America, a beacon to the nations, took its ideal role seriously. It is a dangerous when the interests of idealists and of the corrupt political-business establishment converge. Such convergences have broken states before and threaten the U.S. now.
Idealists wanted to “search for distant monsters” and rectify all wrongs. Since no one is perfect, that involves supporting “our SOBs against theirs.”

Corrupt establishment wants more weapons, more oil service contracts, and higher (not lower, as many commentators assert) oil prices. Most importantly, it wants power and in that quest for power, the American political-military-industrial complex allies itself with idealists who want a paternalistic umbrella for the entire world. Idealists, they do not care about minor practical issues: American lives and American money.

Idealism is necessarily superficial, and accepts symbols in lieu of reality, resembling the dichotomy of idols versus divine. The idols of American idealism are elections, free speech, and market economy. In the third world, however, elections are inevitably rigged, free speech is accessible only through government and oligarchic media, and market economy means corruption. The establishment’s realists satisfy the idealists’ appetites in exchange for moralistic support, and produce the idols. Exacerbated by misunderstanding of local affairs and intricacies of often fragile balance of power, such approach destroys stable, if not democratic societies, and perpetuates strife there.

Idealism relies on maxims, and is counterproductive in politics which balances the goals. Democratic elections are good when they lure terrorist groups from underground into the corrupt political environment, and bad when they hand power to hostile groups. Torture is condemnable when applied indiscriminately, and unavoidable when dealing with terrorist suspects in violent countries. Idealists drive morals over the edge, and cobble the road to hell with democratic pronouncements; the establishment seizes the opportunity for larger role in failing foreign states. When situation becomes intolerable, money can no longer be made in countries plunged in civil war, and international prestige and credibility suffer instead of being asserted by intervention, America withdraws.

Idealists side with poor and weak. Disregarding the macro picture of minuscule Israel versus the world of Islam, idealists see only the microlevel, Israel versus hapless Palestinians. Idealists influence American policy and extort concessions from the establishment which hides its interests behind their ideals. Idealists exert indirect influence by permeating political left: idealists need government regulation to enforce their unworkable policies, and leftists need credibility of the ideals to cover their thrust for material redistribution.

During the Cold War, America involved itself in the Middle East not to protect oil supply, but to contain the Soviet threat. (Since the Soviets did not intend to attack America, “red plague” is a better term than “Soviet threat.” America nobly opposed hostile and abominable ideology rather than conducted military cooperation oddly peripheral to its national interest.) Protection of oil sources rationalized the particular instance of containment. America similarly opposed Soviet expansion in many places which lack oil.

America firmly prohibited Israeli-Franco-British (justified) aggression against Egypt in 1956, and stopped Israeli incursion into Egypt in 1967. Both cases did not relate to oil. America airlifted weapons to Israel in closing days of the 1973 war to counter the Soviet supplies to Egypt, not because of oil. America after Carter supported the demands of Palestinians who have no oil, and precluded Israel from finishing the conflict through their expulsion.

American support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war stemmed from childish insult: Ayatollah removed a friendly ruler. Oil-wise, it made more sense for the U.S. to ally itself with Iran which intended no interruption of oil deliveries. America later rejected the Iranian tentative gesture of major oil concession to Conoco.

America fought for Kuwait against Iraq even though Saddam was friendly to the U.S. at the time, subservient to a degree, and would have continued exporting Kuwaiti oil. Kuwait, on the contrary, is unfriendly to the U.S. to the extent of allowing financial flows to Al Qaeda, and allowing its citizens to work as the terrorist group’s spokesmen. Kuwait always supported OPEC’s moves rather than leaving the cartel and selling oil to America at a more reasonable price, something that Saddam was seemingly willing to do. Kuwaiti oil supply is small and irrelevant to the U.S. After defending Kuwait, America did nothing to control its oil supply, but allowed the price to rise. No other country would bow down to price extortion by its protectorate.

The U.S. can lower the oil price by breaking OPEC through legal action in several countries, trade sanctions, boycott, separate arrangements with non-Muslim producers, opening the American conserved fields, and dealing with Russian suppliers. America does none of that. The Middle East involvement is not about securing inexpensive oil sources for American or global economy, but about hegemony, business interests, and idealism.

With the demise of the USSR, America has no business of containment, and no reason to maintain its involvement in the Middle East. That is, no morally acceptable reason. Thus, we hear frenzy of explanations: secure oil supply, low oil prices, promoting democracy, stopping atrocities, and fighting terrorism.

Europeans, used to losses, go with a trend; America, used to victories, often goes against it. Thus the European tendency of treating Muslim regimes as black boxes, or rather gas stations: no one cares what goes on inside those states, as long as oil flows out. IncreasingMuslim countries must supply oil without interruption to feed their bustling populations.
Europeans can deal with Middle East’s oil regimes without American support. It makes no difference for Britain, France, or Germany whether to buy Kuwaiti oil from al-Sabah or al-Hussein.

The professed U.S. support for Israel is of the same moralizing stock as fostering democracy: a politically acceptable cover for American business and power interests.

