A Kennedy Looks at the Mideast Wars

The Dulles brothers are not so far removed from the present-day Middle East. Americans may not know or care to know the origins of conflict throughout the region, but the past holds lessons for future policy

 

John Foster Dulles (R), greeted by his brother, Allan. 1948. Photo courtesy of AFP/AFP/Getty Images
John Foster Dulles (R), greeted by his brother Allen. 1948. Photo courtesy of AFP/Getty Images

 


 

A Not-So-Distant History Lesson

Africa-Middle East, Dec 24, 2015. Photo from DSCOVR-EPIC NASA mission
Christmas eve, 2015, sequence of photos of planet Earth spinning in space taken by the EPIC camera aboard the NASA DSCOVR satellite from a distance of approx 1 million miles… highlighted are North Africa and the Middle East

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Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria

They don’t hate ‘our freedoms.’ They hate that we’ve betrayed our ideals in their own countries — for oil

 

By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr
 

In part because my father was murdered by an Arab, I’ve made an effort to understand the impact of U.S. policy in the Mideast and particularly the factors that sometimes motivate bloodthirsty responses from the Islamic world against our country. As we focus on the rise of the Islamic State and search for the source of the savagery that took so many innocent lives in Paris and San Bernardino, we might want to look beyond the convenient explanations of religion and ideology. Instead we should examine the more complex rationales of history and oil — and how they often point the finger of blame back at our own shores…

In July 1957, following a failed coup in Syria by the CIA, my uncle, Sen. John F. Kennedy, infuriated the Eisenhower White House, the leaders of both political parties and our European allies with a milestone speech endorsing the right of self-governance in the Arab world and an end to America’s imperialist meddling in Arab countries. Throughout my lifetime, and particularly during my frequent travels to the Mideast, countless Arabs have fondly recalled that speech to me as the clearest statement of the idealism they expected from the U.S. Kennedy’s speech was a call for recommitting America to the high values our country had championed in the Atlantic Charter; the formal pledge that all the former European colonies would have the right to self-determination following World War II…

The so called “Bruce-Lovett Report”… described CIA coup plots in Jordan, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Egypt, all common knowledge on the Arab street, but virtually unknown to the American people who believed, at face value, their government’s denials. The report blamed the CIA for the rampant anti-Americanism that was then mysteriously taking root “in the many countries in the world today.” The Bruce-Lovett Report pointed out that such interventions were antithetical to American values and had compromised America’s international leadership and moral authority without the knowledge of the American people.

The report also said that the CIA never considered how we would treat such interventions if some foreign government were to engineer them in our country.

This is the bloody history that modern interventionists like George W. Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio miss when they recite their narcissistic trope that Mideast nationalists “hate us for our freedoms.” For the most part they don’t; instead they hate us for the way we betrayed those freedoms — our own ideals — within their borders.

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For Americans to really understand what’s going on, it’s important to review some details about this sordid but little-remembered history….

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Kennedy’s thoughtful reflection can be accessed at the conservative-leaning Politico

http://www.politico.eu/article/why-the-arabs-dont-want-us-in-syria-mideast-conflict-oil-intervention/

 
 

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