Middle East Imperial Meltdown

Date Written:  2015-05-01
Publisher:  Against the Current
Year Published:  2015
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20942

How U.S. drive for "stability" in the Middle East produces the opposite, and how these crises feed back into the peculiarities of U.S. domestic political culture.



The U.S. emerged from the 1991 Gulf War, followed by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, with a triumphal sense of overwhelming power and global mission. This was illusory, as the image of the "global hyperpower" could only be temporary. Most important, the defeats of Arab nationalism and the left would not lead to the neoliberal "democratic transformation" of Washington's fantasies but to the growth of Islamist forces, reactionary and often murderous -- with which imperialism has also been prepared to ally when it served some short-term purpose.

While the image of permanent U.S. supremacy inevitably had a shelf life, its decline was rapidly accelerated by ruinous policy choices -- motivated in part by the ideologically-driven myth of "the new American century."

The most egregious of these, the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, was a criminal enterprise, fraudulently motivated, arrogantly conceived and stupidly implemented, with the most appalling consequences for Iraq, where the direct death toll is estimated somewhere between 150,000 and half a million, for its neighbors, and for thousands of U.S. troops, some of whom returned home physically broken or as walking human time bombs.

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