The piecemeal nature of the information that reaches the American public prevents us from seeing discrete events within a larger framework, the ‘big picture’ that I have been writing about for years, and which, by the way, is now the title of Thom Hartmann’s excellent show on Russia’s English language TV channel, RT.
What is happening across the Middle East? 1) Our client governments use increasingly brutal methods to keep their people down; 2) The United States tries to prevent these governments from losing power, not mainly because we need their oil, but because a radical shift toward any kind of people power in that region puts Israel in real danger (as opposed to the boogeyman dangers it has been crying wolf about for decades: first Iraq, now Iran). (Likewise, Russian support for Syria may be about retaining port on the Mediterranean, or a carved-in-stone policy of not supporting enemies of the state, but it is also about supporting the 'front-line state'.)
One can only wonder why Israel is focusing so obsessively on Iran’s putative nuclear program, when it is surrounded, if not by hostile regimes, then certainly by hostile populations. Israel has been brutally occupying Palestinian lands for decades, acting as a veritable Goliath vis a vis a weaker Arab people, and the Arab street know that its rulers have been American puppets for decades, as part of the U.S.’s commitment to defend Israel.
As they fixate on the supposed deleterious influence of Islam, our politicians take no account of ideology. Across the Muslim world, the 99% wants more equity, while we want docile regimes run for and by the 1%. On Israel’s southern border, it is no surprise that the Muslim Brotherhood is defying the military rulers of Egypt after seeming to support them after Mubarak’s ouster: the Brotherhood’s new generation of leaders are more interested in seeing their country break free of American domination than in checking on headscarves, while the military would be inclined to continue Mubarak's subservience to the U.S., its weapons supplier.
As far as I have seen, no news channel has viewed the Syrian crisis in terms of the Arab world’s greater or lesser hostility toward Israel. The Assad regime has constituted a resolute enemy on Israel’s northern border, and Israel would feel more secure if Syria were run by American puppets.
American nervousness over the composition of the rebel movement is not about whether it is democratic, but about the attitude toward Israel of those who could replace Assad. We would like to cherry pick the political figures who will replace Assad, but we really have no way of knowing which ones will go along with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.