In US politics, one of the few things that Republicans and Democrats are firmly united in, is the desirability of continued war in the Middle East. President George W. Bush initiated the combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, which continued unabated by President Barack Obama. Republicans of course are visibly upset at Obama's policies, but the alternatives they propose are basically more troops and perhaps shifting the commitment of troops from one zone to the next, but both parties support a Department of Defense Budget of some $500 billion dollars or more, much of which goes to protect our trillion dollar investment in the Middle East.
President Bush initiated the concept of "Regime Change" in Iraq, which basically states that the US has the right to overthrow foreign governments in order to improve them as a public service for the inhabitants. Thus the condition for victory is a stable, happy Iraqi populace with an internationally accepted government. This has so far not been achieved, necessitating further military commitments.
The Obama Administration, while critical of its predecessor, is nevertheless fully committed to maintaining and expanding the US military presence in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations who might be helped by the Regime Change policy.
Currently, there are some dozen serious candidates for the Republican nomination, and most are in the mode of trying to be more hawkish than the others. All agree that Obama was too soft on Middle Eastern extremists, and what is needed is a fresh jolt of funding and military action. According to the Washington Post, the total cost of military actions in the Middle East can be broadly estimated at four to six trillion dollars.
Probably the best known antiwar candidate is currently Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who believes that nation building is outside the Constitutional purview of the United States. He is probably right. However, most of America holds a very negative opinion of Senator Paul because of his ultrastrict views about the role of the government in America.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is also staunchly anti-war and opposes gargantuan spending on military defense expenditures. He is likewise held in low regard by most Americans, most of whom enjoy the affable manner and pro-war views of Secretary Clinton.
Are there only two candidates in US Presidential politics who oppose more wars in the Middle East? Sadly, this appears to be the case, although additional candidates may be added to the field and they will have a chance to weigh in on this issue.
Currently, the mainstream policy on war in the Middle East is difficult to follow. It's rather clear that the US is anti-Syria (President Assad), but also against the anti-Syrian movement led by ISIS. So, when we step up our military forces, who are we supporting? The anti-Syrian/anti-anti-Syrians of course. I don't know a single group or individual by name that belongs in this group, sadly. I doubt that you do either, dear reader.
Who are our friends? Who are we trying to help? What are our objectives? How will we know when we win? Those who ask such questions (that is, people like me) are currently regarded as fringe extremists and kooks without common sense, and maybe some of us are. But common sense says that we are not winning friends in the Middle East. Increased perpetual warfare may be comforting to the world psyche, but it is not promoting increased security and stability.
My prediction is that the American people may be slow to learn, but eventually we figure things out. These wars are wasteful and costly, and I don't care to lose my children to them. We need to give serious thought to candidates with the guts to debate this out in the open and to seriously advocate putting an end to the these wars. Those who advocate escalation and increased war spending will eventually be thrown out of power in both sides of the aisle. By 2016 this will be one of the most hotly debated issues in Presidential politics, and the candidate who is antiwar will probably WIN THE ELECTION.
It's common sense.
Americans believe that dropping more bombs and spending more trillions will bring stability to the region and eventually engender pro-American sentiment. Hence they have thus far avoided anti-war candidates like the plague. Americans thus far have lacked common sense.