Arab SpringMy cousin, who lives in Australia (but is an American citizen,) was telling me that a lot of people down there enjoy taking the U.S. down a peg or two.  In particular, he was telling me...

Arab Spring

My cousin, who lives in Australia (but is an American citizen,) was telling me that a lot of people down there enjoy taking the U.S. down a peg or two.  In particular, he was telling me that many folks are of the opinion that our invasion of Iraq/Afghanistan was unnecessary as the Middle East is moving toward democracy on its own, as seen in recent events.  What are people's opinions on this?  Has our "intervention" in the region inspired current trends, or simply shed a lot of blood and treasure?

Asked on by ophelious

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ophelious's profile pic

ophelious | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Of course the American invasion of Iraq was not unnecessary; it was essential to protect oil resources for consumption by Americans.

I don't think any nation in the right mind is going to spend billions of dollars over a prolonged period of time to ensure peace and democracy in another nation. A short intervention by an organization like the UN may sound reasonable but not what the US has been doing.

I guess most of the others here would be offended by my views about the US, but its just the way I feel about this.

 I'm not so sure about this.  If our invasion was instigated to protect oil resources, than why aren't we getting any?  Why is oil more expensive than ever?  If we were really interested in just getting access to oil, we would have lifted the embargo and let Saddam sell what he wanted.  If we had wanted to secure oil it was there for our taking after the war.  Nobody could have stopped us from "protecting" it, or harvesting it under the guise of "paying us back for liberating them."

I'm not saying that, in the first gulf war, it wasn't a major concern. If Saddam had rolled over the middle east he could have gotten the world in a headlock.  But once he was shoved back, if oil was what we wanted, it would have been a lot easier to slap him on the wrist and then let him start selling his oil again to drive prices down.

I don't find your opinion offensive, just realistic.  When a nation has enough problems of its own it's hard to justify dumping resources into someone else's problem.  The Bush team didn't think through the ramifications of the pond they were jumping in to. They thought it would be an "in and out" kind of thing.  But once we got into the mess we started, we were stuck with a moral obligation (and a security one) to stick it out.

 

belarafon's profile pic

belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree with #2 up to a point; I've said for years that we need to stop fighting everyone else's wars for them and let people figure out their fate on their own. However, as #7 points out, every facet of a conflict has its own separate cause and effect; they work together to form a resolution but we have to read backwards to discover how we got there.

As far as anti-American sentiment goes, we've been seeing that for decades. It's not the single fault of any policy or administration; the way I see it, with the U.S. sticking its political fingers in everything everywhere, people are becoming resentful of the meddling. On the other hand, it's probably not true that movements like the Arab Spring were already starting before the most recent Iraq War. It seems to me that there were no plans by the U.N. or any other overseeing body to take action on the brutal dictatorships of Iraq, Libya, or even intercede in more reasonable ones like Egypt.

See also:

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=39696&Cr=arab+spring&Cr1=

justaguide's profile pic

justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Of course the American invasion of Iraq was not unnecessary; it was essential to protect oil resources for consumption by Americans.

I don't think any nation in the right mind is going to spend billions of dollars over a prolonged period of time to ensure peace and democracy in another nation. A short intervention by an organization like the UN may sound reasonable but not what the US has been doing.

I guess most of the others here would be offended by my views about the US, but its just the way I feel about this.

kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

It would seem to be too idealistic to suggest that the energy of opposition has not influenced latent or suppressed nationalistic feelings against oppression. Everything affects and is effected by everything else, whether we perceive it or not (this is no longer a sentimental fantasy; it has been proven by quantum physics through such things as results skewed by the affect of observation and quantum entanglement whereby unrelated quantum particles affect each other, you can see it at the Newtonian level as well through entrainment). So I would suggest that, yes, the interventions have influenced current trends. However it would be a logical fallacy to further suggest that (2) therefore, without the influence, the trends would not have become full-blown on their own or that (2) the military intervention is thereby justified. All are separate considerations and all have their own separate logical foundations from which to expand consideration.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

There are many in the US who feel the same way as your cousin, myself included.  Most have forgotten the invasion of Iraq was over the existence of imaginary WMD's and the threat they would pose to the US and allies.  I'm glad Saddam Hussein is gone and the people of Iraq have a chance at democracy, I just don't know it was worth nearly 4800 American dead, over 32000 wounded, and as many as 600,000 Iraqi casualties, not to mention $814 billion in treasure.  It has been a catastrophic mistake in my opinion.

I would also suggest that the recent world economic downturn has had more to do with the current trends in the "Arab Spring" than US policies.  It remains to be seen how radicalized revolutionary elements in those countries truly is or is not.

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In the long run, the answer to your question isn't going to be fully known for a good number of years. The Arab Spring may have started some changes in some countries and cultures, but whether those changes will be able to take root and survive in the form of continuing democratization of governments remains to be seen.

I don't think US military intervention in the area is as directly responsible for any changes that have or have not occurred as is the rise of technology and the rapid communication it facilitates. The US can take credit or blame (depending on your point of view) for helping to create the internet and the social communications networks that have been critical to the organizers of Arab Spring events.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It isn't just Australians who are interested in seeing the US being taken down a peg or two, as you put it! Let us remember that in countries such as Afghanistan foreign intervention has a disastrous history, stretching back to Britain and then Russia. Attempts to create a stable democracy have not been helped by foreign invasion, and, in some ways, have exacerbated the situation. I do agree however that now one of the worst things the US could do would be to pull out and leave Iraq and Afghanistan to somehow form a peaceful democracy themselves.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I can't really see any connection between our intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan and the rebellions/revolutions that have arisen.  The countries which we have actually invaded are not seeing any such movements.  Moreover, the countries that are most closely connected to us (Saudi Arabia and Bahrain) are just as repressive as ever.  I just don't any credible way to say that it was our involvement in Iraq that pushed Egypt and Tunisia and Libya towards these revolutions.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Personally, I think there have been some indications of progress, but most of them have occurred since we have intervened. Right now, because we have intervened, I think it would make matters worse to simply pull out and leave the region to fend for itself.

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