Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Misunderstandings on America and the Middle East

Conspiracy theorists associate everything bad in the Middle East with America’s ambition. But their viewpoints are dubious. I would like to correct these misunderstandings.

1. The United States had a honeymoon period with Saddam Hussein in the past.

Absolutely not.

During the Iran-Iraq War, the Reagan administration tried to use Iraq a buffer against the theocratic regime in Iran. However, it was very cautious. Baathist ideology is a combination of radical pan-Arab nationalism and socialism. This is hardly acceptable to the United States.
During the Cold War, Saddam Hussein was one of the most pro-Soviet leaders in the Arab world. The Iraqi forces in those days were armed with Soviet and French made weapons. It was Valéry Giscard d’Estaing who aided Iraq build a nuclear power plant, even though Saddam Hussein was suspected of his ambition to make a nuclear bomb.

2. Everything bad in the Middle East results from the Palestine problem.

Completely wrong.

Most of the problems are rooted in the Arabs themselves. Arab states fight against Arab states. Iraq invaded Kuwait, and Syria invaded Lebanon. Also, Arabs have clashes between modernization and tradition. Ethnic minorities, like Kurds, Barbers, and Turkmen are severely oppressed. These troubles are not related to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Read the article “A World without Israel” by Joseph Joffe in Foreign Policy in January 2005. It is utterly wrong to blame America and Israel. You will understand it very well.

3. The United States should not have sponsored Afghan guerrillas. They caused the 9-11.

No way.

It is ridiculous. The United States should have allowed the Soviets to expand their influence throughout the Persian Gulf area and the Indian subcontinent? It is true that Islamic radicals have become the most serious threat to the United States and Free World. However, I have to remind you that the rise of such radicals dates from the Iranian Revolution. The Carter administration was excessively dovish against Shiite riots. Saddam Hussein would have never invaded an Iran, under the Pahlavi dynasty or pro-Western strong man. The loss of Iran has been critical to the Middle East security. People hardly criticize such a wimp foreign policy, although Islamic fundamentalists have been one of the most serious threats since then.

4. Middle East democracy is a plot driven by Bush, neocons, Jewish lobby, and oil industries, in order to maximize their business interest.

Are you kidding?

Whether liberal or conservative, it is American national interest to spread a stable democracy throughout the Middle East. Their disagreements lie only in the method to achieve this goal. The Iraqi National Congress, lead by Ahmad Chalabi, has been sponsored by the United States since the Clinton era. Moreover, non-partisan and liberal think tanks have been engaged in numerous researches on Middle East democratization.
It is America’s national project, and completely off the point to denounce Bush, neocons, Jewish lobby, and oil business.

Left-wingers and conspiracy theorists distort the public opinion. We need to have a balanced viewpoint.