America’s Bitter Legacy In The Middle East

By   /   May 11, 2018  /   30 Comments

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THE QUESTION CONFRONTING the Democratic Party when it next takes control of the White House will, simply, be: “What now?” The next Democratic President will likely enter office with the two most powerful Islamic nations in the Middle East, Iran and Saudi Arabia, locked in a nuclear arms race. Faced with the prospect of two bitter foes acquiring the means to wipe it off the face of the earth, Israel (which already possesses its own nuclear arsenal) will be screaming at the new Democratic administration to: “Do something – or we will!” Doing something will be unavoidable – but what is it that the United States should do?

THE QUESTION CONFRONTING the Democratic Party when it next takes control of the White House will, simply, be: “What now?” The next Democratic President will likely enter office with the two most powerful Islamic nations in the Middle East, Iran and Saudi Arabia, locked in a nuclear arms race. Faced with the prospect of two bitter foes acquiring the means to wipe it off the face of the earth, Israel (which already possesses its own nuclear arsenal) will be screaming at the new Democratic administration to: “Do something – or we will!” Doing something will be unavoidable – but what is it that the United States should do?

On his way home from the Yalta Conference aboard the USS Quincy, in February 1945, President Franklin Roosevelt paused briefly in the Great Bitter Lake (half way along with Suez Canal) to meet with Abdul Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia. In many respects this meeting on Great Bitter Lake was as important to the world’s future as Roosevelt’s meeting at Yalta with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Arising out of the secret conclave between President and King was the so-called “Quincy Agreement”, by which the United States guaranteed the security of the Saudi monarchy, and the Saudi monarchy guaranteed the United States access to its almost limitless oil reserves.

The tragedy of the Quincy Agreement is that it simply wasn’t necessary. In 1945 the US was the most powerful nation on earth and just a few months away from producing the world’s first nuclear weapons. Under Roosevelt, the Americans had already set in motion the dismantling of the British Empire: a process which would, in the space of two years, force Great Britain to relinquish the “jewel” in its imperial crown – India. That Roosevelt, the Roosevelt of 1940, would not have vouchsafed US protection to the deeply reactionary Saudi dynasty; not when he could have had it swept away by forces dedicated to establishing a modern, secular, democratic republic with just a flick of Uncle Sam’s finger. Unfortunately, that Roosevelt no longer existed. In his place was the gaunt, exhausted figure of the Yalta newsreels: a man barely two months away from death.

It was this dying Roosevelt who resigned himself to preserving not only the Saudi king (and his oil) but also the King of Egypt and the Emperor of Ethiopia. Churchill and the British had convinced him that US strategic interests would be best served by keeping in place every one of the petty kings and potentates that Britain had installed across the Middle East in the aftermath of World War I.

It was a fatal error. For the next seventy years the Americans (aided and abetted at every turn by the British) found themselves obliged to prop-up a corrupt collection of quasi-medieval reactionaries who had set their faces against all the emancipatory forces of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and who were doing everything in their power to advance the most extreme and retrograde interpretations of the Prophet Mohammed’s religious teachings.

The alternative course of action: the road not taken; would have seen the full weight of the US thrown behind the secular forces of Middle Eastern nationalism and their quest for cultural and economic independence. Yes, many of these nationalist leaders may have been mildly socialist, like Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Mohammad Mosaddegh of Iran, but no more so that the leaders of Sweden or India. With the encouragement and support of the United States, the Arab and Iranian peoples could have constructed modern, open societies to match the magnificent civilisations of their past. Moderate Islamic democracies, forever beholden to the United States for underwriting their freedom, prosperity and independence.

What actually happened, of course, was that when the aforementioned Mosaddegh attempted to establish just such a government in Iran, the CIA (represented, ironically, by Roosevelt’s son, Kermit) and the British secret service, MI6, colluded in mobilising the reactionary Muslim clergy against him and restored to the Peacock Throne the craven and vicious Mohammad Reza Pahlavi – Iran’s hereditary (and now absolute) ruler.

