The difficulty with America is that it tries to do too much. It’s one thing to become involved in a full scale war like the Second World War when the protagonists are Nation States and a decisive military outcome can be achieved. But it’s quite another thing to attempt to micromanage, by brute force, the internal politics of countries about which you know virtually nothing.
America should confine itself to intervening only occasionally, but when it does so decisively, and in a big way, with follow through. And only then, when it has a credible strategy about what it’s trying to achieve. Removing Saddam Hussein, destroying almost the entirety apparatus of Iraqi Civil Governance and internal security, and then expecting it all to miraculously transform into a stable liberal Western Democracy, was never likely to succeed.
It’s quite right that America has acquired a sort of Empire, at in least part, by accident. And much of the difficulties have been brought about by the geopolitics arising from the location of oil reserves. If there was no oil there, I doubt if anyone in the US would be any more interested in the Middle East, (save for the security of Israel), than they are in Africa. The importance of Middle Eastern Oil however is well past it peak. By Mid Century it won’t matter much if the Middle East produces any oil at all. Even now all that really matters is that the Saudi oil taps keep running.
The best thing America can to do is to dispose of its’ ‘quasi Empire’ as safely as practicably possible and to defend only its own vital interests and the interests of the states which clearly show a settled preference for close ties with America. Does it really matter in the scheme of things, if the Russians dominate the Arab region around Syria. As long as Israel is safe and Saudi Arabia is secure, which both are, that’s all that matters to the West. A stable society, even one as brutal as the Assad Regime is better than what they have now. And does it really matter if Russia occupies the Eastern third of Ukraine where the pro Russian population live, let alone whether Russia occupies the entirety of the almost entirely pro Russian Crimea?. Until the creation of the Soviet Union the Crimea had long been part of Russia anyway. The Crimea was gifted to the the Ukraine by Russia, when Russia assumed the Ukraine would remain in the Soviet Union. It’s probably best for all concerned that it’s gone back.
Until recently the Soviet Union used to occupy half of Europe, and the World didn’t end. One of the difficulties however is the American Constitution, which gives the President very little scope to act decisively domestically, but gives him significant powers to act abroad. Politicians, being what they are, like doing things and assume that if they don’t do this or that, the World will come to an end. And even if they aren’t under that illusion themselves they are pressurised by others into acting.
The result is that American Presidents are far more likely to want to meddle in the affairs of other Nations than are, for example, the British. Things are not helped either, by the original Puritan ideology of the American Settlers which in a different form, still exists, and dictates that everyone has to be converted to their way of thinking, and if they don’t agree, be condemned and burned as a Witch.
Sean Gabb’s recollection of the quote ‘a shame he was born; a shame he had to die’ is something we would all echo. Many of us often wish we’d never been born. But few of us welcome the opportunity to die. It should however be possible for an imaginative and intelligent American President to spend his 8 years in office extracting himself from all this. If he were succeeded by another 8 years by someone of like mind, the world might be a much happier place. What America needs, is a new Richard Nixon.
The chances of that all happening in today’s World however are almost nil. It only requires 24 Hour Media to show some atrocity and internal strife in some part of the World that Americans have never heard of before, and the American people demand that their President go and bomb and destabilise the Government there, and reduce the country to full sale Civil War. Were China not on the scene I have no doubt that by now the USA would have bombed North Korea.