U.S. Ad­vo­cat­ing Mid­dle East Democ­racy

Fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests and for­eign pol­icy

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - Saadula Aqrawi

Some crit­ics ar­gue that Amer­ica>s pol­icy of ad­vo­cat­ing democ­racy may be in­ef­fec­tive and even coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. Ge­orge W. Bush>s at­tempts to use democ­racy as an in­stru­ment against ter­ror­ism were risky and dan­ger­ous; im­pos­ing democ­racy from scratch was un­wise, and didn>t work.

The Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion was heav­ily in­volved in writ­ing Iraq>s oil law which will al­low West­ern oil com­pa­nies to pump oil out of Iraq up to 30 years with­out pay­ing tax on their prof­its. Whether mo­ti­vated by oil or not, U.S. for­eign pol­icy ap­peared to much of the world to have been mo­ti­vated by oil.

Pres­i­dent Bush has been crit­i­cized for ne­glect­ing democ­racy and hu­man rights and fo­cus­ing ex­clu­sively on the fight against ter­ror­ism. The US has been crit­i­cized for al­leged pris­oner abuse at Guan­tá­namo Bay, Iraq, and for se­cret CIA pris­ons in east­ern Europe. In re­sponse, the US govern­ment claimed these in­ci­dents of abuse were iso­lated and did not re­flect U.S. pol­icy.

Some Amer­i­cans be­lieve that their coun­try’s re­spon­si­bil­ity is lim­ited to pro­tect­ing its own cit­i­zens and that Wash­ing­ton should deal with other gov­ern­ments on that ba­sis alone. Af­ter World War Two, the United States came to con­sider the Mid­dle East as the most strate­gi­cally im­por­tant area in the world and one of the great­est ma­te­rial prizes in world his­tory. At this time, the re­gion was un­der­go­ing great so­cial, eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal change and was in tur­moil as a re­sult. Po­lit­i­cally, the Mid­dle East ex­pe­ri­enced an up­surge in the pop­u­lar­ity of na­tion­al­is­tic pol­i­tics and an in­crease in the num­ber of na­tion­al­is­tic po­lit­i­cal groups across the re­gion.

The Euro­peans could not hold these lands in­def­i­nitely in the face of Arab na­tion­al­ism. By the end of 1946, Pales­tine was the last re­main­ing man­date, but it posed a ma­jor prob­lem. This na­tion­al­is­tic po­lit­i­cal trend clashed with Amer­i­can in­ter­ests in the Mid­dle East. U.S. in­volve­ment with the Mid­dle East be­fore World War I was min­i­mal. More­over, in com­par­i­son to Euro­pean pow­ers such as Bri­tain and France, which had man­aged to col­o­nize al­most all of the Mid­dle East re­gion af­ter de­feat­ing the Ot­toman Em­pire in 1918, the United States was pop­u­lar and re­spected through­out the Mid­dle East. Amer­i­cans were seen as good peo­ple, untainted by the self­ish­ness and du­plic­ity as­so­ci­ated with the Euro­peans. More­over, Amer­i­can had brought mod­ern medicine and set up ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions all over the Mid­dle East and pro­vided the Mid­dle East with highly skilled pe­tro­leum en­gi­neers.

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