ANTI-AMERICANISM IN THE MIDDLE EAST
April 28, 2012
ANTI-AMERICANISM IN THE MIDDLE EAST
The roots of anti-American perceptions and views cannot be described through an overall assumption of Middle Eastern perceptions. It is far more complicated than a simple assumption that negative feelings towards the United States exist throughout the entire Arab World. To define anti-Americanism is difficult in that the term allows for such a broad range of ideas and attitudes that cannot be isolated to one exact focus. It is, in a sense, a range of ideas that can be described as critical towards American culture, society, government and economic policies. This ideology must be analyzed in terms of the historical and modern significance, and where and how this critical view of the United States came to be. American perspectives of the Middle East and the Arab World are described violently through the American media, as depicted in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Israel and Iran as well as political imbalance in countries such as Egypt, Syria and Yemen. A growing factor can be traced to the important resource of oil and how many believe is what drives American influence in this region. From disgruntled Middle Eastern perspectives, The United States is a materialistic and greedy Nation that causes problems in many regions of the world in the pursuit of economic benefit. As tensions between these two regions has escalated, it is important to decipher Middle Eastern views of the United States and what events have caused criticism of American political and economical ideologies throughout many countries of the Middle East.
HISTORY OF AMERICAN INFLUENCE IN MIDDLE EAST
Since the end of World War II in 1945 there has been developing attraction to the Middle East, and this region has become a top priority for superpower occupation for the United States. This quote from Edward Said’s ‘Orientalism’ provides valuable insight into the perceptions behind American interest in the Middle East. “During and after the Second World War, the escalation in United States interest in the Middle East was remarkable. Cairo, Teheran, and North Africa were important arenas of war, and in that setting, with the exploitation of its oil, strategic and human resources pioneered by Britain and France, the United States prepared for its new postwar imperial role.”1
A reason for the pursuit of this region is the economic benefits of oil, which is the foremost globally demanded commodity.
Towards the late summer of 1945 the world was at a crucial moment. The Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan had suffered defeat in the Second World War and surrendered to the Allied powers of the U.S., Soviet Union and United Kingdom among others. Throughout the fighting, North Africa became one of the largest theatres of battle during the Second World War. This region was contested between Nazi Germany and the Americans and British. The importance of this region was that beyond Egypt and across the Suez Canal was the beginning of the oil fields of the Middle East. The British controlled this area throughout the war and understood the vastness of the oil resources that were capable of being produced in the Middle East, which could ultimately alter the war in Europe. If Germany had advanced across the Suez Canal and initiated the potential production capacity of the oil reserves, it could have had a drastic affect on the outcome of the war. Oil proved to be an indispensable commodity and this paved the way for the future of the Middle East and relationships between the superpowers of the world. “World War II, however, had further underlined the crucial and growing importance of oil, which was coming to play a more vital role than ever before.”2 This quote describes the emerging importance behind oil resources following its significance during the Second World War. Germany had...
Cited: Said, Edward W.. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978
Wawro, Geoffrey. Quicksand: America 's pursuit of power in the Middle East. Toronto, Ontario: The Penguin Press, 2010.
Yazid, Sayigh. The Cold War and the Middle East. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.
The World Factbook 2012. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2012.
Briody, Dan. The Halliburton agenda the politics of oil and money. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2004.
Mirsepassi, Ali. Political Islam, Iran, and the enlightenment: philosophies of hope and despair. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011
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