The U.S. has been invading and occupying Afghanistan in a continuous war for 14 years now. To put that in context, World War 2, a war in which we fought several superpowers that actually attacked us, lasted under six years. And we not only defeated those superpowers, but brought most of them into our fold.
In contrast, Afghanistan looks about as stable as a Jenga game on a skateboard rolling down hill. We supposedly "out" of Iraq, except for a military base that's larger than the Vatican and several other military bases. Most of these bases are, of course, to keep an eye on Iran, while we're also mucking around in Yemen, Libya and Egypt.
The reasons involve a complicated series of alliances. Israel, our number one client state, pulls strings via AIPAC, the second most powerful lobby in Washington. Not to be outdone are the Saudis and Qataris who, awash with billions and oil, continue to exercise undue influence. The U.S. uses its muscle to throw its weight around the Middle East and in return we get reasonably priced oil, which the Saudis only sell for U.S. dollars. In this way, every country in the world is forced to exchange for our currency.
It's an unsustainable model that's showing signs of falling apart. On the upside, U.S./Israeli relations are coming apart since the Iran deal. With the U.S. making decisions that benefit the U.S. instead of Israel, we might finally stop taking the heat for all the horror the IDF rains down on Gaza. Maybe, just maybe, the Israelis might be forced to sign a peace accord where they actually stop shelling civilians and stealing their land.
Unfortunately, almost every presidential candidate to a man (or woman) wants to undo the Iran deal. They prefer this complex status quo because it gives them and their politically connected friends the illusion of control. But the truth is, this model is unsustainable.
The U.S. dollar is backed by nothing and the constant printing of said dollars is eventually going to break our currency. In the meantime, we're spending faster than we can even print the money. As the debt piles up, each successive administration passes the buck to the next one. But somewhere along this buck passing train, there is an ending.
The ending is Iran or the beginning, depending on how you look at it. If the Iran Deal holds and the relationship between our two countries thaws, Iran's oil might become available to us. This would give us a bargaining chip against the Saudis should they balk at our current deal, not to mention drive down the price of oil.
Unfortunately, the more likely scenario is that the next president (say a Hillary Rodham Clinton or a Mark Rubio) will immediately put the breaks on the deal or find a way to scuttle it. Sanctions would return and shortly thereafter, the Israelis and Saudis push us into another Middle East quagmire in Iran. But unlike our previous two adversaries, Iran has the capacity to fight back.
The end result is the mining of the Straight of Hormuz where 20% of the world's oil flows. That area becomes to dangerous for oil transport. Gas shoots to $5, maybe $10 a gallon in the U.S. where the fragile economy, already reeling from devalued currency, corruption, corporate cronyism and a huge tax burden, crashes.
That's when we get out of the Middle East. When we're broke.