The Middle East provides the International Community a constant stream of entertainment and heartache due to an inexplicably complex web of cultural rivalries, violent extremists, and unresponsive, self-serving governments that use a combination of socialism, psychological warfare, and brutal violence to crush dissent. When criticized by those they cannot victimize, such as the United States, the abusive public officials of the Middle East play the victim. Although this victim-victimizer mentality is on display throughout the region, especially in the wake of the Arab Spring Revolutions and other efforts by the oppressed to voice their grievances, it is no more apparent than when allies of the United States and Europe try to use it to further their own political interests.
Capitalizing on a seemingly well-choreographed coup attempt in July of 2016, Turkish President Recep Erdoğan has been able to further his crackdown on political revivals and dissent. Unwilling to buy into the post-coup narrative, the US has not provided Erdoğan additional aid in his quests to decimate those he identifies as “terrorists.” Thanks to the US-Russian Conflict, Turkish-Russian cooperation on Syria, and the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey by a Turkish police officer, Erdogan has an opportunity to play the US and Russia against each other. By accusing the US of sponsoring terrorists groups like the Islamic State in line with Russian propaganda, whether true or false, Erdogan is capitalizing on this opportunity for his own political benefit. He is also sabotaging Turkish’s long-term relationship with the West.
Turkey’s self-sabotaging policies under the influence of Erdoğan are not, however, unexpected. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction to the UN Security Council’s decision to chastise Israel for settlement construction in the West Bank serves as a similar example of the self-sabotaging policies seen across the Middle East. Instead of hearing the world’s long-held grievances, Right-wing political leader Netanyahu condemned the world for condemning his policies against Palestinians while his allies framed the Obama Administration’s abstain vote as an attack on Netanyahu. If the US ever tried to seize the properties of Puerto Ricans, which is an actual territory of the US, in order to build homes for Americans, then forcibly defend those colonists from hostiles, even Americans would revolt. Hardliner supporters of Israel, on the hand other, see any level of criticism as an attack that must be crushed with overwhelming force.
Like much of the Middle East, Turkey and Israel suffer from a sort of a “Trader Mentality,” which drives leadership to engage in the one-sided pursuit of their own political interests without any balance or consideration of others. This is made significantly worse by the harm of religious-based politics, which allows the dysfunctional leaders of the Middle East to rationalize their policies and invoke the will of God to protect against criticism. Defined by a history of violent rivalries and oppression, Middle Easterners also suffer from cultural traumas. Like individual victims of trauma, members of traumatized cultures lose their ability to cope with any level of stress under the circumstances of their trauma, thus they respond in irrational, often harmful ways in an effort to grasp for some level of security.
Sadly, victims often become victimizers, because the trauma of being victimized leaves the traumatized feeling as though they are constantly under attack. When the traumatized encounter even the mildest of confrontations and basic conflicts of interest, they are unable to cope with the stress of the situations and interpret such exchanges as serious “threats” then overreact in disproportionate, inappropriate ways. While the reactions of Turkish and Israeli leadership is designed to “disarmed” even the most constructive of criticism and dissent, which is needed, their psychology forces them to respond to any criticism and dissent, which they cannot disarm, as though they are hostile acts. Dealing with “traumatized” nations, therefore, requires constant and direct criticism for counterproductive policies as well as constant and direct support that helps address the interests of these nations, as well as their Peoples, in more constructive ways.
Read old posts