But now the U.S. and North America are nearing self-sufficiency in oil and gas production. The United States soon will not need much Middle East or Mediterranean oil. Perhaps the oil-hungry Chinese and Europeans can deal better with Sunnis, Shiites, Baathists, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the theocrats in Iran, Bashir Assad, the coup in Egypt, and whoever is rioting, blowing themselves up, or storming an embassy this week.
In sum, Middle-East teenage strutting, pontification, boutique anti-Americanism, brutal anti-Western terrorism, and general game-playing were always predicated on one common denominator: the parent U.S. felt it just had to put up with the whining of the adolescent Middle East.
America either needed Middle East oil, or it had humanitarian concerns and wanted greater freedom and prosperity for millions of the oppressed. Or it once worried about Soviet communism, then al-Qaeda fundamentalism, and then Iranian weapons. Or it ensured that the world’s sea lanes in and out of the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal were open and safe. Or it protected Europe’s southern flank when Europe itself would not. Or it worried about vulnerable Israel.
The American taxpayer always needed coaxing to keep committed to all that.
Yet with Obama something quite new followed: a true isolationist and neo-neutralist president. A cool Barack Hussein Obama, who referenced his paternal connections to Islam and who was a proud man of the Left. A president who was skeptical of Israel and, with an eye to public support, a critic of past U.S. interventions. He wanted out of the region at all costs. The American people, tired of serial wars abroad, snoozed their agreement.
And now? The double-dealing Middle East is double-dealt — and shocked, shocked! — that anyone would be, well, so double-dealing!
Obamism could not have happened to a nicer region.