Thursday, February 3, 2011

america's interests in the mid-east?

according to a bloomberg wire report, "US interests in peril as youth rebel, leaders quit in mideast". the headline casts the clashes between demonstrators as a generational divergence of interests, instead of practically entire societies rising up against their oppressors (who happen to be on the US payroll).

but what struck me as being particularly striking was this characterization of US interests in the region:
The U.S. will have to maneuver more deftly, analysts say, to forge alliances with new governments to protect U.S. interests: security for Israel, sustainability of world energy supply and the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
i understand how, in practice, the "security for israel" is the cornerstone of US policy in the egypt-jordan-israel triangle -- where US muscle and money is used to squeeze and further marginalize the palestinian people in order to minimize any urgency to engage them in negotiations.

what i don't buy is that this is a legitimate security interest for the US. it may be a political imperative for politicians seeking handouts from wealthy special-interest groups -- we know how that game is played.

besides the window dressing, however, about how israel embodies our democratic values -- if so, that's a particularly poor reflection of our own democratic values! -- israel is just another country among many, and owes its very existence to powerful patrons in the west. it should, to the extent it is able, to either sink or swim on its own.

the israeli government's perpetual flouting of international norms and predisposition to violence to obtain political ends is both an irritant and an insult to its arab neighbors -- and deliberate at that. it costs the US more in prestige than money, but both are in terribly short supply right now.

as the new order unfolds in the middle east, the US seems consigned to the same old role of legitimizing the corrupt and illegitimate colonial regime of the israelis, to our lasting shame and detriment.

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