall call it 'Republic Of Aspirations' a 'State of Islam' in mind, body and spirit.

    Come with me and I will lead you to your zenith.
    Follow me and I will show you the light.





    January 16, 2015 at 5:35 pm |
  26. Haji Allah Baksh

    Let's not kid ourselves. We had to invade Middle East to save our pride and to show the world that we had the financing and forbearance to fight this war on ground chasing the shadows. Of course, then there were geo political considerations of tapping into ME and Afghanistan's natural resources and being closer to China. But ego aside, we all know that winning the endeavors in ME/Afghanistan is not possible without Pakistan. Pakistan the only nuclear nation in the Islamic World. Pakistan the regional super power. Pakistan the new gateway to Europe and Central Asia.

    Time has come to tango with Pakistan and elevate it to a membership position in UN Security Council.

    January 16, 2015 at 5:51 pm |
  27. Blue Saffroń

    Fareed, is this your legacy? Is this your concept of nirvana ideology? Shame on your heritage in India. Shame on hindutva.

    By David Wroe in Berlin:::

    A leading German historian said Mahatma Gandhi was "one of the greatest friends of Nazi Germany" because the Indian activist and the Third Reich shared a shared a common enemy in Britain.

    Well, now we know how Mahatma Gandhi befriended Hitler and encouraged him to holocaust and purify race while advising Jews to be placid.

    I always knew that midgety t wit was no good.

    January 16, 2015 at 5:58 pm |
    • Blue Saffroń


      OM OM OM
      Hare Krishna Hare Ram

      Shame on Radical and Dezzpicable Hinduism.

      January 16, 2015 at 6:06 pm |
  28. Crockett

    Fareed is nothing but a joker. CNN and CIA trying to put a mask on Palestinian and Indian Occupied Kashmir issues.
    Take a hike or a boat back to India dalit.

    January 16, 2015 at 6:12 pm |
  29. Observer

    No more of a joker than you crockett. You've posted some of the stupidest crap here. Go back to Disneyworld!

    January 16, 2015 at 7:15 pm |
  30. Blue Saffroń

    Fareed, can it be more perverted than this? Why are you misleading people from reality?
    Take a read.


    Perhaps the most fervent Nazi adherent to Indian Hinduism was Heinrich Himmler, one of the most brutal members of the senior Gestapo command.

    Himmler, directly responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews and others as the architect of the Holocaust, was a complex and fascinating man. He was also obsessed with India and Hinduism and got his inspiration from it.

    Himmler was also drawn to The Pilgrim Kamanita by the Danish author Karl Gjellerup, which was a contemporary best-seller. In his diary, Himmler commented: A precious narration. The content is the teaching of salvation.

    Gjellerup's book quoted several verses from the Hindu Vedas, including: The one who kills believes that he is killing. The one who has been killed believes that he dies. Both of them are wrong, for one doesn't die and the other doesn't kill.

    Later, Himmler delivered some of these same philosophies in his speeches to his SS officers. Thus hinduism formed the essence of his holocaust philosophy exterminating Jews.

    January 16, 2015 at 7:26 pm |
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