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Forget coalitions, focus on U.S. interests [Commentary]

As the Obama administration tries to recover from three years of naive ideological spin that Islamic radicals had been crushed, it is time to reassess what our world view should be.

After 1492, Europeans rushed to conquer the under developed world, seeking and extracting precious metals, spices and slaves for profit. By 1900, at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, England was the world's dominant colonial power, and the tiny island ruled 30 percent of the world's population.

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Protected by the world's most dominant navy the British profitably exchanged raw materials from the colonies for finished goods manufactured in England and received massive dividends from investments in countries outside the Empire.

The British army was never large and ruled with native forces. India was controlled by a local army of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs with British officers. T. E. Lawrence famously led an Arab army against the Ottomans in World War I. The Gurkas of Nepal fought with distinction under British officers for 165 years in Asia and Europe.

In 1920, following the British defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the British carved up the remains of the Middle East and with the French ally created Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine with the specific intent to protect oil supplies for the British fleet.

To control the oil fields of Kirkuk and Basrah, Iraq was a pseudo nation made up of Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs and Sunni Kurds that had been in conflict for 1,000 years. That conflict continued under Arab Sunni kings controlled by the British and then a series of strongmen after the last king was assassinated in 1958. There never was, is not now nor ever will be a democratically governed Iraq.

Unable to determine their own destiny, the Muslim Brotherhood was organized in 1928 in Egypt to drive the British out of the region. The Brotherhood has spawned organizations across the globe under a variety of names.

This growing Muslim movement is not a lunatic fringe that seeks to destroy our freedom but a rational, much more dangerous foe that has cleverly combined religion and nationalism to garner support from 1.5 billion believers worldwide.

All European colonialists were forced out of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America by 1965. The al-Qaida manifesto published in the 1990s states that their primary goal is to remove the last colonial power — the U.S. — from Muslim lands and bring down secular and apostate Muslim governments allied with the U.S.

Whether it is al-Qaida, ISIL, Khorasan or what will follow, our enemies are becoming more sophisticated militarily, politically and financially. They are focused on us, and it is time to forget about the facade of coalitions and only consider our national interest. To date, our actions have replaced stable autocratic regimes that were capable of handling Muslim radicals with chaos, radical Islamic leadership and Sharia law, with women's rights and religious minorities being crushed.

We are now engaged in an air assault on ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

But the air attacks are not working, and 200,000 people have fled Kobani for Turkey as ISIL and the Kurd peshmerga are engaged in street to street battles. The undermanned and undersupplied Kurds are fighting fiercely against a terrorist army with weapons which we supplied and the Iraqi army abandoned as they fled ISIL. This points out the need to take the Kurds as our only ally in the region, arm and train them, provide advisers, air cover and logistical support. Arab armies and nations are notorious for changing sides in the middle of a battle to be on the willing side. It is entirely possible that any Syrian rebels that we deem to be good will join ISIL to bring down Mr. Assad and then find themselves massacred after Mr. Assad is gone. We will then find that we have created in Syria a state similar to Afghanistan where the Taliban will return to power there when we are gone.

It's like wack-a-mole as ISIL has advanced in Anbar province. There are now 500,000 Iraqis fleeing from ISIL's advances in that province.

Totally oblivious of the chaos which we caused, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham continue to beat the drums for deposing Mr. Assad while the president dithers.

We are currently looking at conditions similar to those that lead to World War II as we face a growing Russia/China axis as well as the stateless Muslim enemy. And the president's inaction is reminiscent of Stalin's initial inability to respond to the German invasion of Russia in World War II.

We must develop the political will to overcome the fringe minority that is threatening our survival by garroting the nation with restrictive energy policies. We need to rapidly move toward energy independence with accelerated hydraulic fracturing and off shore drilling; increased imports of Canadian crude; increased coal production and a massive nuclear power construction program so that we can extract ourselves from Muslim lands and Muslim oil and concentrate on meeting the Russia-China challenge.

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Charles Campbell, a resident of Woodstock, is a retired senior vice president of Gulf Oil Corp. His email is lochawe@verizon.net.

To respond to this commentary, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

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