Dazed and Confused: Six decades of America in Arabia

Is America guilty for the Islamic Spring chaos? The short answer is: guilty, but with an explanation.


Critics of Obama, of which I am one, blame the president for the Arab Spring, the violent slow motion collapse of social and state order in the Middle East. Certainly he undermined the relatively stable regime of years-long loyal US supporter President Mubarak, then turned around and supported a Muslim Brotherhood regime for his new "democratic" Egypt. This act of folly followed the Bush precedent of overthrowing the stable if violent regime of the Iraqi leader, Sadam Hussein only to replace the Sunnis with a Shi’a government. And if Obama was as unaware of the anti-Western history of the Brotherhood (assassination of Sadat; roots of al-Quaeda, etc.) so also was Bush unaware the difference between Arab and Persian, Sunni and Shi'a. Are our presidents to be held responsible for knowing that Islam, like Christianity, is not a an internally homogeneous and peaceful religion but also contains schisms dating back a thousand years? Perhaps the “average American” may be excused such ignorance but our national leaders are entrusted to make life and death decisions regarding American interests and global responsibilities. Should we not expect, or at least hope, that the President of the United States, regardless of personal expertise and ideological bent have at least the necessary experts available to provide guidance in such matters? 

It is precisely this breakdown of information, from White House staff guiding ideology to America’s intelligence agencies supposedly countering ideology with real-time information that describes the tragedy of a United States policy that creates rather than controls crises as they unfold. If, as the National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 falsely assured President Bush that Iran had abandoned its bomb project three years earlier; had assured President Obama four years later in 2011 that the 2007 Estimate was still the best evaluation of Iranian intentions: If both White House "experts" and even the CIA et al kowtow the president, where does that leave "informed judgment"? 

The tragedy represented today by the Arab Spring is not dismissible to the current Chief Executive. It is rather the outcome of decades of arrogance and dogma-consistent policy I have described over the years as the America's Gospel of Democracy.


Examples abound.  In 1956, a decision based on his "experts" which he later admitted regretting, President Eisenhower sided with Egypt's Nasser and his Soviet backers against Britain, France and Israel setting off a nearly three decade contest by the superpowers for control of the Middle East. Twenty years later President Carter forced the Shah of Iran to step down leading to the rule of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Hostage Crisis and today's Islamic Republic threatening America's erstwhile and long-standing regional allies, including Israel. Twenty years later again enter George W. Bush and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Certainly not the most  reputable leader, Sadam Hussein was nonetheless the only roadblock to Iranian ambitions across the Gulf. And not yet a decade later President Obama ousted long time ally, Egypt's Mubarak. In each instance the US managed to replace allies varying  in commitment to "democratic values" with regimes openly hostile to America and her strategic interests and responsibilities. Each presidential intervention resulted yet another step towards the chaos of today's Islamic Spring.


Bi-partisan, self-defeating for American interests, and how many hundreds of thousands and more of "locals" victim to “collateral damage”? Libya a failed state; Iraq borderline; Egypt returned to Army rule with a vengeance and Syria dissolved into sectarian mini-fiefdoms.


And today, facing the shambles of decades of American "idealistic" platitudes substituting for core-interests realpolitik what is does the future hold for an Israeli "special relationship"? I expect any "superpower" inheriting the shambles of the American Century, in the immediate case the past and future aspirant, Russia, will certainly recognize the need for a politically stable, militarily-capable forward base in the region: Israel's role in American regional policy since the 1970's. 


As regards Israel weathering the storm and moving forward, until the dust settles and Russia steps in Israel's near-by Periphery Doctrine described previously provides Israel strategic depth in the confrontation with Bush/Obama-("created" is too strong a word) empowered Iran. A period of transition awaiting the arrival of the Russians (Putin made Israel one of his first official visits following his return to Russia's presidency), likely to be replaced a decade or so afteer by the dawn of the "Age of the East" and China's ascendancy. Over the past six decades Israel has been positioning herself to the China and the New World Order. Quietly, to be sure, so as not to raise too much ire in the West (the US has leaned heavily on Israel to not engage too closely with China, a relationship both Israel and China have sought since each gained independence in 1948 and 1949 respectively.

One last observation regarding Militant Islam. Headlines parrot the threat mouthed by Moslem Brothers off-shoots such as al-Quaeda and ISIL on the one hand, Iran on the other: Israel is the target. In the West's desire to hear only that which provides comfort the West fails to register the full warning: Islamist rage first target the immediate source of Arab embarrassment, defeat at the hands of Jews. The primary source of Islamist rage is Christian, not Jewish, the year 1096, not 1948. It is revenge for three centuries of Christian invasions called the Crusades.


The real wrong to be undone was not 1948 but 1096. It is the Christian Crusades and not the return of the Jews to Zion although certainly a symbol of impotence and failure. For the Islamist, the appeal Jihad attracting volunteers from the West is an Islam promising victory of the Ummah, of a unified and militant Islam over Christianity and Christendom.