Cato Institute’s Justin Logan explains the world’s most dysfunctional region by saying “the Middle East, from a military point of view, is little more than a waste of time.”
The amount we’re paying now to fight terrorism—roughly $100 billion per year—is simply crazy. If someone ran a hedge fund assessing risk the way the U.S. government has responded to terrorism, it would not be long for the world. Indeed, it is difficult to identify how U.S. policy across the region—with the possible exception of some drone strikes and special operations raids—have reduced the extremely low probability of another major terrorist attack. If anything, our policies may have increased them.
Writing in 2007, Philip Auerswald presciently argued that “the first, most severe, and likely most enduring mistake made with regard to Iraq was believing that any country in the Middle East matters enough in the 21st century to justify starting a war.” We’re back at it in 2014, despite the fact that none of the reasons frequently offered for obsessing over the Middle East stands up to scrutiny.
Meanwhile, we have created cadres of Middle East obsessives who argue that their region of study is vital, while America’s slighted Asia Pivoteers whinge from the sidelines, not daring to speak the heretical truth: The Middle East, from a military point of view, is little more than a waste of time.