Bringing Isolationism Back to America.
This article delves into the reasons for the US's passivity in the ISIS ground war. It describes the commencement of an Iraqi offensive to recapture the city of Tikrit. One of the biggest supporters of the Iraqi army is Iran, which is putting the United States in a tough spot. The Shia militias, backed by Iran, have a reputation of violence against Sunni civilians, and the United States want nothing to do with them. Also, it's in the United States' best interests to protect Sunnis because of our alliance with Saudi Arabia. However, the US should be slightly worried about the dominant regional role that Iran is taking.
This article is a summary of the awkward nature of the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. Essentially, we provide Saudi Arabia with protection, and they give us oil. But it's not all that simple though. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, ruled by sharia law. It has a laundry list of human rights allegations against women, religious minorities, and political opposition. These aren't things the US usually lets fly. The Saudis also have supported other dictatorships like Mubarak's Egypt and others. With a boom in oil production in the US, the relationship has been called into question. Some experts have reported that in 5 years, 80% of our oil will come from this hemisphere, and by 2035 we may be self-sufficient. However, other scholars seem to think our oil production will level off by 2020.
This is a description of the 1970s oil crisis, when the OPEC cut off trade with many Western countries, including the United States. The result was a major fuel crisis. The OPEC didn't approve of the United States role in the Yom Kippur war, and punished us with a trade embargo. The result was that the price of oil quadrupled by 1974, and soared even higher with the Iranian strike in '79. There were huge gas lines, and Nixon requested that gas retailers take the weekends off in order to reduce demand. The US economy took a huge hit from this crisis, and this is what we risk if we were to break off relations with Saudi Arabia.
Another source touching on the awkward nature of the US's relations with Saudi Arabia. Along with the same grievances as the first Saudi article, this one cites a few other unique differences for our countries. One of the big reasons Al-Qaeda doesn't like us is our friendship with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are also against Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, because it fears losing geopolitical power to Iran. The Saudis intervened a pro-democracy uprising in Bahrain in order to save its Sunni minority king. They also are against the Muslim Brotherhood, who the US sees as a step in the right direction in Egypt. The Saudis also were in favor of a full-scale invasion of Syria to take down Assad, while Obama took a more conservative approach.
This is an article in favor of Obama's "goldilocks" approach to ISIS (not too hot, not too cold). Essentially, ISIS can't directly hurt us. It is actively trying to pull us into its fight. ISIS wants us to come in with full force. Obama won't do that. He can't let the 4,000 some troops that died in Iraq die in vain. If we go back, it was all for nothing. But don't let this fool you, the United States has conducted 81% of the air strikes against ISIS. We aren't letting ISIS off the hook by any measure, but maybe its time we let the Middle East police itself, or at least take on the majority of the policing.