Attacking Iraq (twice) was a mistake, attacking Libya was a mistake and gave rise to IS, ISIL, Daesh, whatever you want to call the power hungry, heinous, murdering hordes that are rampaging in the Middle East and giving rise to deluded religious fanatics in Europe and elsewhere.
The US and UK are engaged in air strikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq in the US case and currently only in Iraq by the UK. The UK government is about to consider expanding strikes into Syria also. Another mistake? I think so. Attack by air can never defeat these thugs and more importantly thousands of innocent people will be killed in the process giving rise to even more hatred of the West and so becoming a recruiting sergeant for more terrorists. There is an argument that troops on the ground is the only way to defeat them but as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, you can defeat a nation and impose a new government under the guise of a flawed democracy but you cannot impose peace. Thousands of bombs have been dropped in the last year and yet ISIL is unmoved and the lack of western triumphalist videos and news reports rather make the case for me.
So if air strikes can’t ‘win’ and using western troops on the ground is politically unacceptable to the electorate, as is the case at present, what should the West do? This is always the question asked but never the question “Should we do anything?” We first have to accept the fact that the West is Capitalist and Capitalism cares nothing about the suffering of people and only has an interest in money. Having accepted that point we can move on and see that the death and destruction wreaked upon the Middle East was not to free a people from Saddam Hussein or the Taliban but to ensure reliable cheap oil supplies from Iraq and the hope of building an oil and gas pipeline across Afghanistan. The result as we can see has been utter chaos; we may be getting cheap oil by way of repayment of Iraqi debt (incurred by the war) but the pipeline is still too risky a project and ISIL has been born and is a bigger threat to Capitalist hopes than before.
As I said and history has shown, peace in the region cannot be forced by western arms so just suppose we pulled right out and indeed did nothing. Middle Eastern nations are awash with wealth and stocked to the skies with armaments, supplied by us of course. Leave them all to get on with it and maybe, just maybe, the two wings of Islam might cease their squabbling and co-operate against the common threat of ISIL and with the excuse of Western infidels removed it would focus their minds. We may have to cut down a little on oil imports which is no bad thing but the Arab need and greed for cash would ensure it kept flowing. In addition by removing ourselves as a perceived threat to the region and also to Islam we would vastly lower or remove the risk of terrorist attacks in our own cities. We would of course, be morally bound not to supply arms to any other nation and perhaps there is the rub. Arms sales equals deaths equals Capitalist profits.