Ancient History": U.S. Conduct in the Middle East..VERY LONG!

  1. I don't agree with some of the writers assumptions, but I don't dispute the time lines, or the history. But one thing it does show, is the US has a long history in strong interest in the middle east's oil, and has went to great lengths to protect it!
    When Iranian revolutionaries entered the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and seized 52 Americans, President Jimmy Carter dismissed reminders of America's long intervention in Iran as "ancient history." Carter's point was not merely that previous U.S. policy could not excuse the hostage taking. His adjective also implied that there was nothing of value to be learned from that history. In his view, dredging up old matters was more than unhelpful; it was also dangerous, presumably because it could only serve the interests of America's adversaries. Thus, to raise historical issues was at least unpatriotic and maybe worse.(1)

    As the United States finds itself in the aftermath of another crisis in the Middle East, it is worth the risk of opprobrium to ask why there should be hostility toward America in that region. Some insight can be gained by surveying official U.S. conduct in the Middle East since the end of World War II. Acknowledged herein is a fundamental, yet deplorably overlooked, distinction between understanding and excusing. The purpose of this survey is not to pardon acts of violence against innocent people but to understand the reasons that drive people to violent political acts.(2) The stubborn and often self-serving notion that the historical record is irrelevant because political violence is inexcusable ensures that Americans will be caught in crises in the Middle East and elsewhere for many years to come.

    After 70 years of broken Western promises regarding Arab independence, it should not be surprising that the West is viewed with suspicion and hostility by the populations (as opposed to some of the political regimes) of the Middle East.(3) The United States, as the heir to British imperialism in the region, has been a frequent object of suspicion. Since the end of World War II, the United States, like the European colonial powers before it, has been unable to resist becoming entangled in the region's political conflicts. Driven by a desire to keep the vast oil reserves in hands friendly to the United States, a wish to keep out potential rivals (such as the Soviet Union), opposition to neutrality in the cold war, and domestic political considerations, the United States has compiled a record of tragedy in the Middle East. The most recent part of that record, which includes U.S. alliances with Iraq to counter Iran and then with Iran and Syria to counter Iraq, illustrates a theme that has been played in Washington for the last 45 years.

    Again WARNING this is very long...but maybe it will open "some" eyes or at least create some questions.
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Mar 30, '03
  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
  4. by   Brownms46
    sorry fergus I hit the "submit reply" button by acccident
  5. by   passing thru
    Thank you for giving us access to this Cato Institute report. I know that the Cato is widely recognized by academia AND our politicians for their fair and honest reports.
    I'm going to print it and read it later at my leisure.
    I wish this kind of information was available to all our school kids-history class kids-
    I think it would promote understanding.
  6. by   Brownms46
    You're very welcome passing thru... It took a long time to not only read it, but to disgest the information, that it gave me. I too hope it will promote a better understanding....and thank you for your post
  7. by   jnette
    Kool, Browns...


    It can be a dangerous thing to view things only from the CURRENT times and situations... without looking back.
    It is also dangerous and misleading to assume everybody sees things through our eyes, when other nations have a far greater history and exsistence on planet earth... and are therefor are so much deeper entrenched in their mentality, beliefs, and culture.

    We, on the other hand, are a very young country. Still in that pre-teen "know-it-all" stage.

    The really hard lessons of life are yet to be learned and experienced...we've had some ocasional trips and stumbles, and we've had some achievements to be proud of for sure in our growing years... but there are yet lessons to be learned at this stage of our history. And as for any teenager, the most difficult ones lie still ahead.
    Last edit by jnette on Mar 30, '03
  8. by   Brownms46
    jnette I totally agree, and you're very welcome! There are those who feel that history is important, and must be examined to understand how the we came to be where we are now. I'm one of those people, and I'm glad to see there are others, who are interested in taking the time to get some background also Thanks for the post!