THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, USA

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Volume XIV, Issue # 144, July 1, 2012
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor
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WILL THE MIDDLE EAST LOSE ITS IMPORTANCE?
By Dr. Daniel Pipes

SHOULD UNITED STATES FOREIGN & NATIONAL-SECURITY POLICYMAKERS BE LESS CONCERNED WITH EVENTS IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD?  SHOULD U.S. POLICYMAKERS LOOK WITH MORE COMPLACENCY ON THE RISE & FALL OF PARTICULAR REGIMES ACROSS THE MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA?
FULL STORY:   In a provocative and well executed article in the July/August issue of the National Interest, "The Fading Arab Oil Empire," Paul D. Miller, Assistant Professor of International-Security Studies at the National Defense University, argues:

    "The geostrategic importance of the Middle East is vastly overblown. The region matters to the United States of America chiefly because of its influence in the world oil market, but that influence has been in terminal decline for a generation, a fact almost wholly unnoticed by outside observers."

Professor Miller proceeds to make a sensible argument about oil becoming less important and the Middle East losing its comparative advantage at producing oil, concluding:

    "In two decades or so, the global oil market and the Middle East's geopolitical influence will be dramatically different from what they are today. The importance of this development cannot be overstated. It is a tectonic shift in the geopolitical balance of power, a strategically pivotal development only slightly less momentous than the fall of the Soviet Union. It is the slow-motion collapse of the Middle Eastern oil empire.

This implies, for Miller, that Washington

    ". . . can and should begin to adapt its foreign policy to reflect these realities. It can look with more complacency on the rise and fall of particular regimes across the Middle East and North Africa. The changing realities of the world energy market do not mean the United States can or should ignore the Middle East. Certainly, Israel's security and Iran's behavior will keep the region a focus for policy makers' attention. But, placed in a global perspective, the United States has more or deeper interests at stake in other regions of the world especially Europe and Asia than in the Middle East."

This argument is belied by several facts. First, the very cover of the July/August issue of the National Interest, with a tattered flag and a lead essay titled "Requiem for the Two-State Promise: Israel Tightens Its Grip on the Occupied Lands," negates Miller's point. Passions about the Arab-Israeli conflict have only remotely to do with oil. The anti-Zionist forces that rallied in Durban in 2001 and the pro-Israel forces that rally each Spring at the AIPAC policy conference devote roughly zero percent of their thoughts to oil, gas, or any other hydrocarbons.

Second, Islamism, as the only dynamic utopian and totalitarian ideology extant in the world today, and which largely originates in the Middle East, presents a civilizational danger only somewhat connected to oil (the appeal of Islamism will probably decline along with revenues).

Third, the region, located at the center of the inhabited world, bristles with dangers, including tyranny, violence, WMD, and war. These affect everything from sea lane security to refugee immigrants to domestic security arrangements (take a walk around the White House for a vivid demonstration of the latter). Only in the Middle East are whole countries in danger of extinction. Several countries have descended into anarchy, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, and Libya.

For these reasons, I doubt that Miller's advice that U.S. policymakers "look with more complacency on the rise and fall of particular regimes across the Middle East and North Africa" will be listened to anytime soon.


Daniel Pipes 2012
Originally Published in National Review Online, July 1, 2012
Republished with the Permission of Daniel Pipes
Reprinted from the DanielPipes.org, July 1, 2012
URL: http://www.danielpipes.org/


LINKS TO RELATED TOPICS:
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
Page Three    Page Two    Page One

Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors

American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East

International Politics & World Disorder:
War, Peace, & Geopolitics in the Real World:
Foreign Affairs & U.S. National Security

   Page Two    Page One

Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.

Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization

Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies

Counterterrorism & U.S. National Security

U.S. National Security Strategy


Dr. Daniel Pipes, a Ph.D. in Islamic History (Harvard University, 1978), is Founder and President of the Middle East Forum, Publisher of Middle East Quarterly, Founder of Campus Watch, Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, a signatory of the Project for the New American Century, a former board member of the U.S. Institute of Peace, a former adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Golden Circle supporter of the U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon, a former member of the U.S. Department of Defense Special Task Force on Terrorism and Technology, and a former lecturer at the U.S. Naval War College, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pipes was the Director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute from 1986 to 1993.

Author or co-author of eighteen books, Dr. Pipes is a regular columnist for National Review Online, Front Page Magazine, the New York Sun, and the Jerusalem Post. His analyses of world trends and of forces and developments in the Middle East have appeared in numerous North American newspapers, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He frequently appears on American network television, as well as at universities and think tanks, to discuss the Middle East, Islam, and the Islamist threat to the U.S.A. and the West. He also has appeared on BBC and Al Jazeera, and has lectured in approximately twenty-five countries.

Dr. Pipes is a Polish-American Jew whose parents fled Poland in 1939, immigrated to the U.S.A., and assimilated well into American society and culture. His father is Richard Pipes, an American historian specializing in Russian and Soviet history and serving as Professor of History at Harvard University from 1950 until his retirement in 1996. During the Cold War, the worldview of Richard Pipes was strongly anti-Soviet and anti-Communist.




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