One of Tacitus' most famous lines is that "they make a desert and call it peace." There is no better description of what the US has done in the Middle East over the years.
While the Russia-Ukraine conflict is capturing the world's attention, the Middle East, a less-noticed hotspot, is going through sustained turmoil. Israel is launching constant military attacks, Turkey crossed the border to attack the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in Iraq, and the conflict in Yemen is still on…While the Middle East has so many hot potatoes to deal with, the US, which seems to implement a so-called “strategic contraction" lately, is playing "ostrich" and turning a blind eye to what's going on there, as if that would make the world forget the fact that it – the self-claimed "shining city upon a hill" and "beacon of democracy" – is the biggest source of all the troubles in the region.
From invading Iraq based on a small bottle of white powder to sponsoring "White Helmet" organizations to stage a show that "the Syrian government forces are using chemical weapons on civilians", from imposing "universal values" and "American-style democracy" to manipulating the media and public opinions, the US never hesitated to lie or use the most egregious excuses for the darkest purposes. It is indisputably the world’s biggest "empire of lies".
Lies are told to serve its interests, which must be preserved through the war machine. From the Gulf War to the Afghan War to the Iraqi War, the US has gained its "clout" in the Middle East by stirring up and inflaming conflicts or even directly starting wars. A research by CODEPINK, an anti-war organization in the US, shows that America and its allies have dropped more than 40 bombs on daily average in Greater Middle East and North Africa since 2001. Although some countries in the Middle East rely on America's "security protection", in general the country has brought the region more chaos than governance. For the local people, the US, which has given them nothing but one war after another for its selfish interests and hegemony, is a plague they are desperate to get rid of but cannot.
Sometimes Uncle Sam took actions in the name of "democracy", but its arbitrary export of the so-called "democracy" regardless of the complex tribal and religious relations in the Middle East has broken the fragile balance and aggravated the territorial, ethnic and religious conflicts there, nurturing a hotbed for extremist forces and pouring fuel on the region that’s already ravaged by turbulence and tribulation.
Yet all its operations in the Middle East, whether they be the wars waged by the US or its promotion of the so-called democracy, ended up in sheer failure. Some American scholar pointed out that the past 30 years have seen America coming across a slew of moral, diplomatic and military failures, but it is the local people that are paying the price for Washington’s actions and failures.
The Iraq War left more than 200,000 civilians dead and about 2.5 million refugees, and America's air strikes in Syria caused masses of civilian casualties. According to a survey by United Nations World Food Programme in April 2020, about 1/3 of Syrians didn’t have enough food and 87% had no savings. The once affluent Libya is now left in ruins with the prospect of reconstruction far out of reach.
Even US President Biden himself admitted that "our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building", while Vice President Harris was more point-blank by saying "you know for years and generations wars have been fought over oil". A poll shows that 58% of respondents in Arab countries felt negative toward America’s diplomatic policy, and 81% thought it was the chief threat to the security of the Arab world.
The US has clamored about "rules-based international order" like a catchphrase, but hundreds of thousands of civilians have died, millions have been injured and tens of millions have become homeless because of it – their blood and tears suffice to call out the hypocrisy and bankruptcy of "American-style democracy". The US is the biggest source of trouble for the Middle East, and the turmoil and instability it has caused will one day come back to burn and batter itself out of its dream of hegemony, bullying and domination.