That this anti-democratic behaviour has remained a constant of US policy in the Middle East is due in no small part to the State of Israel. Born out of the acquisition and, later, the expropriation of Arab properties in the former British mandate of Palestine, Israel’s existence has always constituted a major obstacle to the peaceful evolution of a modern and moderate Middle East.

Had the US and Britain been willing to stand behind secular Arab nationalism and the establishment of democratic governments in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Arabia, the Gulf States and Iran, it is possible that Israel may have felt sufficiently secure to negotiate a lasting modus vivendi between the Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews. From 1956 onwards, however, Britain and America were happy to use Israel as a battering ram against Arab nationalism and, at need, the entire Muslim world. A strategy which has positioned Israel as a nuclear-armed obstacle squarely athwart every path to Middle Eastern peace.

How to respond when the next Democratic President of the United States asks: “What now?” Tell her to reverse every policy the United States has followed in the Middle East since the USS Quincy hove-to in the Great Bitter Lake in February 1945. Yes, it’s a little late for such a radical realignment of US policy – but better late than never.

 

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30 Comments

  1. remo says:

    “With the encouragement and support of the United States, the Arab and Iranian peoples could have constructed modern, open societies to match the magnificent civilizations of their past. Moderate Islamic democracies, forever beholden to the United States for underwriting their freedom, prosperity and independence.”
    Independence and expressions of free will were the last thing the ‘victorious’ emerging real powers of amercia [sic] wanted planted over the(ir) oil reserves.
    Israels very existence is at the point of bayonet, and now ‘allied’ to the Saudi horror, dangles with it beneath the US missile as the truly representative ‘dog of war.’

    • Marc says:

      I agree on that, this ‘democracy’ and ‘for the people’ BS talk by various past and present US governments is hollow and sickening to the extreme. They cater for the business corporates, first of all, and for the dominance of the world by the US government and its military, no doubt.

      I still think though your 911 conspiracy thoughts are far off the truth. They would not even go there, nor need to go there, they are just expert manipulators who are good at the game of sucking people into the ‘American Dream’ and other BS, same as the Anglo Saxon masters of NZ Aotearoa betray and lie through their teeth day and night, promising new immigrants a ‘Kiwi dream’ and the likes.

      BS stinks, but they pretend a brief dosage of air freshener cleans the air, and is the true smell of SHIT.

      • remo says:

        I know you do Marc.and I appreciate it; but the forensics-the science-is demolition. Demolition. it is quite clear. Our ‘thoughts’ are corollary to that fact; the ‘expert manipulators’ did ‘go there’ and until it is the recognised base stone of Understanding going forward – from that day – until then we are floundering in its design.
        Once we comprehend the deception as one, the dust clears.

        And naked on the stage are the very voices calling loudest for the destruction of Iran right now.

  2. Alan says:

    More likely now is that the Israelis are going to call Putin’s bluff and force the US to bomb Iran back into the stone age to protect them. Putin though may have a red line. Watch Europe’s leaders slowly cave in to the new American sanctions. American foreign policy has never been about dealing with other nations as equals. Its post war policy shaped by the Monroe declaration. It had started to behave more like a global citizen under Obama, we are simply back to normal now.

    • simonm says:

      Unlike America, which Israel has no concerns about at all since it owns the US Congress, Senate and President (on both the Republican and Democratic sides ), Russia isn’t beholden to Israel at all. Hence Netanyahu’s frequent trips to Moscow to see Putin (never the other way around) as he attempts to convince Russia not to supply Iran or Syria with the highly effective Russian S300 missile defence system for example.

      By all accounts Putin and Netanyahu have a good working and personal relationship, but that only goes so far. Russia will always act in the interests of its own security. If Israel were to do something stupid like attack Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria and thus weaken the Assad government’s hold on the country, the Russians would be seriously pissed off. Putin has personally invested huge amounts of political capital in defending the current Syrian government and woe betide Israel or Netanyahu if they fuck it up for him.

