The Americans reside in a far stronger position than any other international rival regarding posture and standing than the Imperial powers did a hundred years ago, when England decided to back indigenous Arab tribes under the banner of nationalism and kick over the Ottoman yoke. In so doing, they bequeathed to the world an Iraq, a Yemen, Syria and a nominal notion of Palestine. The tribes and sects that coexisted under the suzerainty of Istanbul gladly embraced an appeal to freedom, even if they couldn’t quite square the circle to emulate foreign captors. One hundred years later, the wars of these lands have an indigenous origin even though they beckon and drape their victimhood in colonial garb. It was never foreordained.
The challenge for team Trump isn’t to put the Islamic state away quickly. It is to prevent I.S. transitioning from a predominantly territorial force to an extra-territorial guerrilla movement in perpetual animus to the domestic Shia who look east to Iran. This is a tall order for even the best America has to offer. It will require an untold grasp of Hobbes and Machiavelli IF our stratagem survives. . .
We should remember that the Iranians will not stand still as we begin to corral their regional proxies throughout the eastern Mediterranean. If anything, the noose slipped around Arabia will tighten as the Arab world’s poorest state (Yemen) becomes a training ground for Iran. What the post Obama world will acknowledge is the supremacy of light, forward moving infantry. What team Trump should ignite are the nationalist and regional Kurdish ambition, even if it threatens Turkey. We should be willing to play with fire, and prove to our enemies the ruthlessness of a Great Satan.
Regarding fire, Saudi budget deficits are mounting. The House of Saudi is falling. The rot is deep and personal. The Saudi’s will run out of foreign exchange reserves by 2020. THEY’RE OUT OF TIME. Even while encircled by Iran, their half hearted attempt at liberalizing their political economy will drain its leadership, placing the Saudi’s in IMF receivership. It will be their OPEC crisis, identical to the one unleashed upon the Americans in 1973.
If anything, expect the animosity of the Saudi-Iranian rivalry to consume those both near and afar.