The mega flap over the National Security Administration’s electronic surveillance rages on this week. The chief leaker, Edward Snowden is hied away in Hong Kong, President Obama has assured the American people that he’s “only do this to protect the people”, which is apparently how most Americans see it. Civil libertarians are outraged, the Republican “gotcha” media overjoyed and as there has been relative peace post 9/11 on the homefront (plus the realization that “online privacy” is mythical in and of itself), this too shall pass.
Too bad that it will. Not just because government snooping (and its corporate twin) are an ugly intrusion but really because the underlying story–also the story of 9/11 itself–will fade. The actual cause of Middle Eastern nationalism and the terrorism that comes with it isn’t that “Muslims are crazy” or “they don’t know how to be free and we must show them” but is actually the ceaseless meddling in the affairs of these nations that has characterized US and the UK’s dealings with same for 100 years.
Overthrowing popular regimes hostile to American interests like Iran, 1953 or propping up the Shah, Mubarak, Saddam (a former “ally”) or Assad has created legions of pissed off Middle Easterners (that at various points admired the US as the #1 nation in the world). High unemployment among the young plus ceaseless anti-American propaganda from their state run media’s is part of it, but were it not for a few incontrovertible facts–The US’ automatic backing of Israel in all matters as well as fealty to the Saudi royal family’s autocracy has convinced millions of people that America is no friend to them at all.
Drone bombing ain’t helping, either.
It isn’t like they don’t know why, either. Protecting the interests of petroleum companies has been priority #1–used to be called “protecting the oil supply” (the “Carter Doctrine”), but at this point, that is a major league load of bovine poop. The US gets less than 13% of the oil it uses from the Persian Gulf and is now a net exporter of petroleum. Therefore, the protection in question isn’t for the US consumer or its security, but for oil company’s revenues and profits–all subsidized by (you guessed it) American taxpayers.
Stop fucking meddling. Stop fucking meddling in their affairs–remove the US military from the Gulf (let the oil companies create their own security minus the military that’s paid from our taxes), stop the bowing and scraping to Al Qaeda backing Saudis, stop reflexively assuming “Israel good, Arabs, bad” and acting accordingly and guess what? Out of sight, out of mind—the notion that “Muslims hate our way of life and want to wage a holy war against us” is belied by the simple fact that the world’s largest Muslim nation has so far ignored most things American. “Live and let live” is the sanest philosophy one can embrace in one’s personal life, why not in one’s political life as well?