The Irrelevant Middle East the World Begins to Shun the Troubled Region as Energy Resources Emerge Elsewhere

By Hanson, Victor Davis | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 3, 2013 | Go to article overview

The Irrelevant Middle East the World Begins to Shun the Troubled Region as Energy Resources Emerge Elsewhere


Hanson, Victor Davis, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Byline: Victor Davis Hanson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Since antiquity, the Middle East has been the trading nexus of three continents Au Asia, Europe and Africa Au and the vibrant birthplace to three of the worldAAEs great religions.

Middle Eastern influence rose again in the 19th century, when the Suez Canal turned the once dead-end eastern Mediterranean Sea into a watery highway from Europe to Asia.

With the 20th-century development of large gas and oil supplies in the Persian Gulf and North Africa, an Arab-led OPEC more or less dictated the foreign policy of thirsty oil importers such as United States and Europe. No wonder U.S. Central Command has remained AmericaAAEs military command hot spot.

Yet insidiously, the Middle East is becoming irrelevant. The discovery of enormous new oil and gas reserves along with the use of new oil-recovery technology in North America and China is steadily curbing the demand for Middle Eastern oil. Soon, countries such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran are going to have less income and geostrategic clout. In both Iran and the Gulf, domestic demand is rising, while there is neither the technical know-how nor the water to master the new art of fracking to sustain exports.

The recent Boston bombings reminded the West that nearly 12 years after Sept. 11, most terrorism still follows the same old, same old script Au committed by angry young men with Muslim pedigrees claiming to act on radical Islamist impulses, without much popular rebuke from the Muslim world.

There is not much left to the stale Middle East complaint from the 1960s that Western colonialism and imperialism sidetracked the regionAAEs own natural trajectory to democracy. After the derailed Arab Spring, the world accepted that the mess in the Middle East is not imported, but rather the result of homegrown tribalism, sexual apartheid, religious intolerance, anti-Semitism, illiteracy, statism and authoritarianism.

Revolutionary theocrats always seem to follow the ouster of fossilized thugs. Reformers who were elected after the fall of the Shah of Iran and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt on speculation conjured up the same old bogeymen as their predecessors, subverted the rule of law in the same old fashion, and wrecked the economy in the same old manner.

President Obama senses that there is no support for American intervention in the Middle East. Even his idea of leading from behind in Libya led to the loss of American personnel in Benghazi. After Iraq, the United States will not nation-build in Syria. …

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