Rather than letting rabid militant Islamists slaughter each other to oblivion, the West keeps choosing sides and getting itself entangled in the internecine quagmire that is the Middle East. A policy of “live and let die” which would allow for the mutually-assured decimation of the fractious factions of these nether-lands would have had numerous advantages:
1. Weakened by the attritive infighting, whichever the winner is, it would be compelled to collaborate with the West in order to survive. There is no substitute to the depth, innovativeness, and stability of the West’s capital, its markets, and its technology;
2. The West would have conserved its resources while its ostensible and professed adversaries bled themselves to literal death;
3. The neutrality of the West would have preserved its powerful and lucrative position as an arbiter and mediator of last resort;
4. The denizens of the West would be spared the onslaught of all-pervasive terrorism that they are now forced to endure.
Islamist murderous and obscurantist thugs are not the first to benefit from the West’s curious habit of siding with one deranged assassin against another. Consider Hitler, for example.
Hitler and Nazism are often portrayed as an apocalyptic and seismic break with European history. Yet the truth is that they were the culmination and reification of European (and American) history in the 19th century. Europe's (and the United States') annals of colonialism have prepared it for the range of phenomena associated with the Nazi regime: from industrial-scale murder to racial theories, from slave labour to the forcible annexation of territory.
Germany was a colonial power no different to murderous Belgium or Britain or the United States. What set it apart is that it directed its colonial attentions at the heartland of Europe - rather than at Africa or Asia or Latin and Central America. Both World Wars were colonial wars fought on European soil.
Moreover, Nazi Germany innovated by applying prevailing racial theories (usually reserved to non-whites) to the white race itself. It started with the Jews - a non-controversial proposition - but then expanded them to include "east European" whites, such as the Poles and the Russians.
Still, Hitler was right to have been shocked by the failure of his wager: that the British Empire will side with him against the equally murderous Bolshevik Stalin. Hitler and Stalin were two of a kind: mass murderers, bent on an expansionist-imperialist agenda, promoters of ideologies that placed the state way ahead of individual life and freedoms. It made eminent sense for the Western powers to leverage Germany to get rid of Communism and prevent the rise of a lamentable and vile Stalinist Empire at the very heart of Europe. The peoples of Central and Eastern Europe have paid with four lost decades for the West's erroneous choice of Stalin over Hitler. In hindsight, allowing Hitler and Stalin to decimate each other would have been far preferable.
Even more so since Germany was not alone in its malignant nationalism. The far right in France was as pernicious. Nazism - and Fascism - were world ideologies, adopted enthusiastically in places as diverse as Iraq, Egypt, Norway, Latin America, and Britain. At the end of the 1930's, liberal capitalism, communism, and fascism (and its mutations) were locked in mortal battle of ideologies. Hitler's mistake was to delusionally believe in the affinity between capitalism and Nazism - an affinity enhanced, to his mind, by Germany's corporatism and by the existence of a common enemy: global communism.