Could someone explain to me just what are those strategic interests we keep hearing about that justify our involvement in Syria?
To the participants, the uprising there is the latest chapter in the millennia old struggle between two of the tribes of Islam. Yet American politicians from Obama to McCain strain at the leash for yet another chance to spend money and lives in the region.
I’m hardly a pacifist. I think wars well fought for the right reasons have been an important part of our history and that staying strong militarily is important. But you would think we would eventually learn from experience that there is a dismal pattern to these limited participation regional conflicts.
It starts with some local fighting in which we appear to have an interest: keeping Islamists at bay, oil, sympathy, whatever. So we start helping “our side”. Soon we are increasing our commitment to protect our original investment.
It doesn’t go very well fighting locals but we can’t leave because…well, we just can’t. When far too many soldiers have been killed or maimed, we get out. Nothing seems to have changed. Our dreams of turning others into freedom loving democratic capitalists never seem to quite work out. If anything, they resent us more than ever.
Now there’s one more thing to think about. We’re broke. We don’t have the money for desirable but non-essential military forays.
At some point, we just need to drill our own oil, stay strong especially with missile defense and let others work out their differences without us. It might not always work out perfectly but neither does sticking our nose in where it’s neither wanted or needed.
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Bio: Patterson is the volunteer chairman of the Goldwater Institute and past chairman of the Arizona Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
He has served on several community boards, including Goodwill of Central Arizona, Diamondbacks Foundation and Hospice of the Valley.
He is the state chairman for Americans for Tax Reform. Previously, he served as the President of the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council (public sector chair). He was the minority leader (91-92) and majority leader (93-96) of the Arizona Senate.
He is a registered Republican but not politically active. In addition, he was the organizer and lead tenor of the original Arizona Singing Senators.