Few Americans seem to have noticed, but a huge number of Middle Easterners have a very different opinion about the deployment of American military power in the region than they did a few years ago.
In the run-up to the 2003 war, no Middle East government — not even Israel — lobbied for regime change in Iraq. Indeed, the US-led invasion was all but unanimously opposed in the region. Today, by contrast, Middle East governments almost unanimously support a US military strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities.
The only reason Iran has not been attacked, or at least threatened with an attack if it doesn’t stand down, is because both the Bush and Obama administrations have so far been against it. We were too aggressive for most in the Middle East earlier, but now we’re too passive. Just look at the latest batch of WikiLeaks.
“The danger of letting [Iran’s nuclear-weapon program] go on is greater than the danger of stopping it,” said Bahrain’s King Hamid. “Cut off the head of the snake,” an aide to Saudi King Abdullah said to Gen. David Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. “Iraq was unnecessary,” Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said, referring to the US-led invasion. “Iran is necessary.”
American “imperialism” apparently isn’t so bad if it serves regional interests. As Middle East blogger Jesse Aizenstat once put it, “There is nothing like a fanatical band of Persian cats to bind the Semitic tribes.”