|Trust Me, You Heathen Buggers!|
First came WWI and we told them that if they sided with us instead of their ruling Ottomans then, once we had defeated the Germans and their Ottoman allies, we would ensure their freedom.
Germany and the Ottomans went down to defeat.
We (France and Britain) decided that they would rather parcel up most of the Ottoman territories between themselves and so Messrs. Sykes and Picot got out their pencils and their straight edges and began carving the place up. Straight lines. Ethnic (Arab, Persian, Kurd) and religious (Sunni, Shiite) considerations were ignored.
We almost kept our word to the Kurds. Treaty of Sevres.
We quickly broke our word to the Kurds. Treaty of Lausanne just two years after Sevres.
Spent the next decade or two running around keeping those pesky and sullen Sunnis and Shia Persians and Arabs and Kurds in line, usually at gunpoint. One thing we knew for sure - you couldn't trust those damned Muslims.
Then came WWII. Some of those Arabs sort of sympathized with our enemy, the Germans, but they kept out of it recalling what awaited when we lavished them with promises and realizing it would probably be worse when we didn't.
Germans crushed. Second War over. What next? Oh yeah, let's take the Palestinian homeland, parcel it up, and give half of it to the new state of Israel to atone for what Europeans did to Jews during the war and ease our guilty consciences at how we failed to stop it in time. In the decades afterward we stood by as Israel gradually absorbed the rest of the Palestinian territories while it subjugated those Arab people.
Then came Iran, those uppity buggers. We had blessed them with the British American Oil company that selflessly removed Iranian oil at almost no charge to the Persians. When the Iranian people democratically elected a leader who said "Hell no, that oil belongs to Iran" the CIA instigated a coup and installed a monarch, Shah Pahlavi, to sit on the peacock throne as our stooge. We (the CIA and the Mossad) even built him a secret police force, the Savak, that made the Gestapo look like cub scouts.
Over the following decades we, the West, backstopped every obedient thug willing to do our bidding from Iran to Iraq, Egypt to Libya. We made sure their lands were well vaccinated against unruly democracy and looked the other way as they subjugated their own people to what were often feudal conditions only to later denounce them for their lack of modernity and sophistication.
That largely sums up a century of Our dealings with Them. We still can't fathom why they hate us. We can't imagine why some resort to terrorism.
Ask yourself this. If you and your parents and your grandparents, perhaps even your great-grandparents, had gone through a century of that at the instance of foreigners who were utterly alien - ethnically, linguistically, culturally, economically, politically, theologically - how tolerant of them would you be?
In his latest essay for TruthDig, Chris Hedges explores the glue that holds America's empire together. It's pretty much the same formula that the European powers used in their colonial past - terror, intimidation and oodles of violence.