Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

U.S. Interference in the Middle East and Regional Opinion

The next administration will be interfering more in their affairs, but the people in the region aren't calling for this and don't want it to happen.
hillary clinton

A new survey from the Arab Center found little support for a more activist U.S. role in the region:

Respondents were asked about issues the next U.S. president should focus on in formulating policy toward the Arab region. Twenty-six percent said the U.S. “should not intervene in the affairs of Arab countries” — a higher percentage than any other question — while 25 percent said combating the Islamic State group should be next president’s priority for the region.

“This is highly significant and reflective of the general sentiment in the Arab world,” Jahshan said of the public preference for U.S. noninterference in Arab affairs. ” ‘Leave us alone’ was the message.”

It is not surprising that U.S. interference in these countries is not welcome. Given the U.S. track record of either backing some repressive regimes or toppling others by force, our policies in the region have usually been very harmful and the people that have to live with their effects would know that better than anyone. Since the next administration will be interfering more in their affairs, it is worth noting that the people in the region aren’t calling for this and don’t want it to happen. When we are told that the region is supposedly “desperate for American leadership,” it’s important to remember that those in the region demanding more U.S. meddling aren’t at all representative.

The interesting thing about this survey is that most of the respondents also say that they prefer a Clinton victory despite the fact that she very clearly favors more U.S. interference in their affairs and considers removing Assad to be the top priority in Syria. Neither of the major party candidates is promising non-interference, but Clinton is more committed to interfering in the affairs of these countries in the name of American “leadership” and should be expected to do just that. Our political leaders’ warped understanding of “leadership” requires constant meddling overseas, and a Clinton win practically guarantees increased interference in the affairs of these countries.