American Hegemony

Instead of managing crises, the United States has aimed at resolving them through war. Whoever wins the elections has the task of recreating stability in the “New Middle East”.

In 2003, the politics of the United States towards the Middle East has showed a sharp turn in respect to previous decades. Before the invasion of Iraq, it tended toward containment and management of crises and to negotiation with existing regimes. But following, rather than seeking an equilibrium of forces, it sought to impose an American hegemony, passing from containment to confrontation, from crisis management to resolution by way of war.

Washington has furthermore shown a propensity to modify existing regimes instead of negotiating with them, trying to ruin them in a violent way, as in the case of Iraq or threatening use to force as in that of Iran and Syria. Meanwhile towards countries that are allies, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, it has pursued an objective to favor a rapid process of democratization.

The New Middle East had to become an area of American influence with pro-western governments that were freely elected: an expectation based on positive experiences in Western Europe and in the Far East after the Second World War and in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union.

However, in the Middle East things did not go as planned. Iraq, which was supposed to become a democratic, prosperous and grateful state, has collapsed into conflict and violence. Iran, which should have lowered its head after the invasion of Iraq, has on the contrary gained confidence, assuming an attitude of challenge. The elections that should have brought to power new directing pro- western classes, favored Islamist anti-American extremists, particularly in Palestine, but also in Egypt and Jordan.

Terrorism, that should have quieted down after the United States interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, instead developed, finding new outlets in the latter country and in Pakistan. The American attempt to found a “New Middle East” seemed only to recreate a similar state of issues, but with a new series of problems: an Iraq in collapse, an even more warlike Iran, religious tensions between Sunni and Shiite and a constant expansion of terrorist activity in the name of holy war.

Any new government at Washington will have to try to recreate stability. But this means renouncing attempts to modify existing regimes and instead collaborating with the governments in office to re-establish good long-lasting relations. And in particular, rapidly strengthening the Iraqi state and its security forces, as well as the Gulf Arab countries their capacity to counterbalance to Iranian power. More specifically, this signifies concentrating attention on the principle conflicts of the region and trying seriously to resolve them.

In the case of Israelis and Palestinians, the first objective is to block the Hebrew settlements in Trans-Jordan and abandon the politics regarding isolation of Hamas forever, that remains one of the principle representatives of the Palestinian people.

In terms of relations between Lebanon and Syria, it is necessary to adopt a firm attitude towards the latter country, but also to re-initiate negotiations for the restoration of the Golan Heights as a fundamental card to play for a reconciliation between Jerusalem and Damascus.

Finally in the case of the contention between Baghdad and Teheran, the job of guaranteeing the security of Iraq and favoring development should be maintained, but also one should try again for a compromise with Iran that induces it to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for the renunciation. On the part of Washington, it must work on sustaining the internal rebellion and pursuing the objective of a change of regime, acknowledging it a role in the process of re-organization of the Middle East that contributes to resolving problems rather than creating them.

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