I know what you are thinking just from the title; absolutely not. And on its face, this seems like a rather silly question, but recent history warrants a rethink on this paradigm. More specifically, the U.S. interventions in the Middle East require a fresh look, and with the authoritative Assad regime of Syria in the cross hairs, we must ask who would succeed Assad if he was removed from power.
Recent history hasn’t been kind to the U.S. with regards to state sponsored regime change though. Let’s take a peak at some of the recent interventions.
In 2003, U.S. troops, under the authority of the Bush Administration, invaded Iraq which led to the successful removal of notorious dictator Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately, the country has been a war torn land since his removal due to poor, or probably the complete lack of, planning which led to constant violence among competing factions and ultimately led to ISIS controlling large swathes of land into 2017.
Fast forward to 2011 and Libya. On the back of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s judgment, the Obama administration backed forces opposed to Muammar el-Gaddafi’s administration which led to the successful overthrow of the Libyan government. In the wake of Gaddafi’s removal, the country became, and still remains, a war torn land, much like Iraq, that currently acts as a terrorist hotbed for numerous organizations, like ISIS.
The problem facing both countries is the predictable, yet inexplicably overlooked, power vacuum created by the legal leader of a country being displaced. Opponents of the power vacuum theory will point out that a government was set up in place of the ousted administration, but a puppet government set up by a foreign nation has about as much authority as Nixon post Watergate. Naturally, militia and terrorist groups native to the countries did not respect the authority of the foreign backed governments, and cue the military confrontations aimed at taking control of the country.
In reality, this shouldn’t be a revolutionary concept to Americans. This country went, and is still going, crazy over the thought that Russia may have interfered with the presidential election, but when America instigates a government overthrow in another country, no one bats an eye.
Now, the power vacuum dilemma that plagued the American interventions in Iraq and Libya faces the Trump Administration in Syria. With both of Trump’s Democrat and Republican predecessors fumbling their Middle Eastern interventions, a more pragmatic and cautious decision would likely benefit the country more than the previous disasters. The country, and world, can ill afford another Middle Eastern country falling into chaos and becoming a terrorist haven.