America sells more arms to Muslims than to Israel. America allowed Egypt to develop nuclear technology, and politically protected it against Israeli attack on nuclear facilities. Given the number of regime changes and policy swings in Egypt in the last half-century, and considering the strength of Islamist factions, only temporarily suppressed by police, Egyptian nuclear weapons will wind up in America and Israel. The U.S military guarantee allows Israeli government to slip into delusional cowardice instead of taking action against nuclear proliferators. The guarantee is worthless: recall South Vietnam, the American-instigated revolt in Czechoslovakia, or many other cases when major powers reneged on mutual defense treaties.

America directly fought for Kuwait – something it never did for Israel even in the critical 1948 war or in the opening days of the 1973 war.

America gives much more aid to Muslims than to Israel. The ratio of American aid to GDP is many times higher for Palestine than for Israel. American military and financial assistance is thus much more significant to Arabs than to Israel, and therefore detrimental overall to Israel. 3bn aid, little adjusted since 1970s, is very modest compared to Israeli GDP, especially considering skyrocketing cost of American weapons. Israel can live without that aid, as she did before the Camp David. Osrael can offset the loss of American aid by abandoning socialism and allowing the economy to take off. Israel does not depend on American aid to retain military edge: she won all her wars on her own; the 1973 airlift came too late. Even if Israel had to tighten her budget when American aid ends, that would be worthwhile; the American money is politically detrimental and morally offensive.
America continuously twisted hands of Israeli governments, and prevented them from pursuing militarily efficient strategies: in 1956, 1967, 1973, and with the Palestinians. American alliance with Jordan doesn’t let Israel to relocate her Arabs into Jordan, and creates major demographic problem for Jewish state.

Israeli lobby in America is nowhere as powerful as Muslim lobby. Jewish lobbying is vociferous and hollow; Arab – backed by real money. Saudis alone buy more American politicians than the Jews influence indirectly. Professed support for Israel is a convenient cover for American shady dealings with Arabs. Had the Jews have considerable influence on the U.S. government, they would concentrate on a single issue: the American acceptance of Greater Israel. The only reason the U.S. does not pressure Israel to accept Palestinian demands immediately is that other Arabs do not care about Palestinians, and do not lobby for them. Arab rulers pay only lip service to the Palestinian issue. No ruler is angry with the U.S. for the support of Israel – Arabs well understand treachery, double-dealing, and power which are incidentally the basis of politics. Other Arabs want the Palestinian conflict – to enjoy foreign attention and to have an external enemy for their people. Arabs lobby their real demands – the U.S. acquiescence to the OPEC racket above all.

The U.S. political assistance to Israel is mostly limited to vetoing UN resolutions. That is good, but even absent the American support, sanctions would hardly be applied against Jewish state. Germany certainly will not enforce them, thus creating a major loophole. America preserves the UN credibility by vetoing its resolutions. If Israel sets precedent of avoiding the sanctions, the UN would be unable to control the Muslims even nominally. Israel’s disregard of the UN resolutions already set dangerous precedent, and extending it to the sanctions is just not feasible for the U.S. Other countries appreciate American support for Israel in the Security Council: the assured American veto allows Russia to play Arab supporter and Muslim members of the UN to show themselves strong and radical without fear of escalation.

American involvement in the Middle East prolonged conflicts by destabilizing the situation (elephant-in-a-shop scenario), insisting on politically correct (thus inefficient) approaches, and aiding both sides (preventing the peace of exhaustion).

American political problems in Muslim countries stem from the fact that America is the only vent allowed there. There is a Soviet joke of a Russian countering an American’s boast that he can criticize his president in front of the White House, “So what? I can criticize your president at the Red Square!” Islamic societies undergo simultaneous structural crises of opening, industrialization, breakdown of paternalistic social framework, loss of traditional religious values, youth bulge and class struggle. Repressive societies vent their discontent on external enemies. Thus the hatred of Israel. The hatred, however, is superficial. Many Muslims I spoke with soften in minutes. Muslims hate the US not for support of Israel or the Iraqi war; few Muslims care about Palestinians or Iraqis. Muslims are jealous of the U.S. like proletarians were jealous of bourgeoisie. Unlike proletarians, Muslims are lucky to have their adversary clearly defined: Americans live in a separate country with distinct culture, and jealousy potently combines with xenophobia. America confirms Muslims in their xenophobia by real or imagined support of Israel against their brethren. Israel provides rationalization of anti-American feelings, but do not cause them. Absent of Israel, Muslims would hate the U.S. for satellite broadcasts, McDonald’s abroad, or for refusing polygamy to the American Muslims.

Even rich Muslim societies hate America because their discontent is largely spiritual, and stems from dissolution of previously firm values. The discontent will not go away even if the U.S. miraculously industrializes Muslim countries and makes them affluent which is anyway impossible for the lack of work and education ethics. Hatred is channeled to highly visible, symbolic object. America, a beacon, draws Muslim hatredThat hatred is now concentrated on a single issue: Israel; without Israel, American problems with Muslims will become many. Concentrated opposition is easier to counter than dissipated enmity; America would not be better off if Muslims claim hundreds of wrongs instead of the one.