Americans are routinely accused of lacking strategic patience. We want our wars finished by the next major holiday or certainly by the next election. Given that mindset, we’re forced to subsist on current events for encouragement – e.g., al-Zarqawi’s death rescues us from the chilling revelations surrounding the Haditha killings.
But if you subscribe to the Long War, you look for trends and not individual events to drive your strategic calculations.
Gen. John Abizaid, current CENTCOM commander, calls Iraq the first war of globalization. Ultimately, we’re trying to connect the Middle East to the global economy on the basis of something besides oil, turning all those idle young males into stakeholders instead of bomb-throwers. Meanwhile, the radical Salafi jihadists seek to disconnect the region from what they see as the corrupting – and growing – influence of globalization.
Here’s the good news: Time is on our side.