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 (352 Responses)
  1. Blue Saffroń

    How convenient that Fareed did not read these books in college!

    It is not anyone's fault that hinduism was an inspiration for Nazi's to undertake the holocaust against Jews. It is not anyone's fault that Gandhi wrote friendly letters to Hitler encouraging extermination of jews. It is not anyone's fault that Subhash Chandra Bose was wined and dined by Nazis and supported holocaust of jews as well. There are numerous books written on this subject for crying out loud.

    Trying to pretend it did not happen doesn't cut it. It is what it is and live with it. You cannot stop people from debating. This is not India where threats are made and your family is raiped to shut you up. Not going to happen. Hindus need to fess up and seek atonement.

    January 16, 2015 at 7:39 pm |
  2. Observer

    Because Blue, thats what publicity people do. You've been known to do it yourself, quite often in fact! That messiah post much earlier today is one very good example! But i'm telling you this, when you profess to be "God like" things have a way of not going well for you. You should probably turn that down a notch.

    January 16, 2015 at 7:40 pm |
  3. Ferhat Balkan

    When "intervention" means war, aerial bombardment and injustice, the violence in the area increases and terrorists groups rise up. Fareed is right and I"m actually surprised that it took him this long... War breeds terror like fuel to the fire. How would you feel if another country invaded your home and bombed thousands of civilians including some of your family members and called it "collateral damage"? This is how sympathy for these terrorists flourishes. This is how war in the long run solves nothing. In fact, it makes matters worse. I mean let's look at the facts...The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have all ended up in failure. Places like Yemen & Pakistan have greater number of terrorists now than they ever did before the drone strikes... When places like France ban the burka in schools and draw mocking cartoons of a fundamental belief system and call it "free speech" all the while imprisoning a comic (Dieudonné M'bala) to 7 years for simply posting offensive material... Ask yourself where is the justice or freedom of speech then? When Israel bombed Gaza and killed some 2,200 innocent civilians last year, where was the "Unity Rally' then? When people like Bill Maher and Sam Harris or news agencies like Fox News blame Islam, they promote further hatred and bigotry. We have to rebuild the Middle East. We have to embrace all religions with equal respect. We have to put away our differences and accept each other for who we are: equal human beings regardless of religion, culture, race or ethnic background. Enough is enough. Stop these senseless wars and think about the future of our planet and our children.

    January 16, 2015 at 7:42 pm |
  4. Blue Saffroń

    Really? Me? Are you kidding me?

    I have known that my well wishers considered me a saint, messiah and prophet. Never in my wildest dreams ever thought they would treat me like a God. I am utterly humbled but no thank you. I am a common person and very happy in my skin.

    I will try to live up to your expectations. Please keep my feet grounded in reality.

    January 16, 2015 at 7:43 pm |
  5. Observer

    You're welcome! Although i think you may have misunderstood what i was saying! When you liken yourself to those that you just mentioned it tends to make people not take you serious. And i can't imagine it would help you much with the ladies either. Your information is great, and its obvious you've put a lot of effort into research. Also, above all else you have an obvious conviction in what you say, which is very important if you wish to be a public speaker. You have all of that going for you, so you don't need to profess to be "God like." Doing that will only discourage those who may have been your greatest fans. Thats just my advice. Stick to the facts, and say it like you mean it and you will go far! 😉

    January 16, 2015 at 8:09 pm |
  6. Blue Saffroń

    As I said I am very happy in my skin. Wouldn't want to be anyone else let alone God. Shhhh.... Don't want bad guys to hear it. Lol.

    Seriously, I am not here to pass time. My convictions bring me here.

    January 16, 2015 at 8:21 pm |
  7. Observer

    Lol bad guys usually make a detour when God is mentioned so i think you're safe. Carry on.

    January 16, 2015 at 8:34 pm |
  8. Jack Murphy

    What is the point of this article? It is nonsense.
    Shut this blog down.

    January 16, 2015 at 8:40 pm |
  9. Observer

    Excuse me Mr.Martin, but you don't get to decide that. If it troubles you than move along! If you would like an education on India than stick around. My friend here, Mr. Saffron, is an expert on that topic! So cop a squat and maybe you'll learn something. Like maybe some manners!

    January 16, 2015 at 8:47 pm |
  10. Jack Murphy

    And what is your role? Here'sssss Johnyyyyy?
    Most of folk here from India. Note singularity

    January 16, 2015 at 9:00 pm |
    • banasy©

      Nobody posting here is from India. Not that permanently.

      January 16, 2015 at 9:21 pm |
      • banasy©

        *Note that permanently.

        January 16, 2015 at 9:24 pm |
  11. Blue Saffroń

    Wonder whatever happened to Mission Accomplished. Osama is dead problem over. Who is ISIS, AQAP, ASAP, BJP, SHIV SENA ?
    Blame it on Blue. And I haven't yet started on India and the >700 freedom fughting outfits.


    January 16, 2015 at 9:12 pm |
  12. Blue Saffroń

    By today's standards Martin Luther King would be categorized a terrorist. Malcolm X the Haqqani equivalent. Charlie Manson akin to Modi with accountability delivered.

