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Good evening and welcome to tonight's meeting of The Commonwealth Club of California. I am Jeff Farber CEO of the Koret foundation and member of The Commonwealth Club Board of Directors. Before we begin we would like to tell you about some up and coming programs of The Commonwealth Club. Join us this Thursday, February 15th when we welcome Ralph Nader, Green Party Leader, former presidential candidate and author of "The 17 Traditions" in which he discusses his experiences in politics and as a crusader for the environment. This is a noon program here at the Club. Then on Tuesday, February 20th we welcome Paul Barrett who traveled all over the US to interview Muslim Americans. His experiences are compiled in the new book "American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion." This program begins here at noon at the Club. For more information on all our upcoming programs pick up a copy of our magazine, The Commonwealth, in the lobby or go to commonwealthclub.org. Now on to the program, you will find question cards on your seats. Please write down any questions you have for Michael Oren. Cards would be collected during the program. Please make sure that all cell phones and beepers are turned off. I now will begin the program for our radio audience. Good evening and welcome to tonight's meeting of the Commonwealth Club of California. I am Jeff Farber CEO of the Koret foundation and member of the Commonwealth Club Board of Directors. This evening we are privileged to host Michael Oren, an accomplished historian and writer with degrees from Princeton and Columbia Universities. Michael has written extensively on the Middle East including Six Days of War which was recently nominated for Pulitzer Prize. A senior fellow at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem based research facility, Michael served as an officer in the Israeli defense forces. He advised both the Israel delegation to the UN and the government of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He received fellowships from the US departments of states and defense and from the British and Canadian governments. He was also the author of several works of fiction including his most recent novel, Reunion. Michael Oren's new book Power Faith and Fantasy, America in the Middle East draws on thousands of government documents and personal letters to reconstruct the diverse and remarkable ways in which Americans have interacted with the Middle East region. In my view it is an indispensable work for anyone interested in understanding the roots of Americas Middle East involvement today. On a personal note I have had an opportunity to spent significant time with Michael and can tell you that he is one of the keenest political and historical minds in Israel today. His writings literally help shape the future of Israeli policy. I am personally honored to be able to introduce and count such an influential voice, in pro-Israel politics as one of my friends. Ladies and Gentlemen please join me in welcoming Mr. Michael Oren. Jesus thank you Jeff, Jeff has been a great source of inspiration and sartorial advice to me. My dress has somewhat improved by having spent some significant time with him. Thank you Jeff for mentioning my novel Reunion, which you should know has sold dozens of copies and is available in vast in the sort of the soon to be reduced pulp section of the Barnes and Noble, please get it it's really a good novel. I don't care what the marketers think. Imagine imagine join me in imagining for a second that you all of you are high ranking American diplomats in the Middle East and you have been assigned to meet with an envoy of a Middle Eastern nation that is conducting a war against the United States. And you are sent to some undisclosed European capital to meet with this envoy and you say to him that United States bears no animosity to his people or to any people or country in the Middle East, American people really want to conduct their trade freely in the Middle Eastern region, free from any threat of physical attack, Americans want to interact openly with the peoples in the Middle East and perhaps impart some of their American ideals of democracy and republican government, you make all of these offers to this Middle Eastern ruler envoy and this envoy then turns to you and says no, we don't want peace with you, we want to continue to wage war with you until we overcome and enslave you because the United States is an infidel country and as an infidel country we have a holy book which tells us that we must conduct this war until we conquer and enslave you and our holy book further tells us that if any of our soldiers are killed in the in the course of conducting this war then those murders will alight immediately to paradise. Now if you had been you have represented the United States in such a negotiation and you had heard these words, how then would you respond? Well, if you responded that the United States really had no choice, but to defend itself, United States had no choice, but to go to war in the Middle East if you those were your response then it would be echoing precisely the prey of a similar American in a similar situation, his name was Thomas Jefferson and the date was March, 1785 and Thomas Jefferson had been sent by the congress to negotiate with the envoy of Tripoli, today the modern state of Libya. Tripoli, one of the four so-called Barbary states along with what is today known as Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria who were sending pirates, that's the state sponsored pirates to prey on American shipping in the Mediterranean and the American trade in the Mediterranean was essential to the fledgling economy of the United States which was very fragile in the aftermath of revolutionary war. About 20 percent of America's trade went through this region. America, a seafaring nation, heavily dependent on its foreign commerce, America faced extinction at the hands of the Barbary pirates and to further compound the problem the United States back then the 1780s was a plural not a singular noun, these United States, the states were not federated, they were loosely bound under the articles of