It's America's fate to be hated in the Middle East

There is the Israel excuse, of course. Washington’s support for Israel is the knee-jerk pretext whenever an explanation is sought for why America is loathed by Arabs. There is a great deal to censure in Washington’s seemingly unquestioning devotion to Israel, frequently against America’s better interests, but let’s get a grip. For years numerous Arab countries have ruthlessly mistreated or manipulated the Palestinians and their cause, without provoking a discernibly negative reaction from Arab societies.

In light of this, perhaps we must seriously consider that the Arab world has so internalized its disapproval of the United States over time, integrating it perfectly into a prevailing sense of Arab misfortune and frustration, that anti-Americanism has become a constant of Arab political discourse, a crutch of sorts. That is not to say that America is blameless or the Arabs always wrong; it’s to say that the positivist belief among Americans that they can be loved simply by altering their actions and manners is naively overstated.

Being loved is not nearly as important as being respected, and in that regard the United States has been riding a roller coaster.