Given the present economic conditions facing the world, rising unemployment and public dissatisfaction with dictators and oppressive regimes, was the U.S. led Iraq war really necessary? Might Saddam Hussein have been toppled from power by his own people at some point, particularly in this spreading democratic movement through the region?
It will remain a question that will haunt the legacy of former President George W. Bush for many years. However, our view is that the war was not necessary, though of all the Mid-East potentates, Hussein was likely the last to fall.
Some may speculate whether the Americanization of the Iraqi government sowed the seeds of democratic thought in the region. Perhaps there is a scintilla of truth in that, but the more likely cause of the revolutions is a growing dissatisfaction with poverty and unemployment. Coupled with a number of leaders who’ve stolen vast sums, live like kings while their people starve, social media provided the communication tool to network those dissatisfied citizens where America’s previous communications with rebel groups has failed for decades.
More than likely, the people of the Muslim world became and remain anti-American following the invasion of Iraq. While none complained that Hussein was toppled from power, many do fear American imperialism so this “Facebook Revolution” is more likely the result of the economic conditions people face than American democratic ideology.
The governments that follow the age of Middle Eastern dictators may be more democratic, but may not necessarily align themselves with Western thought. Islamic fundamentalists will likely be equally rejected. New governments will however, probably adopt many Islamic philosophies and principles, and look much more to regional, not international commerce.
They will likely distrust America, Russian, Chinese and European governments, though over time, commerce and mutual adaptation to each others’ ways will create a concorde d’etat. Peaceful, non-threatening co-existence is the critical message that America and Western powers must send to those new governments. We must express a desire for fair commercial interaction, without any threat of invasion or military presence unless called upon for assistance.
This may be a huge boost to our national economy. We could potentially shut down many military installations in the region if Syria and Iran fell to a more democratic form of government. This would save our defense budget billions of dollars annually.
A more stable, relaxed world would help alleviate many of the global economic problems facing us all today. Increased trade would eventually replace animosity with camaraderie; trust would develop and peace would exist for a long period. However, to achieve this, the United States must stay far away from the temptation to meddle in the formation of these new governments.
We must not, for example, prevent the creation of constitutional monarchies in places like Bahrain or Afghanistan, nor should we fear constitutional governments that lean more towards socialism. Rather, it is incumbent upon us to offer our advice, if asked, and forever avoid paying dictators for their “friendship”, which over the past 40 years, has proven only to be disloyal, at best.
Augustus Caesar fought many a battle, but in his wake the Roman Empire experienced the “Pax Romana” a generally peaceful period that lasted over 200 years. We may have that golden opportunity to achieve the “Pax Americana”, and build a great future for our people.