I wouldn’t say that Western Civilization is inherently better than the culture of the Middle East, and I agree with you that we have a ton of problems in our consumerism driven culture as is. However the US has a relatively difficult problem on our hands because of our past mistakes that you mentioned, as well as our role in radicalizing the countries in the area in an effort to combat Communism. In essence we’ve caught the tiger by the tail, and we’re arguably past the point of being able to let go and hope they forget about us. Thus our dilemma.
The Middle East has had a time when they were one of the most advanced nations at the time during the “Golden Age of Islam,” where they practiced much more liberal values in the country, allowing some deviance from the central religion while still maintaining that Islam had the final say. Just like how a strong man has no need to prove his strength by attacking the weak man, so too was the state secure enough in it’s foundation that it allowed a more free society within. Currently the area has been twisted and torn so much that it can’t feel secure, making for a much less free society.
To try and muscle the area back to it’s former glory as the Ottoman Empire would be expensive and probably hopeless at this point though, and so it necessitates a different approach. We’ve already used force and violence to try and make them do what we want, and that has created enemies. The one thing that we have done that has consistently worked to turn people friendly is the use of our media, thus the above statement.
But I get what you’re saying. We don’t really want another America in the Middle East. People should be allowed to choose a government and lifestyle that they feel drawn to, even if it doesn’t necessarily lead to Western values. But there is instability in the region, and it’s affecting us directly. So I would ask you, with the current insanely complicated situation, what would you suggest we do (or not do) to perhaps help bring peace and prosperity to the Middle East?