A nation that is having a civil war , is no longer in a position to maintain external conflicts with any real expectation of winning . Putin understands this well , and why Russia lost WW1 . THe Soviet Union was in Afghanistan for a long time , they failed , and it turned out to be the straw that broke the camels back , and they collapsed . We are not doing any better , and its draining us just as bad . Trump is right , when he said that everybody that goes into that part of the world gets bogged down . I think the Romans had the better idea , and that did not change until the civil war with Antony/ Cleopatra . then it was officially taken over as a Roman Provence . Before that , Egypt was the bread basket of the ancient world , and was an independent , self ruling nation . The Romans had control of it , not by direct occupation , but by the THREAT of military force . Worked out well , Rome got its grain at a cheap price , and Egyptian rulers were able to keep their crowns . THey were free to do what they wished ………except piss off Rome . And if you look at it , the middle east was manageable for quite awhile , until external powers started getting directly involved by physically going over there . Even with the creation of Israel , it was still manageable , because outsider armies were not on their soil . Sure , either the US or the Soviets , sold them arms , but neither tried to occupy , when that changed , you see the mess we have today .