Scott MacLeod, one of Time magazine’s Arabist journalists, thinks so, writing that
in singling out “oil from the Middle East” in discussing America’s energy dependence, Obama came uncomfortably too close to exploiting American misunderstandings and fears of Arabs and Muslims for some cheap political post-9/11 gain. Part of the problem with what Obama said is that it’s based on one of the false premises behind the notorious “sinister Arab” stereotype.
MacLeod never explains what that false premise is, or even what the “notorious sinister Arab” stereotype is (it’s the first time I’ve heard of it). He instead irrelevantly argues that “the Middle East is not the main supplier of oil to the U.S.” and that Obama “would have us believing that the American economy, U.S. national security and, indeed, nothing less than ‘the future of our planet,’ is being held hostage by five oil-producing Arab countries in the Middle East.”
You know that someone has gone native when he cannot discern a point that is breathtakingly obvious to anyone sitting in America. By citing Middle East oil, Obama was simply saying that it is to America’s detriment that our gasoline purchases funnel hundreds of billions of dollars per year into the coffers of repressive and radical regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. This is as bipartisan as American political rhetoric gets. Almost every Republican and Democratic presidential candidate at some point has made the same point. It’s amazing that Time magazine’s Cairo bureau chief doesn’t get it.