President Bush’s Middle East policy is without rhyme or reason.
According to Bush and his neoconservatives, the only way to make America safe from terrorists is to force democracy upon the Middle East. Only ideologues completely ignorant of the Middle East could come to that conclusion.
Bush’s invasion of Iraq turned a country with a secular government that suppressed terrorism over to Shia Islamists allied with Iran.
Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan turned the country back to warlordism from the unified polity that the Taliban were achieving and revitalized the drug trade that helps to finance terrorism. Bush’s interference in the Palestinian election brought Hamas to office. Bush’s interference in Egyptian elections achieved gains for the Muslim Brotherhood. Bush’s interference in the Pakistani elections put half the country into Islamic hands.
Now secretary of state Condi Rice wants to spend $85 million interfering in the internal affairs of Iran and $5 million “to accelerate the work of reformers in Syria.”
What better way to solidify the Iranian and Syrian governments? Both countries are under threat of attack by the Bush regime. Any Iranian or Syrian who accepted American money to work against their own government would be guilty of high treason. With her announcements, Condi Rice has destroyed any opposition that might have existed in either country.
If terrorism is the threat to America that Bush says, why is Bush working so hard to enlarge the power and influence of terrorists and of Islamic politicians hostile to US hegemony in the Middle East?
The terrorist problem arises from the US government’s long-term interference in the internal affairs of Middle Eastern countries. In the past the US has overthrown elected leaders, who were considered too radical for Washington’s tastes, and replaced them with authoritarian secular strongmen backed by American money.
To avoid answering to mullahs, the strongmen operate secular governments that are not many steps removed from American puppets.
Being secular, these governments lack the authority of Islam. They are further weakened by not being perceived as representative of the aspirations of Muslims. They have held on to power by suppressing Islamic-based political opposition. Fair elections in these countries would bring Islamic leaders to power.
Muslim terrorists are not secular. Their chosen base is Islam, which puts them closer to the people than are the secular rulers.
Terrorist influence has grown primarily because of US actions in the Middle East. The Bush regime hasn’t even a pretext of even-handedness in its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The invasion and occupation of Iraq has been a human rights disaster, with tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed and maimed, the country’s infrastructure in ruins, and graphic photographic evidence of Muslims tortured and humiliated by US troops broadcast throughout the world. Undeterred by its accumulated crimes, the Bush regime now threatens more Muslim countries with sanctions, invasion and destruction.
The Bush regime has shown the Muslim world that the US takes for granted that it possesses the right of hegemony over the Middle East. The Bush regime has reaffirmed Washington’s right to remove governments, select new ones, interfere in elections, and bomb and invade every country whose rulers Washington can demonize.
By its words and deeds, the Bush regime has confirmed everything that Osama bin Laden has ever said about the “Great Satan.” Consequently, the terrorists have grown in influence and organization.
The US invasion of Iraq was a boon for terrorism. The ignorant and incompetent Bush regime expected a “cakewalk” war and an American puppet to do Washington’s bidding. The reality is a powerful Iraqi insurgency that has tied down a dozen US divisions and created a training ground and recruits for terrorism and insurgency. Muslims have learned how to violently resist the superior military technology of the invader.
Overthrowing Saddam Hussein, a secular Sunni, was disastrous for American hegemony. Hussein ruthlessly stamped out Islamic-based political opposition and terrorist activity, which he rightly recognized as a threat to himself. With Hussein in power, Iran was isolated as the only Islamic-based government in the Middle East.
Iran was further isolated as Iran is Persian and not Arab, Shia and not Sunni.
The American invasion of Iraq has changed the correlation of forces dramatically in Iran’s favor. Thanks to Bush, Iraq is now in the hands of the Shia majority. The Iraqi Shia are allied with Iran, as is Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine, giving rise to the Shia crescent from Iran to Israel.
Iran is the beneficiary of the thousands of American lives and the hundreds of billions of dollars that the Bush regime has squandered in Iraq. The White House Moron turned Iraq from an Iranian enemy into an Iranian ally. Iran could not overthrow Saddam Hussein, but the White House Moron, using American blood and treasure, did it for the Iranian clerics.
With Hizbullah as Lebanon’s most powerful faction, nothing can happen in Lebanon without Iran’s approval. Bush’s invasion of Iraq has served two purposes–Iran’s and bin Laden’s–at the expense of his own.
Bush cannot learn from his mistakes. Bush lacks the intelligence and education to recognize a mistake. His government is filled with ignorant ideologues who believe their own propaganda. The fools are now proceeding to compound their strategic blunders with plans to attack Iran and Syria.
Washington is accustomed to buying what it wants. Whenever Washington wants a country to do its bidding it buys the country’s leaders. This used to work in the Middle East, but no longer. Do you remember the much maligned Yasser Arafat and his Fatah movement?
Arafat was on the American payroll, which made him ineffectual in effectively opposing Israel’s illegal dispossession of the West Bank Palestinians. With Arafat’s death, Washington found an even more compliant Fatah leader to finance. But the Palestinians themselves had had enough. Israel had forced Palestinians into ghettos while the Bush regime cheered on the right-wing Likud Party. In the Palestinian elections, which the Bush regime thought it had bought, the Palestinians gave a resounding victory to Hamas.
The Bush regime’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have made it impossible for anyone in the Muslim world to take Washington’s side.
Our puppet governments in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the tiny oil emirates are shaking in their boots. In all of these lands the Shia are oppressed, and the Shia are now emboldened. All of these lands are vulnerable to Osama bin Laden’s claim that the governments represent American interests, not the interests of Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis, Pakistanis. And certainly the American puppets cannot appeal to the prophet Mohammed.
The ignorance and hubris of Americans is extraordinary. The US, a country with a hollowed out industrial and manufacturing base, a country that no longer can produce jobs for university graduates, a country that is dependent on foreigners to finance its consumption and its wars, a country that cannot recruit troops for its wars of aggression, this same weak, collapsing country is enraging the Muslim World, inspiring hatred of America and Israel throughout the Middle East, creating massive openings for China and Russia, against whom US military might is feeble.
Europe is dependent on Russia for energy. War in the MIddle East makes Europe more dependent on Russia.
The US “superpower” is dependent on China for the advanced technology products that the US is no longer able to produce. China is America’s second most important banker after Japan. China can destroy the US in a few minutes just by dumping its holdings of US dollar-denominated assets.
China is presently concluding a $100 billion investment in the development of an Iranian oil field. In its insane determination to attack Iran and seize the Iranian oil fields, the Bush regime is going against the interests of China. China holds all the cards, not the Moron in the White House.
As the US has established the precedent for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and uses organizations such as the International Republican Institute to buy electoral outcomes, how could Washington complain if some other country were to help the American people by financing an American political party that represents American values and civil liberties. It would be wonderful for America to have a party committed to diplomacy, peace, financial soundness, and the best interests of the American people, as opposed to a Jacobin ideology of death that represents the neoconservative agenda of the Bush regime.
To combat the Republican lock on electronic voting machines, the US is in desperate need of the UN to oversee our elections to prevent Republicans with low approval ratings from winning elections that exit polls show they lost.
The Bush regime is wasting huge borrowed sums at a time when job growth in America has collapsed, when tens of millions of Americans are losing their health care, their pensions, and their middle class status. America cannot afford such a moronic regime. Someone, somewhere please rescue us from the ignorant, tyrannical, and war criminal government that has seized America.
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org