So let me see if I have this straight. Even though there was zero evidence that Iraq was involved in the attacks of September 11, 2001 or that Al-Qaida had any operational presence in Iraq, the US invaded Iraq anyway. This resulted in nearly half a million dead Iraqi’s, close to a million Iraqi orphans and a death toll of US military personnel that more than doubled the carnage of September 11. The invasion was the light that brought on the moth-like focus of Al-Qaida to that region. Not content with that mess, the US unilaterally decided to depose Gadhafi, thereby creating a power vacuum in Libya that allowed Al-Qaida influenced forces to move in. The US then fomented instability in Syria by backing Al-Qaida linked rebels there in the hope that they might overthrow Assad. Now with the entire region destabilized, an Al-Qaida splinter group (ISIS – Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) managed to seize Mosul (Iraq’s second largest city) last week using money and equipment the US funneled to its destabilizing pawns in Libya and Syria. With the capture of Mosul they have further enriched their US equipment arsenal (left behind by the fleeing Iraqi army). This situation is so upside down that the US is actually receiving invitations from the Iranians for joint operations to battle ISIS in Iraq. Brilliant. How did we get here? For years the US supported a number of Middle Eastern dictators as long as they supported a Petrodollar based economy that ensured the free flow of cheap oil to the US. But when our pet dictators stopped behaving, the US tried to displace them with more malleable US-friendly social democracies. Unfortunately the exact opposite developed: US-hostile Islamic theocracies. They have a word for that: blowback.

Then again, US opposition to this shift in power (or the one presently underway in the Ukraine) is completely hypocritical. States may differ in ideology, but they all behave exactly the same. The current power shift merely exposes to public scrutiny the operations of the state normally hidden behind a wall of threats: violence by a select few who proclaim to speak for a majority in order that they may impose their will upon a wider population circumscribed by an arbitrary geopolitical boundary.

In fact nothing is really changing in any of these regions. The flags, slogans and draperies of the capital building may change, but the core violation of the right of the individual to live their life as they, and not others, see fit remains. So even though we may personally object to the precepts of Sharia law, are we objecting to the law itself, or are we objecting to its apparent imposition on the people? Would such objections evaporate if 51% of the people there desired Sharia law? Does majority opinion legitimize such laws? Before you answer that, consider this: ISIS is slowly fostering such communal consent via the oldest political trick in the book – bribery. ISIS is taking a page from the placate-the-people-playbook of modern social democracies. In both Syria and Iraq they have organized “dawa”, i.e. social welfare programs for the local populace (food, fuel, medicine) . And just as honeybees are calmed with smoke, so too are people calmed by the ephemeral gifts of those in power. ISIS is run not by warriors, but politicians with guns. Every politician knows that if you give the people something, they will give you their consent (vote) in return – in this case the price is not literal votes but implied consent to Sharia law. So, if you are for “freedom” and “democracy” and assuming you aren’t a total hypocrite then you should be ok with this extension of majoritarian communal consent. After all, democracy is nothing if not the concept that when some people freely make a choice, it is ok to impose that choice on everyone. But, if you realize democracy is the wool the state pulls over your eyes to fool you into believing you have control, then you will also recognize that majority opinion is as legitimate in determining how we should live our lives as a coin toss.