US, at a Loss in Middle East

In huge contrast to the violent reforms that followed the Cold War, Kosovo, Gulf and Afghan and Iraq wars, Russia and the United States have reached an agreement to ease the situation in Syria. In part, this is truly thanks to the intelligence and determination of U.S. leaders, but its basic reasoning is that the U.S. is unsatisfied with how politics in the Middle East, along with current political trends in the world, are playing out.

To strengthen and solidify its range of power, the U.S. certainly needs to overthrow Assad, as it did with Hussein and Gadhafi. It will undoubtedly support Syrian rebels employing its constant “democratic” standard of politics. The problem is that among the rebels — between those opposed to the U.S. and America’s own stance against Islamic extremists and secular nationalists gaining power — it cannot find agents to support through the use of democratic power.

In this case, what good is democracy to America? Chemical weapons cannot be used in politics to carry out major policies and war strategies. Obviously, because of this, the U.S. supports democracy — however, not as a basic principle, but to assess gains and losses. Until now, America’s goal has been to weaken Assad’s regime without allowing the rebels to gain power. Thus, the situation in Syria continues to be at a deadlock, dragging out any changes.

The U.S. was already at a loss in 2011, when a wave of reforms began to sweep across the Middle East. These last 10 years, dictatorships that have collapsed and new governments formed with American democratic leadership have not evolved the way the U.S. had imagined. Although the U.S. has tried its best to politically control these new governments — such as by taking advantage of Gadhafi’s overthrow — this time, the U.S. is not the leader in the reformations. Tracing the source, although this conflict is confusing and has changed repeatedly, it is the ideals of Islamic fundamentalists opposed to national secularists, independence versus foreign dependence and grassroots democracy against dictatorships. Domestically, the basic motive is to change social inequality, while internationally, it is to change the country’s low status in international politics. It is obvious, as in the reforms for Saudi citizens, that they seek a new political administration and social system to develop their country. This is what Saudi Arabia has come to realize, and this has also shaken U.S. supremacy in the Middle East. America, of course, will not support this kind of democratic reform. However, it also cannot abandon democracy and publicly oppose reforms and, as a result, can only dodge questions, use empty words or hesitate over decisions.

In the conflict in Egypt, the U.S. publicly urged the Egyptian military to quickly reinstate democracy but, in essence, consented to so much that it even supported the elected President Morsi and let go of the pro-U.S. dictator Mubarak. This decision was not for the stability or democracy of Egypt but for the America to infiltrate deeper in order to gain the largest impact on the secular military, keeping it from changing 10 years of alliance, so that it could continue to have influential power and protect its economic and strategic interests. Therefore, the U.S. does not emphasize the appeal of democratic elections, trading its own interests for a principle that is not really a principle it holds in the first place.

In addition, the U.S. has always kept from asking anything about the implementation of democracy from the hereditary, part-feudal, part-capitalist Gulf monarchies, even helping their militaries to suppress democratic movements. America does not speak of these types of principles — above all else it works for its own interests, using ideology to engage in a power play that damages its political image and weakens support for it. As a result, many reformers and those who have been forced to reform are unsatisfied with America, and even Western allies are keeping their distance. The U.S. stands completely opposed to democratic reforms in the Middle East, which is the main reason it has lost political dominance.

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