      Netanyahu and all Israeli politicians have been “calling America’s bluff” for years as know their enormous influence over US politics means they won’t ever suffer any consequences; even when things go disastrously wrong (i.e. the Iraq War, of which Israel was a hugely enthusiastic cheerleader). Israel has no such influence over Russia. The Israelis will find themselves in deep trouble if they mess with Russia’s strategic interests in the Middle East.

    • Marc says:

      They are caving in already, such as Germany, as the trade with the US is MORE important to German exporters than what they may be able to export to Iran. It is back to the bully game, the big players and strong players set the rules, nothing has changed, apart from Iran denied a chance to step out of the ‘naughty boy’ club.

  3. The Masked Moa says:

    I find it so sad that Trotter still thinks that there is any substantive difference between the Republicans and Democrats. They all serve the same puppet masters only the colour of the puppet is changed to keep the masses mesmerised in their web of lies.

  4. Lois Griffiths says:

    Chris, it’s all about oil and maintaining all trade in oil to be done in US dollars.

    The American power holders have never had any interest in making it possible for Iran and Arab countries to be modern, secular, democratic republics.

    See Chomsky’s interview on democracynow.org/2011/5/11
    “The U.S. and its allies will do anything they can to prevent authentic democracy in the Arab world.”

    Yes, Israel would love to see Iran given the “Iraq and Libya” treatment. The neocons , so powerful in the US administration, would be happy to oblige. (as would shareholders of military corporations)
    Netanyahu’s tough talk and bombing raids on Syria have done wonders for his popularity by the way.

  5. Afewknowthetruth says:

    An interesting analysis, Chris, but humanity’s race to self-annihilation can be traced right back to the invention of metallurgy. He who had (has) the best weapons could (can) most effectively steal resources from others.

    We now are living through the final phase of humanity’s omnicidal and suicidal reign on this planet. And it will make no difference who occupies the White House because dismantling the complex systems that have been leading to ruination is impossible.

    Human affairs will continue to driven by ignorance, greed and stupidity (just examine your local council’s so-called long-term plans for in-your-face verification of this).

    So, the only question of much interest is now this: how much longer can the banks and corporations that control the politics of the western world keep the game going.

    • Nitrium Nitrium says:

      So, the only question of much interest is now this: how much longer can the banks and corporations that control the politics of the western world keep the game going.

      If Japan is anything to go by (they had their FC over 20 years ago), a LOT longer than you think or even hold possible.
      https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2017/12/12/editorials/two-decades-japans-financial-crisis/

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH 100%

      “how much longer can the banks and corporations that control the politics of the western world keep the game going.”

      Answer;
      Not to much longer as the Global debt is near $300 Trillion and the assets used against those loans amounts to just $70 Trillion now.

      So we are deep in ‘overbearing debt’ with no asset values to pay it back to the banks now.

      “Pop goes the weasel.”

  6. countryboy says:

    Fabulous Post. Entirely correct and unnervingly ominous in its reach.

  7. Brigid says:

    Iran has no intention of joining any nuclear arms race. Their constitution forbids it; Iranians believe the creation of nuclear arms immoral.

    Try this for a little insight into Iran
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8&v=lf4vneWQ0YQ

    As other have said, there has never been any intention of the US or Britain to facilitate peace in the middle east and I’ll point out that in spite of their interference in the region, Iran and Syria are both secular and democratic, as was Libya before the US/UK Nato destroyed the country along with the lives of millions.

  8. Lois Griffiths says:

    Chris , I think your statement that Israel will be “faced with the prospect of two bitter foes acquiring the means to wipe it off the face of the earth”
    is way off base. Iran has never shown any interest in ‘wiping any country off the face of the earth’. Actually they have called for a nuclear free Middle East. As for Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, Netanyahu and Trump are mates.

    Meanwhile it is Yemen that is being devastated.

  9. Marc says:

    Who created the ‘enemy’ in the first place, that is Hamas?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7grSsuFSS0

  10. Marc says:

    Benjamin Netanjahu, let us fight then:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogQKeD0IlIA

  11. Marc says:

    I wonder how Trump’s wet Netanyahu dream will end:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eQBc_QPAxM

    Jared Kushner is one key person to hold responsible, the shit will hit the fan soon.

