Let it not be said that turning it into the bogeyman of the Middle East doesn’t have its benefits to the U.S. In a world economy desperate for export opportunities, this country turned 2011 into a banner year for arms dealing. We tripled our exports ($66-billion). The primary customers were Gulf States flush with cash due to elevated oil prices. They were spooked by the “Iranian menace” into purchasing everything from new warplanes to complex missile defense systems . The oil revenues used for these purchases were boosted by the fear of global markets that a disruption in Middle East oil flows would impede supply. Nicely done.
That $66-billion constituted three-quarters of the world trade in this commodity. Half of that total went to one customer, Saudi Arabia. The weapons may be used not only in a confrontation with Iran, they could also be turned on Saudis themselves should they revolt against the regime as Syrians have done. Nice to know that U.S. weapons may, once again, be used to suppress the urge toward freedom represented by the Arab Spring movement.
So we’ve nicely exploited the Iran card to our maximum advantage. We’ve helped our struggling economy and boosted Obama’s re-election chances. The fact that we’ve armed the Middle East to the teeth and made it that much more dangerous a place and liable to go up in flames at the slightest provocation–that seems lost on us.
I suppose it’s a form of repatriation of wealth. We send our dollars to the Saudis for oil. They send them back to us for armaments. Nasty business, but a form of recycling I suppose.