VDH offers some next steps in Ruins of the Middle East:
At this late date, amid the ruins of the last half-century’s foreign policy from Libya and Egypt to Syria, Iraq, and Iran, the U.S. should hunker down and distance itself from its enemies and grow closer to its few remaining friends. We need to arm the Kurds, and help them to save what is left of Kurdish Syria. We should inform Erdogan that either he joins the fight against ISIS or we will welcome a large and autonomous Kurdistan and would prefer that Turkeyleave NATO, as it should have long ago. We should forget the “peace process” and recognize that Hamas is an existential enemy of America and almost all our friends, and instead encourage an alignment of Egypt, the Kurds, Jordan, Israel, and a few of the saner Gulf States against both ISIS and the new and soon-to-be-nuclear Iranian Axis.
A final note. In this period of fluid jihadism and changing alliances, we should make it extremely difficult for anyone from most Middle Eastern countries (except the few friendly nations mentioned above) to receive a visa to reside in the U.S., a first step in reminding the region that its cheap anti-Americanism has at least a few consequences. And just because ISIS is primordial does not mean that Assad and Iran are not medieval. They are not our friends just because they are enemies of our enemies; they simply remain our enemies squabbling with other enemies.
The present chaos of the Middle East was caused by our withdrawal from Iraq and a widespread sense that the U.S. had forfeited its old responsibilities and interests, and was either on the side of the Arab Spring Islamists or indifferent to those who opposed them. Tragically, while order may soon return, it is likely to be as a sort of Cold War standoff between a pro-Russian, pro-Chinese — and very nuclear – Iranian bloc, and a Sunni Mesopotamian wasteland masquerading as a caliphate, run by beheaders and fueled by petrodollars, with assistance from Turkey and freelancing Wahhabi royals from the Gulf.