Thursday, September 11, 2003

Why do the people of the Middle East hate the United States so much? From a very wise article by William O. Beeman:

All of the confrontations between the United States and the Middle East - ranging from the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis and the current tragedy - arise from a single source. This is the heritage of difficult relations between European colonial powers, with whom the United States is inextricably linked, and the Middle East."


"Throughout this period the nations of the Middle East were treated largely as war prizes to be divided and manipulated for the good of the militarily powerful Europeans. Every current nation in the Mediterranean-Mesopotamian region was created by the British and the French without consent or consultation on the part of the residents. This increased the resentment of the fundamentalists against the West and against the rulers installed by Westerners.

After World War II, the Cold War conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union for influence in the region dominated politics. Governments such as those of Egypt, the Sudan, Iraq and Syria were constantly pressed to choose between East and West. The choice was often prompted by 'gifts' of military support to sitting rulers. With ready sources of money and guns in either Washington or Moscow, secular rulers could easily oppress the religious fundamentalists who opposed them. This added still further to the anger of the religious reformers."


"The United States became the sole representative of the West after 1972, when Great Britain, poor and humbled, could no longer afford to maintain a full military force in the region. The United States, anxious to protect oil supplies from the Soviet Union, propped up the Shah of Iran and the Saudi Arabian government in the ill-fated 'Twin Pillars' strategy. This ended with the Iranian revolution, leaving the United States with a messy patchwork of military and political detritus. Anxious about Iran, the United States propped up Saddam Hussein. Anxious about Soviet incursions into Afghanistan, it propped up the Taliban. These two monstrous forces are very much an American creation.

To make things worse, when America finally had to confront its former client, Iraq, in the Gulf War, they established a U.S. military base on Saudi Arabian soil, considered sacred by pious Muslims. Saudi officials had been resisting this move for years, knowing that it would be politically dangerous both for them and for the United States. This action was the basis for Osama bin Laden’s opposition to America.

All of this meddling only confirms the century-old assertion that the West was out to rob the people of the Middle East of their prerogatives and patrimony."

On the other hand, we've heard a whole line of crap from the American orientalists proposing the most absurd ideas about why people in the Middle East hate America:

  • they hate democracy;

  • they are all 'Islamo-fascists';

  • they envy the American 'way of life';

  • they fear the American success makes their lack of success look bad;

  • they wish to establish a world-wide Islamic theocracy;

  • they have a child-like naivete about the world, which means they mistakenly blame the United States for their own shortcomings and aren't capable of living in the modern world of industry, technology and democracy (we're seen this in the new neocon insistence, after justifying the attack on Iraq on the basis that it would restore democracy to Iraq, that the Iraqis aren't capable of understanding democracy, and should be given a benign pro-American dictator!); and

  • they have been brainwashed by their nutty religious leaders.

The real answer is much simpler. The average person in the Middle East lives under a corrupt dictator who takes a large part of the wealth of his or her country for himself and his friends, and lets the Americans take the rest for themselves. This wealth, in the form of cheap oil, is the entire reason for the success of the American 'way of life'. The corrupt rulers are in place because the British or the French or the Americans put them there, and the Americans are the power which now ensures they stay in place. Not only do the people in the Middle East not hate democracy: they correctly perceive that they don't have democracy because of the actions of the United States. If they had democracy, a democratic government would probably nationalize the oil fields, thus demanding a fair price for their country's resources. People are fully aware of the example of 1953 Iran, where a democratic government was replaced by the CIA because it nationalized the oil fields. They can see how Saddam himself was installed with American help to serve as a servant to American interests, and was replaced only because he stopped doing what the Americans wanted. They can see utterly vile and corrupt governments in places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, propped up with American military assistance. And, of course, they can see Israel and its continuing murder of the Palestinian people, all enabled with American money. No amount of American propaganda is going to change the fact that the United States is responsible for the existence of the most unsavory bunch of dictators in the world, which it manipulates to steal the resources of the Middle East in order to serve as the basis for its own prosperity. Until the Americans decide to:

  • stop supporting dictators (and learn to live on fewer, and more expensive, hydrocarbons);

  • remove their military from Islamic holy lands; and

  • stop providing completely one-sided support to Israel, support which allows the Israelis to continue their ethnic cleansing;

people in the Middle East will continue to have a justified hatred of the United States. Since there are crazy people in all societies, that hatred will manifest itself in attacks by these people against the United States and American interests.