Andrew Bacevich describes the three phases
of post 9/11 US policy towards the Muslim world with some interesting commentary. Here are the three phases with commentary of my own:
1. Shock and Awe. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Iraq was the real target, and was to be the springboard, both financial and logistical, for full domination of the oil regions. 'Masterminded' by Cheney and Rumsfeld, it had failed by 2006, leading to Rumsfeld's departure and Cheney's marginalization.
2. COIN. Petraeus and his surges in both Iraq and Afghanistan paid lip service to victory, but it depended on playing up sectarian divisions, hardly the basis for a stable client state. In Iraq the Shiites were able to secure the capital, keep the Sunnis at bay and force the US to leave. Afghanistan is ticking down to the end. A central government that controls most of the country will only be possible with the Taliban accommodated or triumphant.
3. Assassination. President Drone's shift to remote controlled murder lacks any clear goal, declared or undeclared. Since only failed or failing states such as Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen can tolerate such actions, failed and failing states are necessary. Libya and Syria have now joined there ranks. What the eventual results can be other than growing chaos, and how that can benefit anyone but arms manufacturers and Obama's domestic political considerations, is a question that is unanswered, and probably unanswerable.