If there is one thing Americans should have learnt from their recent wars, it is that they do not have the wisdom, resources or staying power to dictate political outcomes, note two leading analysts. Not long ago Washington aspired to build prosperous democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq. Today it would be satisfied if they simply hung together as countries, Francis Fukuyama and Karl Eikenberry write for the Financial Times:
The US needs a more feasible strategy. Mr Obama could learn from England’s policy – and later Britain’s – towards the European continent over the centuries. London had no permanent friends. But whenever a single power looked set to dominate Europe, the country would throw its weight behind an opposing coalition, a strategy known as “offshore balancing”…. The US has no permanent friends or enemies in this sectarian struggle. True, there are groups Washington would like to protect, such as the Kurds and the elected but fragile Baghdad government. The oil-producing Gulf states share common interests with America, and some of them participated in Monday night’s US-led air strikes inside Syria. But few of these countries are real democracies. All have been contributors to the conflagration, and all have supported violent extremists at one time or another.