Nader Fergeny is both correct and inaccurate in his analysis of U.S. intervention in the Middle East, especially as it relates to Iraq. He claims that the Americans are the Mongols of the 21st century. While it is true that we are an outside invader that has taken control of the heart of the Middle East and ‘conquered’ Iraq’s capital of Baghdad. However, there are stark differences to these two invaders. The Mongols come to conquer the Middle East because of its vast wealth and position in the world as a crossroads between East and West. The cities in the region, namely Cairo and Baghdad, were presumably the most wealthy and influential of the time. Today this is not true by a long shot, these are not centers of world economy or policy even if they have large populations they eminence is but a shadow of the past. At this point some might argue that the wealth that we are after is access to the oil market but I would ask that person, is your gas any cheaper today that it was before the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan or the 2003 invasion of Iraq? Out interests and foreign policy in the region does include oil but we do not wish to take it as our own like colonizing powers in the past would have done. We have a threefold policy in the Middle East: 1- security of Israel 2- containment of radical Islamic Terrorism 3- access to oil. These goals have been largely unchanged for decades, only the substitution of containment of radical Islam for the containment of Communism is different.
Back to the Mongol comparison, the success of the Mongol invasion was based on their superior military tactics. Ok, checkmark for the US led invasion of the region; however, the method of achieving victory could not be more different. The Mongols attempted the wholesale slaughter of the Middle Eastern cities population and was largely successful in urban areas. The U.S. stands on high moral grounds in that we do not promote large scale civilian casualties. They do happen but when we are at fault the people responsible are held accountable. This does not happen in authoritarian regimes.