Argument: Arming rebels has led to long-lasting instability


Roger Cohen. “Arabs will be free.” New York Times. March 28, 2011: “The most common outcome of U.S.-funded rebellions has been to create instability and violence that, whether in the form of intractable insurgencies or low-level sectarian fighting, tends to last far longer than whatever political conflict they were meant to resolve. The flood of arms — particularly the easy-to-use, impossible-to-destroy, grimly effective Kalashnikov rifle variants — make weapons so prolific and so cheap that terrorism, criminal gangs better armed than the police, and militias of every political and religious stripe are all but impossible to stamp out.By the time that CIA funding dries up, young men who have made their living for years fighting on the American dime have no other way to support their family than killing for hire. Wealthy, extremist sheikhs and would-be sheikhs on the Arabian Peninsula are always happy to write checks in pursuit of their Islamist dreams, as they have done in support of Afghan and Pakistani militants for decades. Violence begets violence, instability begets instability, and the U.S. tactic of arming rebels has been incredibly successful at fomenting both, but has done little to end either, often creating problems far outsizing those we originally meant to solve.”