Enough with removing a despotic leader then hoping that the people choose democracy *and* elect a good government. Enough with trying to figure out which set of insurgents to arm to fight against some other force, then hope they don’t turn those weapons on us. Enough with training and arming troops of a nascent country only to watch them drop their weapons and run at the first sign of trouble. Enough with trying to achieve some kind of balance of power by either stabilizing everyone, or destabilizing everyone in the region. Enough with nation building. It’s time for colony building.
It’s time to send in the army and establish American Arabia. We take over Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and part of Pakistan. The other countries can stay as they are - as long as they mind their own business. Then we redraw the borders any way we feel like. For example, Lebanon is too small to bother with, so we glue that onto Syria. Iran is too big, so let’s cut it in two. We will want to join the part of Pakistan that we take onto Afghanistan. After all, that border has always been a pain in the ass.
We'll need some old white guys to be colonial governors. The whiter the better. Guys who know how to crack the whip while appearing genteel. We're also gonna need some really good names for our new colonies. Since we’re splitting Iran in two, we’ll call one part "Persia" for old time’s sake. The other part will be dubbed “Siam.” It’s a cool name and the Thais aren’t using it anymore. It will confuse some Siamese cat owners, but hey, we’ve got bigger fish to fry. Let’s call the Lebanon-Syria region "New Virginia." Meanwhile everyone knows that "Iraq" is just a terrible name. We'll call it "Anwar.” That way we can drill for oil in Anwar without messing up the Arctic. It’s also a nod to Anwar Sadat - that'll be nice. Lastly there’s the combined Afghanistan/Pakistan. That colony will be known simply as “Stan.” They really don’t deserve any more letters than that.
Then we get the population working again - drilling for oil in our newly acquired oil fields. We sell the oil and use the money to rebuild the infrastructure of the colonies (and, of course, lavish estates for ourselves.) The locals will be too busy working to have any time for insurgency or killing each other over trivial religious differences.
I really don’t understand why I didn’t think of this years ago. I guess I am bit slow.