  12. Marc says:

    Hamas, not all nice, not Israel either:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egOnJt_m1Z8

  13. Johnnybg says:

    For those among us who despise globalisation & the established order that perpetuates it, Trump is just what the doctor ordered. As I see it the USA will eventually implode & go the way of the former USSR. The first state to withdraw from the union will probably be Caliafornia or Texas. With Trump at the helm this will sure as hell happen sooner rather than later. The United States of Europe, which is really a German/French led Holy Roman Empire (fourth Reich) type project, will also go the same way. Of course Macron, the new French Napoleon & globalisation superstar will do his best to revitalise the dream, but the writings been on the wall for years. In the middle & west Bavaria, Flemish Belgium, the Basque’s, Brittany & Scotland would love to go it alone. In the south west northern Italy, Corsica & Catalonia would also like thier independence. In the east they’re just happy to finally be masters of thier own destinies after the break up Yugoslavia & the USSR. But they’re also starting to get pissed off with now being told what to do by Brussels. In time, separatists in China, India & the rest of the world will bring about similar transformations. Whether we like to admit it to ourselves or not, we humans are tribal in nature, so as we begin to drift back to our roots & embrace a more localised identity & way of life, the world will begin to look very different from the bland, comodified, terror ridden & homgenised entity that it is today. I imagine that this new world will be a colourful confederacy of autonomous, sustainable regions. Call me old fashioned if you like, but I believe this universal confederacy will begin to take shape right here in Zealandia.

  14. With the encouragement and support of the United States, the Arab and Iranian peoples could have constructed modern, open societies to match the magnificent civilisations of their past. Moderate Islamic democracies, forever beholden to the United States for underwriting their freedom, prosperity and independence.

    […]

    Had the US and Britain been willing to stand behind secular Arab nationalism and the establishment of democratic governments in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Arabia, the Gulf States and Iran, it is possible that Israel may have felt sufficiently secure to negotiate a lasting modus vivendi between the Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews.

    That sounds perilously close to regime-change, Chris, even if what you’re describing is ” the establishment of democratic governments”.

    I struggle to think of a single case where the West has supported the development of a democratic government. (Aside from Germany and Italy, post WW2 – and that involved the near-total destruction, invasion, occupation, and total rebuild of those nations. Even in that case, Germany could be considered a Western nation that temporarily turned into a “rogue state”.)

    • Sam Sam says:

      If Israel attacks Iran directly they’re on there own. The US can not open a second front with China doing fly overs of Taiwan. Forget Iran and North Korea, the real war will start in Taiwan.

    • Mjolnir says:

      Interesting query, Frank. Regime change is ok when it’s “progressive”, but not so much when it ain’t. Well, that’s what I got from Chris’ piece.

  15. David Stone says:

    ” How to respond when the next Democratic President of the United States asks: “What now?” Tell her to reverse every policy the United States has followed in the Middle East since the USS Quincy hove-to in the Great Bitter Lake in February 1945.”
    If by “her” Chris is referring to Hillary well no. She will not be the next democratic president, and if I were to be wrong in that assertion then she will not be reversing the policies of belligerence that the U S has followed since 1945. Someone new would be needed to attempt that.

    • Sam Sam says:

      The US democrat nominee is self-selected at Bilderberg. Reversing every policy will harm the share prices of Bilderburgs members. So don’t harm the share market would be a good start.

  16. LOLBAGZ says:

    Scumbags on the Quincy. That’s good info, dirty wabbit hole is deep

  17. John Riley says:

    Nice Work Mr Trotter , well done indeed.

    fingers crossed that we get there .

  18. Samwise says:

    Latest news: the Nth Koreans have pulled out of talks. Seems like someone forgot I tell the US military not to go ahead with war games with the South which the North, quite rightly, viewed as a provocation.

    Idiot Trump. Did he not think the North Koreans would take a dim view of war games going ahead of peace talks?????????

    The man is a moron. From the jaws of victory, he has snatched defeat.