So why did they go after Saddam.
1. American's new him. After being the bogeyman for so long it was easy to sell.
2. Al Qaeda were forged in the Middle East, their strength at influencing Muslims in the western world comes from the Middle East. So if the Middle East could be stabilised they would lose their strength. (That backfired didn't it).
3. Democracy is good.
Oil can be split into two reasons that are probably equally valid. 1. The US wanted a stable supply of oil and 2. Oil is so critical to the world that it needs to be in stable hands.
And thus we had the Iraq war and it failed due to bad planning and joined up thinking. But the idea a foreign power can not overthrow a dangerous leader is not I think totally without merit.
Take Zimbabwe. There is no way that it can be argued that Mugabe is not in need of being put out of power. The country is in a mess. He is a dictator.
One of the problems of going into an African country is much the same as going into an Arab country. We are not African. I don't think it is a race issue per say. For instance if Barac Obama were to be the US president to go into Zimbabwe I don't think it would matter. The fact is the West were the colonisers of Africa and in many ways we caused all this trouble. So the sight of a few Western troops is not going to result in flowers been thrown. What is needed is African co-operation especially from the likes of South Africa and indeed Botswana a country that has shown what Africa can do when stable.
Zimbabwe has this potential it has the people and it has as Jared Diamond would point out the weather to prosper. But South Africa seems to be reluctant to act. They would have the power to force open elections. But refuse to use this power. Why? Possibly the reason is that they don't want to act against another African country I don't know. But we should encourage them to. If the Southern tip of Africa can come an economic powerhouse on the continent then maybe democracy can spread up.
Another idea can be borrowed from the EU. The reason the EU is so great is that is demands changes before joining. I.E once you reform you are rewarded. This should also happen in Africa. With state aid and debt cancellation be given as a reward for introducing democratic reforms and transparency in government. Without these it is impossible for a country to prosper.
With the world racing towards Nuclear energy the world's supplies are not going to last. So knew supplies are going to be needed. These are likely to be in Africa, China and Russia. Which unlike the current supply countries like Australia are not stable. Look at the influence the Middle East has on the world due to oil. Where corrupt dictatorships in countries like Saudi Arabia control the supply. If we are going to go down the ludicrous Nuclear world. It would be better to be dealing with stable countries who will act in the people's best interests not the despots best interests.
The way to do that is spread democracy in Africa now. Where when the Uranium peak hits and we start relying on these countries they are stable countries like Botswana not regime's like Zimbabwe.
So the question is do we in the west have the duty along with giving aid to these countries but also to give government back to the people in these countries. Is it our place to do it? Do we have a moral right to do it. And can the west do anything selflessly. Iraq and the middle east effected the west through oil and terror and we acted. Do we wait another 50 years when it is in our financial interest to do something about Africa to act?