Xenophobia has been way of life in the Middle East for centuries. Historically outsiders have attempted to conquer Middle Eastern nations, from the Ottoman Turks, Persians, the English and French, the Russians and recently the US has exerted power. The Muslim Middle East has historically chosen totalitarian over democratic governance, and has elected to have little understanding of other parts of the world that provide wide latitude for individual citizens to do as they wish, including expressing their views. Religious and racial bigotry is rampant in the Muslim Middle East, where religious sects insist their traditions are treated with respect by every living and breathing person in the West. Any lack of the specified “respect” (i.e. absence of criticism of the Muslim state theocracy), by any single person residing in one of those countries, will be cause for violence to be meted out against all the people of those Western countries. The absurdity of such a demand is obvious. Plain and simple, the street in the Muslim Middle East is looking for a fight with the West and is seeking any excuse to lash out.
The attack in Libya was not a spontaneous eruption in response to an offensive video as claimed. It was the work of terrorists who carefully orchestrated the attack. The terrorist attackers knew there would be no reprisal from their official Islamic government, so they assailed the Embassy and killed the US ambassador with impunity. The recent broader outbursts by “the street” in Egypt, Pakistan and Libya and other largely Muslim countries have little directly to do with the insulting video made by the Coptic Christian from Egypt who currently lives in California. He could have lived almost anywhere in the world and posted the same video on YouTube. Directing attacks against all Americans reflects political irresponsibility of those governments and their people, in much of the region. Official tolerance of such atavistic behavior indicates those countries are not ready for a respected role on the international stage. They are oblivious and intolerant belligerents, not responsible nation states. Adolescent coercive mindlessness comes to mind. Rather than engendering respect for them and their culture, their behavior provokes repugnant disdain. [See Mabel Berezin’s, “Xenophobia and the New Nationalism,” in The Sage Handbook on Nationalism (2006)].