April 02, 2012
Does the US Need a Middle Eastern Ally?
As it is very clear, the United States is heavily involved in the Middle East. Since we cannot satisfy our own demand from oil, we must import it from the oil rich Middle East. Since World War II, the United States has seen its position in the Middle East as a part of the national interest and security. This is even enshrined in the Carter Doctrine which states that any assault on the Persian Gulf region as an attack on the interests of the United States. This has led to the United States to having a strong, polarizing presence in the region. The problem, however, is that the United States has put itself in a position where it has given great wealth and security to its allies but threatened nearly every other hostile regime in the area. The quest for stability has led to the United States supporting some countries that have had some questionable human rights records at best and have turned much of the population against us.
The main idea that I am trying to advance as that the United States has embolden allies in the Middle East that have actually harmed our efforts. Israel has aggressively expanded into the West Bank and taken severe action against the Gaza Strip, the regime of Hosni Mubarak has collapsed, and the Iraqis are falling more under Iranian influence. The result of American intervention in the Middle East is a rise in anti-American sentiment. By trying to pursue short term interests of stability, we have created long term instability that may completely undermine American efforts. The United States should take a more hand off approach to the Middle East and allow a steady equilibrium to form, one that is not so resentful of American intervention.
Posted by mattando at April 2, 2012 12:49 AM
I agree that US intervention leaves an aggressive impression and creates hostility toward America. This can be seen not only in the Middle East, but also in Latin America. The US also pursued interventionist policies in Latin America through the Monroe Doctrine, the Roosevelt Corollary, and the Rio Pact. The US supported oligarchies and later military dictatorships in order to protect US multinational corporations, notably United Fruit. In many ways, US intervention worked against the interests the US sought to protect, contributing to the Cuban Revolution and widespread nationalist movements. US support of oppressive governments through arms deals, funding, and the School of the Americas resulted in tragic offenses against human rights. The example of the Latin America adds to the example of the Middle East, arguing that interventionism can have extremely negative consequences, many of which work against US interests in the long run.
Posted by: karismol at April 2, 2012 02:21 PM
My personal position may be radical, but I think that the intervention of the United States in the Middle East may cause only additional tension. This is really fragile geographic region due to the multiple local conflicts of ethnic, religious or territorial character. The Gaza Strip is clear evidence. Therefore I believe that the States should conduct policy of neutrality rather than agressive.
Posted by: email@example.com at April 4, 2012 09:55 AM
The US has time and time again pursued short-term stability in the form of direct intervention or through the support of friendly regimes, the fact that US foreign policy does not seem to see more than a decade in the future is an institutional problem. While it may make more sense for the US to pursue long and possibly costly attempts to influence middle eastern/latin american countries to support us and or democratize, none of this would matter in an election cycle. The US would rather an oppressive but vocal ally that can be shown off as a peacemaker etc, than claim that they have been working on democracy through NGOs, cultural pressure etc. In order to back up our claim that we are a global power, it is necessary that we maintain visible presences in the affairs of every part of the world, especially where our vital interests are concerned, and even to the detriment of the people that live there.
Posted by: gojulius at April 4, 2012 05:45 PM
I think that at this point in the middle east conflict game so to speak, it is not as simple as the United States simply taking a hands off approach. While I agree that from a retrospective analysis, this might have been a smarter choice than simply attempting to quash militant conflicts and boost only our allies in the region, it is difficult to implement after all that has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran currently and so forth. Especially with the rise of the Arab spring movements. In a sense, I see anti-american sentiment as almost a rallying point for extremists and populists movements in countries like Iran. With this in mind, I think erasing US presence would probably just give them a new angle from which to spin this anti-american sentiment. It is less about our actual government versus having a symbol against which people can rally.
Posted by: tfugate at April 6, 2012 12:34 PM
I do believe Israel needs an ally in the Middle East not only for resource reasons but for defense reasons as well. Israel is one of the most technically advanced countries in the world with a new missile defense problem that can sense and destroy warheads before they can do any damage. While that idea was a fantasy for Ronald Reagan it has become reality for Israel. The prospect of gleaning any such information or technology from a staunch ally in the Middle East makes the relationship very valuable. Also, the ability to station troops in the divisive Middle East is a great help when our interests in that region come under attach
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