By Michael Payne:
A beginning and an end; that is what we are witnessing in Egypt and the Middle East. The peoples’ revolutions underway in Egypt and Tunisia that could spread to other Middle East nations have the potential to be one of those great turning points in the history of the world. It is the beginning point for an eventual transformation of the entire region from dictatorial regimes to governments of the people.
While it is a joyous beginning for the people of the Middle East, it may also constitute the beginning stages of the eventual end of decades of dominance and control over that region by the U.S. and Israel. Over the years, as the people of this region have been suppressed and oppressed by a series of dictators, the U.S. and Israel have supported most of those regimes and, as a result, have personally benefited by advancing their own agendas and special interests.
This strong peoples’ movement has the underlying power that, over a period of time, could restructure the balance of power not only in the Middle East but that of the entire world; and to think that these momentous events erupted from a sole police attack on a street vendor in Tunisia that set off riots after he, in response, set himself on fire and died several days later. The resulting violence and anger in the streets ended the 23 year dictatorship of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, and sent him into exile.
That seemingly small, inconsequential act in Tunisia set off alarms all over the Middle East and that spark of defiance against authority triggered a massive peoples’ revolt in Egypt. This was an awakening of the thirst for independence and free expression so long dormant in that region of the world. It’s too early to draw solid conclusions, and this great movement might flounder and collapse, but all indications are that the Middle East is now primed to undergo a transformation that could not have been previously imagined.
As this revolution gathers strength, in Israel there is silence, and a growing apprehension and paranoia about the future. In America, mixed emotions are evident as the powers in Washington see the potential rise of democracy as a big plus; but there also is evidence of a fear of what the loss of friendly dictators in Egypt and other nations will do to diminish the control and domination that America has enjoyed and profited from for so many decades. When the U.S. emerged as the supreme power after World War II, and the state of Israel was created in 1948, the combination of these two nations has had a pervasive, controlling influence over the entire region.
From that time forward, the power and control by the U.S. and Israel has grown ever stronger and increasingly dominant. How much power? Well, the tiny state of Israel is easily the most potent and aggressive military force in that region and it just happens to be one of the world’s top nuclear powers. Secondly, the U.S. is undisputedly the reigning superpower on this planet and its special interests, primarily petroleum, are the #1 reason for its massive presence in the region.
What now for Israel in this atmosphere of revolution? For certain Israel’s already advanced state of paranoia is yet increasing as its leaders contemplate how radically the Middle East may change as the people throw out the dictators and begin new systems of government. With the people gaining more control over their own destiny, over time, the suffocating influence of the U.S. will begin to diminish and, as that happens, Israel will become ever more isolated.
While the Egyptian military currently in control has clearly stated that the long time peace treaty between Israel and Egypt will remain in effect, we can look for those who will eventually govern Egypt to refuse to continue to take part in Israel’s stranglehold, suffocation and inhuman blockade of Palestine; to think that a people newly freed from tyranny would remain a party to the cruel suppression and oppression of their neighbors would be unthinkable.. This will be the beginning of a new day for the people of Gaza and Palestine.
The big danger, considering Israel’s long history of military confrontation in the area will be a regional war. If Israel’s relationship with Egypt, its only semi-friend, deteriorates and it feels threatened by an emboldened Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Hezbolla, and Hamas, it could easily overreact and resort to military force. Let’s hope that will not happen but Israel has a distinct reputation for swiftly using deadly military force when it feels its back is against the wall.
Israel must finally understand that the old way of doing business is over; trying to use any kind of force against this rising tide of Middle East independence will simply not work. It must understand that its aggressive, often belligerent actions against its neighbors will no longer be tolerated. Israel must take part in a new era of cooperation and diplomacy or it will become ever more isolated and ostracized.
What then for the U.S.? The U.S. must also undergo a huge awakening and an acceptance of the reality of the emerging Middle East. The long support and cooperation with dictators is over, a thing of the past. There must never be another invasion and occupation of any nation in that region such as took place in Iraq and, in fact, U.S. troops must fully exit Iraq based upon the established schedule to begin in July 2011.
I saw these comments recently in the Chicago Tribune; “Obama administration faces daunting tasks in helping to shape Egypt’s future.” Also, “U.S. needs to push for democratic reforms in other Middle East nations.” No! Egypt and its neighbors do not need the U.S. to either shape their futures or push their reforms; the people began the revolution, they need to form their own governments and create their own destiny. The last thing they need is more meddling in their affairs.
As the revolutionary movement grows and develops, there will be more and more pressure for American troops to leave that region and for the closure of its military bases. Such long overdue changes would lead to even more pressure on the U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan which, incidentally, are rapidly deteriorating. Considering that fact and all the potential, cascading events that could take place in the Middle East, this could be the turning point in history that will be recorded as the time that the U.S. military empire began a rapid retrenchment.
Yes, in the coming years, we will be witnessing both a beginning and an end; the beginning of a new era, new hope and advances as the dictators and oppressors are driven out and government of the people rules. As that transformation develops the U.S. and Israel will have to go through their own transformation, adopting a completely new form of foreign policy in that region.
The days of power, control and domination of this critical region of the world by military hegemony are drawing to an end. That kind of foreign policy in dealing with the sovereign nations of that region no longer is acceptable, cannot be tolerated and must end. It is time that the U.S. and Israel accept reality and adopt a new form of foreign policy, diplomacy and cooperation, or face the consequences of eventual exclusion from participating in a new, growing and vibrant Middle East.
Author’s Bio: Michael Payne is an independent progressive who writes articles about domestic social and political matters as well as American foreign policy. His major goal is to convince Americans that our perpetual wars must end before they bankrupt our nation. His articles have appeared on Online Journal, Information Clearing House, Peak Oil, Google News and websites around the world.