To assert that the United States has been poisoning the Middle East for decades might sound like too strong language to the ears of many Americans. Yet what kind of effect can we expect from the long-standing practice of supporting rulers who habitually torture their own people, other than a poisonous effect?
Much as we can celebrate the Egyptian revolution as an expression of the universal human desire for freedom, it is also the beginning of a process through which Egypt must detoxify itself.
The Obama administration still clings to the phrase orderly transition as though the process of change on which Egypt is just embarking might be as seamless as the changeless change which saw George W Bush’s departure from and Barack Obama’s arrival into the White House.
Real change is more disruptive. It can’t be stage-managed by Hosni Mubarak or his deputies.
Graham Fuller writes:
It had to come. Where, when, and how exactly one of many smoldering sparks in this agonized region might actually burst forth into the present conflagration was unknowable, but tension and anger was palpably rising over a long period.
Where all these uprisings across the region will go is still unknowable, but one thing is clear – the imperative to break the long and ugly pattern of harsh, incompetent, and corrupt rule that sucks optimism, hope, and creativity out of these societies and made them breeding grounds for radicalism.
What the people of the region demand is to be able to take control of their own lives and destinies. But that in turn depends on an end to the constant external intervention of the United States in the region.
In the near term, the prescription is stark – Washington must back off and leave these societies alone, ending the long political infantilization of Middle Eastern populations. We must end our incessant and obsessive efforts to intervene and micromanage the political life of foreign states based on a myopic vision of “American interests.”
Today the Middle East is the last redoubt in the world of regimes bought, maintained, and guided by Washington. Is it any wonder that this region is now the cauldron of numerous rebellions and anti-American expression?
And just why are we maintaining this damaging, hated quasi-imperial role in the Middle East? Is it for the oil? Yet what tin-pot dictator has ever refused us oil? Furthermore, we don’t even rely that much on Middle East oil – Saudi Arabia ranks only number three among our top five providers: Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Nigeria.
Or is it perhaps all about Israel? Yet why should that state constitute the seeming touchstone of everything that we do in the region? After all, Israel is overwhelmingly the most powerful military state in the Middle East, acts at will in the Middle East under the protection of American veto, manipulates our own domestic politics in its favor, and is now run by the most inflexible and ultra-right-wing government in Israeli history, while soaking up more American foreign aid per capita than any other state. The US still backs Israel against the Palestinians in an Israeli occupation now into its fifth decade.