A dramatic shift in US policy towards the Middle East has manifested itself in recent years. The Bush administration has been adamant in its commitment to war, even against the evidence provided by intelligence agencies and Wall Street’s view that it was not in the United States’ long-term interests. A number of observers and scholars have tried to explain this policy shift in economic terms, for example, the protection of US oil interests or that it is intended as a Keynesian kick-start to the US economy. These seem especially insufficient explanations if one considers that oil was already directly or indirectly controlled by the United States and that military spending had already reached its upper limit in the current budgetary allocations. Some other explanation is called for. Here I propose an interpretation of recent shifts in US Middle East policy and sensibilities in terms of the activation of a settler consciousness in American political discourse.
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