As the American media drones on about the primary defeat of a Virginia congressman, the lights may be going out around the Middle East.
A wound that started erupting in Syria has now brought infection to neighboring Iraq. The Islamic State of the Levant and Iraq (ISIS) has expanded its reach into many of Iraq's western provinces and the second city of Mosul. Its forces now have started moving towards the central government in Baghdad.
Some see this as a historical correction. From the Roman Empire through the Ottoman period to the League of Nations mandates, boundaries in the Middle East reflected the priorities of other states. Turkey and Israel alone relate to ethnic and historical boundaries.
ISIS militants, however, have imposed the most severe forms of Islamic law with the most violent measures. Hundreds have been brutally killed, including many beheadings. Hundreds of thousands have fled rule by terror.
At stake is the government of Iraq. The Iraq War left the nation in a fragile infancy as a democracy. Millions defied terrorists to dip their fingers in purple ink and vote. American forces remained available as part of a status of forces agreement that would allow the US military to help defend the democratic government when necessary.
Unfortunately, Obama has neglected the victory that American troops (agree or disagree) fought to achieve. He failed to reach a status of forces agreement with Iraq and painted it as his own success.
Well over a century ago, British controlled Egypt governed the Sudan. Egypt employed General Charles George Gordon to help defend their position in Sudan.
Britain had offended Sudanese Muslims, not with imperialistic greed, but their demand that the slave trade end. A charismatic leader, Muhammad Ahmad, emerged to give a religious cloak to discontent over the end of the slave trade, among other things.
Ahmad took on the name "Mahdi" which is something like a messiah. The Mahdi does not restore earthly or heavenly kingdoms, but sweeps through the land killing anything in his path.
The Mahdi annihilated those who would not join. He slaughtered almost all of the city of Khartoum, not just General Gordon and his Egyptian soldiers. Eventually he died at the hands of a British force under Lord Kitchener, sent too late to save Gordon and Egyptian allied troops.
The Mahdi of the 1880s and ISIS of today do not bring historical corrections. They bring only death and suffering. They do not debate the morality of saving other nations from dictators. They torture and destroy.
What has happened while Obama plays golf games and promotes Democratic candidates to high school students is the worst case scenario. A terrifying warlord has gained influence and momentum and could upset the entire political structure of the Middle East. We can turn on all the coal mines and oil and gas taps possible and do very comfortably without the resources of that part of the world. But millions could die and an entire region could lapse into anarchy, a dangerous proposition in the nuclear age.
One could not imagine a worse scenario in which to have a presidential disaster.