Here’s an interesting piece in the NYTimes Op-Ed section by Ray Takeyh. He makes some interesting points but makes ill-informed generalizations elsewhere. Take this statement for example: “The struggle of the Middle East during the past century was a determined quest to exempt itself from great-power rivalry and superpower dominance. This is a populace that eagerly participated in bloody anti-colonial struggles, lent its sympathies to those calling for neutralism from the Cold War power blocs, and expressed its solidarity with third-world revolutionary resistance.”
Wait, did I miss something? What struggle is he talking about? Every country in the Middle East during the Cold War was aligned with one super power or another. Iran, Israel, the Saudis and the rest of the Gulf were with the Americans for most or all of the Cold War (Iran broke its pact with the US after ’79 and Israel and the US strengthen ties after the ’67 war). Iraq, Syria, and Libya were closely aligned with the Soviets. Even Egypt under Nasser, who sought to take Egypt on a non-aligned course, eventually threw in its lot with the Soviets only to have Nasser’s successor, Sadat, switch sides to the US. So what’s the deal with Takeyh’s generalization about “The struggle of the Middle East during the past century was a determined quest to exempt itself from great-power rivalry and superpower dominance.”?
Also, he adds prophetically: “The theocratic Iranian state has long abjured America’s entreaties and seems determined to obtain a bomb at all cost.” Wait, I must not have gotten the memo, I didn’t realize that this is a fact now.