Any cop will tell you that the most dangerous calls they respond to are seldom the robberies in progress, or the fist fights. The most dangerous calls, the ones where officers get hurt or killed, are domestic disputes. There's nothing quite as dangerous as trying to restore peace within an extended, dysfunctional family.
When one of those kind of families "goes off" it's Katie-bar-the-door time. No amount of trying to "make sense" with them works. Separating the arguing parties only provides time for both sides to rest up for the next round. And stepping in between them while the stuff is flying, is a near-certain ticket to the emergency room.
That pretty much sums up the state of the Middle East's Muslim majority "family." If you thought Christianity comes in a lot of different flavors, take a gander at the splintered nature of Islam. (See this chart)
Like any large dysfunctional family, the only folks they dislike and distrust more than one another, is anyone outside the family who tries mediate disputes. Then they get along, at least until the fool-cum-peacekeeper is sent packing.
This is not a new piece of information about the sensibilities of Islamic people. By the time the 19th century was ending, the British had more than a little experience trying to an imperialist in places like Afghanistan and Iraq and Egypt. The lesson they learned was best summed up by R. Kipling:
Now it is not good for the Christian's health
To hustle the Aryan brown,
For the Christian riles and the Aryan smiles,
And it weareth the Christian down.
And the end of the fight a tombstone white
With the name of the late deceased And the epitaph drear:
A fool lies here who tried to hustle the East"
A century later the US decided to waste a couple of trillion bucks and thousands of lives to learn that lesson all over again. Thank you George W. Bush and your neocon friends. And thank you Barack Obama for being too timid to do the right thing right when you entered office.
Now, let's get the hell out of there. And this time stay the hell out. Let the fools on the right who think they can teach fundamentalist Muslims "a lesson they won't forget," that they are the ones who forgot. Muslims never forget. And they have their own version of events, past, current and imagined, to freshen their memories.
So, what's the solution to the "troubles" that seem to continuously sweep the Muslim family neighborhoods? Time - and lots of it. Remember that old wine add that promised, "No wine before its time?" Same goes for democracy. You can't force a good wine, and you can't force a durable democracy.
Instead of sending troops and money and "stuff" to these restive Muslim lands, we need to send them what the need most -- time. Time to discover that their outdated religious beliefs are just that, outdated. Time to fully experience the ramifications of that fact, unbuffered by outside resources that only allow the dysfunctional status quo to limp along for another generation or two.
To put it simply, give them all the time they need to stew in their own, and very own, juices. No more imported cooks stirring the pot and adding foreign ingredients failed Muslim leaders and clerics later blame for their every tummy ache. Give them all the time they need to simmer in the ancient religious and cultural nonsense that has already left them a thousand years behind.
Ah, but our neocons will warn that all that will do is provide bases for terrorists.
Well, duh. All the neocons accomplished with their policies has been to make life more convenient for Islamic terrorists, by importing western targets for them, providing the convenience of being able to them to shoot and blow up right outside their mud huts. No flights to New York required.
Just leave the world's dysfunctional Islamic family alone. Force them to live with each other, and only each other, until they can play nice with others. Give them all the time they need to try out Sharia law and to see how continuing to suppress half their populations -- women -- works out in the modern world.
Containment. No technology transfers from the developed world, No World Bank loans, no most favored trade status. Shut them out and shut them in. House arrest. Looked up with fellow Muslims until they figure it out. All that should be offered is an open invitation to join the 21st century. Other than that, nada.
Simplistic? Well, maybe. Or maybe it's just obvious. Because, lord knows, we've tried it the other way; the bombs, the cruise missiles, the drones, the boots on the ground. And look where it's gotten us.