This approach puts Obama into the strange company of a disastrously failed German policy that thought it could manipulate Islamists against the British and French, the French strategy of using radicals against the British and Americans, or the Eisenhower Administration that thought for a few years (1953-1956) it could help radical nationalists—notably Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser—and then Islamists against pro-Soviet leftists. Of course, Nasser soon emerged as the main pro-Soviet leader, just as the Islamists will soon emerge as the main anti-American force in the region.
In fact, we’ve reached the point where–from a radical Arab point of view–one could say that the United States is trying to make Islamism a tool of Western imperialism! After all, isn’t the U.S. government backing a local ideology’s regimes and movements because it [albeit wrongly] believes that this is the best choice to secure its own objectives in the region?
And the Obama Administration has also been trying to do so alongside distancing itself from Israel somewhat. Those two factors matches the classic, historic British and French imperial strategy in the region. This wouldn’t be the first time that a Western country backed a supposed puppet that turned out to be a puppeteer-eating one.
Originally published at Rubin Reports.Barry Rubin
About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.
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