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The Roots of the anti-Americanism in the Arab World PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 20 April 2005 16:38
There is unquestionably a great deal and a very strong and widespread Anti-American feeling in the Arab world.  A feeling which sometimes boils to very severe hatred and spills overtime in frequently very atrocious incidents.  I would like to emphasize and from the start that this discussion relates more to the American establishment, the small stratum from the topmost of the ruling hierarchy from the successive administrations and not to the average American men and women who I think are very nice, compassionate and extremely friendly.

For decades, the United States since its independence has practiced a policy of non-participation in alliances or the affairs of other nations, this isolationism has stemmed from George Washington’s farewell address in September 1796, which was confirmed in the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 and observed by the successive administrations both Republican and Democrats until the opening of the 20th century.  Even then there was a good deal of isolationist feelings which contributed to the American people's rejection of President Wilson’s international ideal of the league of nations.  Isolationism was only relinquished after the shock of Pearl Harbor which after a lot of hesitation forced the United States to enter the war against Nazi Germany and its fascist allies, the involvement of the United States guaranteed the defeat of the axis but it also saw the victors, Britain, France and the others including the Soviet Union in severely weakened states very devastated and in increasingly powerless positions.  The only real victor was the United States which emerged in spite of a lot of loss of blood and treasure practically unscathed.  The increasing powerlessness of the previous powers in the Middle East resulted in a great political and strategic vacuum to which the United States was drawn and within a very short time became the truly dominant power and came very slowly to replace the previous powers as the number one power in the world and in the region.  This dominance was to prove only a short lived thing, because the Soviet Union has started to challenge the position of the United States and was continually threatening its super power position in a very nasty cold war and finally with its acquisition of the atomic bomb in the early fifties became a real challenge to the United States assuming a super power status itself and posing very serious threats to America’s interests all over the world and especially in the Middle East.

Since the beginning of the last century and after a long period of isolationism.  America started to get involved in policies outside its borders and in the affairs of states outside its borders, but this has been associated from the beginning with a great deal of anti-American feeling a very genuine and widespread amongst the Arabs.  This I think has basically stemmed from two main sources:  America’s unlimited and unquestioning support of Israel and its policies.  The backing in the Middle East of various hereditary regimes and the pseudo republics, which are all without exception corrupt, useless and without any real support from their people and who have reached the summits of political and administrative power either on the back of few military vehicles, or after assassinating their fathers, or their other predecessors, or after some grossly distorted and manipulated elections.  These regimes have universally failed to deliver, they have continuously failed the aspirations of their people, provide a minimum of freedom of speech, due processes of law, equality for women, and the basic requirements of democracy and the other developments sorely needed in the Arab world.  These were the structures on whom America came to depend upon in securing its widening and increasingly vital interests in the Middle East after it came to assume the status of a super power after the end of the Second World War during the closing decade of the last decade of the first half of the 20th century and all the second half.

The second reason for these phenomena was and is still America’s unlimited and unquestioning support of Israel.  Israel was proclaimed a state in a part of Palestine on the 14th of May 1948, when the British mandate over Palestine expired, the new state was to occupy the part of Palestine which was allocated to it under the United Nations resolution which has partitioned Palestine between the Arabs and the Jews.  The Jews were to establish the homeland which was promised to them on the 2nd of November 1917 by Earl Balfour, who was then Britain’s foreign secretary.  The United Nation’s resolution partitioning Palestine was secured after a massive pressure from the Truman administration on various Latin American and African countries and to prove his commitment to the newly established state President Harry Truman officially recognized it only few minutes after its declaration and continued during his tenure to provide it with all its financial, economic and diplomatic needs.  This policy was continued by all the successive US administrations until today irrespective of the damage it caused to the Arabs and their aspirations, and very often to America’s own interests in the region.

When the Jewish state was established, the neighboring Arab countries refused to recognize it and invaded it the following day.  The Arabs failed to throw the Jews in the sea as they were hoping and the conflict stalemated for a year during which Israel was able to expand its territory by about a quarter, and finally the war was ended by a series of cease fires from January to March 1949.  The tensions with the Arabs continued and were punctuated by three major wars during which a lot of human life and resources were destroyed until today.  The unlimited American support all of which has added to the animus against the Americans, which has already resulted from its support to the ruling elates and the awful regimes in this part of the world.

The clock has turned once again and with the collapse of the Soviet Empire.  The United States is now back to the position of the supreme power, but I am afraid all this power and influence can be very seriously threatened at least in this extremely vital part of the world by this very gross anti-Americanism.  America’s latest adventure in invading and occupying Iraq and the way it behaving in our country has added a lot of salt to an already very serious wound.

Dr. Najeeb Hanoudi
Amman, April 20, 2005
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