The Washington Post’s featured editorial today was “The Trouble With Yemen.” One paragraph deserves to be quoted in full, “Yemen’s steady slide toward failed-state status in recent years means that it, like nearby Somalia, will probably demand concerted and multifaceted U.S. engagement for years to come. More than Special Forces and missile strikes are needed: The relatively friendly central government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh should be bolstered with education and economic development programs like those the United States has deployed for Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
All of which have worked very well in Pakistan and Afghanistan, haven’t they? I do not pretend to have any real insight into what is going on in Yemen, but I believe I would be correct to say that what is taking place there is pretty much a civil war with tribal and cultural divisions plus religious differences fueling the conflict. Plus the locals are reported to be so heavily armed that they make the Afghans look like Quakers. Even if a group that identifies with al-Qaeda has claimed credit for an underwear bomber on a Detroit bound airplane, it is difficult to discern what the US national interest might be in getting involved beyond extremely limited assistance to the Yemeni government to improve its survivability. We have been told that Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Somalia threaten the United States and now it is Yemen’s turn. Am I the only one who finds the assertion mind boggling?
The United States is now militarily engaged in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen and it is likely only a matter of time before Mauretania and places like Chad join the list. Plus sanctions against Syria have just been renewed and much harsher restrictions are pending towards Iran if congress has its way. If all the interventionism and nation building were accomplishing something it would be one thing, but it should be clear by now that the heavy US military footprint followed by a transplanted model of good governance just does not work in most places in the world. This is not an ideological judgment, it is just common sense based on what has taken place since 9/11. Meanwhile, many Americans and countless “collateral damagees” are dying and the US is running the wars on a credit card, which will someday have to be repaid. Is there no one, Democrat or Republican, who will pull the plug on this idiocy?