    January 16, 2015 at 9:16 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      We who advocated for equal rights at the time of Dr, King had no idea that racial hatred would grow into what America hosts today.
      Extreme views from both whites and African-Americans make rational discussion almost impossible.
      Calling for honest discussions will only make the situation worse if those talking to each other have not bee trained to think.

      January 16, 2015 at 9:34 pm |
  13. Observer

    Well well if it isnt my old pal philip! Are you trying to disrupt the class? I would think my name would be self explanitory as to my role. Observe and learn, maybe a little educating as well.

    January 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm |
  14. Blue Saffroń

    See if Fareed had an ounce of brain he would be writing a blog on Martin Luther King to celebrate his birthday. This boy is so out of touch with americana he hasn't a clue. Put him on a donkey cart back to Raipistan. NOTE: I am avoiding the mention of certain name to please an apologiste. Martini for two please.

    January 16, 2015 at 9:23 pm |
    • banasy©

      I don't think FZ writes about domestic affairs; just on how the US affects the world.

      January 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm |
      • Blue Saffroń

        His recent blog was on American Innovation.

        January 16, 2015 at 9:51 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        Hello banasy.
        How about an article about the global effects of the USA's deterioration in the relationship between our races?

        January 16, 2015 at 9:56 pm |
      • banasy©

        Good point, Blue Saffron.

        Hello, JIF: I fear that would be a longer entry than a mere blog would allow.

        January 16, 2015 at 10:48 pm |
  15. Observer

    Never liked that Manson guy, he has some spaced out eyes.

    January 16, 2015 at 9:26 pm |
  16. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    My closest friend was a member of the crowd murdered by the Manson family. He would have been at the house that night, but something happened to prevent his going there.
    He is convinced that he could have tricked the lovely Manson groupies and saved most of the lives.

    January 16, 2015 at 9:46 pm |
    • banasy©

      I don't think he would have been able to get around Tex Watson.

      I think your friend is lucky to be alive; I wonder if he suffers from survivor's guilt?

      January 16, 2015 at 11:01 pm |
  17. Observer

    Sounds like he works for Congress instead of CNN.

    January 16, 2015 at 9:47 pm |
  18. Blue Saffroń

    Back in the day in America who would you equate the African slaves and the native Indians to ... with today's prism? Terrorists? Palestinians? Radical extremists? Talibans? ISIS/Al Qaeda/AQAP? The Africans were fighting for freedom. The Native Indians for their lands. Just think about it.

    January 16, 2015 at 9:48 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      We have all thought tout all of those thing's.
      At least, I certainly have.
      How do today's racial tensins, and economic failures, affect the rest of the world?

      January 16, 2015 at 10:05 pm |
  19. Observer

    Tricked someone who was all doped up? He should be grateful he wasn't there then.

    January 16, 2015 at 9:49 pm |
  20. Observer

    Who's blog? Charles Manson? That man is an utter failure don't you think. He should've got the death penalty only i don't know if California does the death penalty. Do they?

    January 16, 2015 at 9:57 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      You must be very young. California sentenced most of those fine your persons to the gas chamber, but the death penalty was declared naughty about 1964, saving them for a lifetime of free rent and board.
      A good thing, too: one of the murdered is now a great preacher, saving souls for the Lord!

      January 16, 2015 at 10:12 pm |
  21. Blue Saffroń

    Why does Crazy Horse remind me of Osama?
    You know where I am going with this. Suggest you visit his memorial being built with private money in South Dakota. The largest ever and the same sculptor who did Mt. Washington. .

    January 16, 2015 at 10:00 pm |
  22. Observer

    I will check that out Blue. Got an early day tomorrow but all of you have a nice evening. Cya on the flip side! (that means tomorrow) 😉

    January 16, 2015 at 10:11 pm |
    • Philip

      That does not mean "tomorrow" for your information. It means when a big rig flips over and it's shiny side is upside down. U stupid city slickers anyhow.

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

        It also refers to DJ's talking about the "B" side of vinyl records.

        It means, informally, "see you later."

        January 16, 2015 at 10:57 pm |
  23. Philip

    Philip is here so Stfu.

    January 16, 2015 at 10:17 pm |
  24. Philip

    @Bleu Saffron. Not inspiration for NAZIs as you claim. Rather excuses to drug young men like Adolph Hitler. An equivalent of an FBI agent recruited after WWI to spy on rich industrialists and doctors forming the NAZI political party.

    January 16, 2015 at 10:24 pm |
  25. Zane Abdulla

    The solution to Middle East is to let Pakistan emerge as the regional power, being the only nuclear Islamic State, and control the muslims. Iran will be a challenge but can be corraled.

    January 16, 2015 at 10:25 pm |
  26. Philip

    Was talking to drunk horses, Joey. Not friends from NY.

    January 16, 2015 at 10:26 pm |
  27. Philip

    The solution to the ME Peace Crisis is to arm Israel's sworn enemies. (Check)

    January 16, 2015 at 10:28 pm |
  28. Philip

    "It will be." Lmao

    January 16, 2015 at 10:33 pm |
  29. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    Maybe you should follow your own advice. Yea i think that would be a great idea. And once again youre WRONG!

    January 16, 2015 at 10:47 pm |
  30. chri§§y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

    So hows that character assassination lawsuit going @ philip? Lololol

    January 16, 2015 at 10:55 pm |
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