It was the agreement that had a profound impact on the politics of the Middle East for a century. It was also the agreement that sank my World Cultures test last year.
The 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement drew a line right through the heart of the Middle East, creating nation-states without historical backgrounds. For the last century, British, French and now American troops have fought tooth and nail to keep the status quo.
But why should they keep fighting?
Iraq is, for the lack of gentler words, a failed state. Its borders can no longer be clearly defined; its military, after receiving hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. aid, has collapsed; and besides the capital Baghdad and the oil fields in the south, the country is practically carved up into an apple pie between the Kurds, ISIS and whatever pockets of resistance are left.
For the last decade, America has poured its blood and treasure into this region of the world.
Growing up a millennial, I’m afraid, has made me a cynical, distrusting young gun. I watched as President Bush went into countries with a clearly delineated path, but got wrapped up trying to solve a billion different problems.
I watched as President Obama got us out of two wars. I also watched as he led us back into those same countries, now under the banner of “small targeted attacks.”
Isn’t it time that we recall our troops and focus on improving our own country?
Every Thanksgiving I participate in the Run to Feed the Hungry, an event to raise money for the Sacramento Food Bank.
It is truly sad that after all these years the Food Bank still has to run the event. Why? Because it would only cost $30 billion to end world hunger and the two wars have run well in excess of 2 trillion.
Likewise, our infrastructure is falling apart. Spending this past summer in Hong Kong gave me a new appreciation for not only state-of-the-art but also well maintained pieces of public infrastructure.
America is supposed to be a bastion of progress and success, a guiding light for the rest of the world. But in Sacramento, our roads are pot-holed, our bridges have crumbled and we don’t have a high-speed rail network.
Why do we plow trillions into Iraq and Afghanistan or whatever country is next while we ourselves aren’t secure?
The President might be worried about how ISIS will take over Northern Iraq. I’m more worried that the Howe Avenue bridge might collapse one day as I drive to school.
Would it be impossible for us to just get out and stay out for once?