confederation, there was no central government, there was no president, no means of raising taxes and no means of creating a navy because the United States, after the revolutionary war had not a single gunship, not a single gunboat was left after the revolution, America had no means whatsoever to defend itself. Many Americans believed that the only way then, they could survive the threat of the Barbary pirates was to pay them off. Certainly the Europeans had been doing that for century, they have been paying what they called euphemistically, tribute to the pirates, the champion of this school in the United States was John Adams, the second President of the United States who during his Presidency the United States was paying about one-fifth of its total federal revenue to Middle Eastern bribery, but Jefferson begged to differ from this school, Jefferson, first of all urged Americans to federate, he urged them to fight. He believed, even though it was more expensive to create a navy, wage a war in the distant Middle East, that it was it was better suited to the American temper Americas character, not to not to give in to bribery but more to the point Jefferson believed that the more you paid off pirates, the more piracy you would get in return and it will really be counter productive. But Jefferson was very much in the minority in the early 1780s. The majority of Americans did not even want a navy, they figured a navy might turn its guns on the nascent democratic institutions of the United States and may get America entangled in some nasty European quarrels but more to the point Americans did not want to get bogged down in an open-ended and potentially bloody conflict in the distant Middle East. Today over 220 years later later Americans are confronting similar challenges in the Middle East. They are forced to make similar choices in the region whether to fight or to negotiate with their adversaries in the region whether to palliate them or whether perhaps to destroy them. These are fateful decisions that America has to make in the Middle East and yet few Americans I would wager are aware at that their founding fathers and the original generations that created this country did face these similar challenges. Very few Americans are aware of the centuries-long legacy in the Middle East and we are talking about a rich and multidimensional heritage of war and statecraft of altruism and beneficence of wild artistic imagination and swashbuckling adventure. I would imagine that few Americans - many Americans would be shocked to know that not only Jefferson and Adams but also Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln had Middle Eastern policies would be shocked to hear that one of the assassins implicated in the plot against Lincoln in 1865 managed to escape to and was arrested in Egypt that during the Civil War about 500 Egyptian soldiers fought in and served in North America. Many Americans would be astonished to hear that the original Statue of Liberty showed a veiled Arab woman holding a torch or that the original lyrics of the "Star Spangled Banner, spoke of humbled Middle Easterners bowing down to the victorious flag of the United States. I, too, at one point in my life would have been surprised to hear all of this. I believed as I think many Americans believe that America is involvement in the Middle East really began sometime after World War II with the advent of the Arab is really conflict. America's deepening dependence on Middle Eastern oil, the coming of the Cold War to the Middle East. I certainly believe this some decades ago when I was in graduate school studying Arab history and I was listening to a lecture on the history of modern Egypt and the professor rather parenthetically mentioned that in the late 1860s a group of Civil War veterans, Confederate and Union officers, were sent by the Chief of the U.S. Army - General Sherman, to Egypt to help modernize the Egyptian army. And when they got to Egypt these veterans discovered that most of the Egyptian army even the officers was illiterate and they decided to setup schools to teach literacy to Egyptian soldiers and when the soldiers showed up at the schools they brought their sons and daughters with them and so these veterans of Vicksburg and Gettysburg got into the business of teaching Egyptian school children to read and write and while in the process of doing this they began to impart American values to these children such as civic virtues, patriotism and democracy. And I was so absolutely fascinated by the story that I ran out to library. I wanted to read more about it. I found very, very little about it. I found that there were in fact many books about the history of Great Britain in the Middle East, many books of the history of France in the Middle East but no comprehensive history about America in the Middle East - certainly no book that would place these officers rather remarkable experience in Egypt in 1860s in some type of meaningful historical context. Flash-forward number of years, the aftermath of 9/11, suddenly American's are being asked to make very fateful decisions in the Middle East, decisions that will impact not only their future security but the security of much of the world and there is no one book there is no historical context, no historical point of reference in which to make these great decisions. So in 2002, when I you know, with my editor and good friend went to a restaurant New York. He leaned across the table and said, "Okay Michael, what is the one book about the Middle East that has yet to be written but which absolutely has to be written?" I didn't hesitate a nanosecond, I told him "America in the Middle East" which was wonderful. Signed the contract and then I thought oh oh, I'm in trouble. My previous book as Jeffery mentioned was about the Six Day of War about six days. All of a sudden now I have to write about 230 years of history and I have to face the rather daunting challenge of trying to find the binding themes that somehow united this very long and complex narrative. And I began to identify the themes. The first theme that I did identify was the theme of power and power seems to be the most obvious thing, power being the pursuit of America's vital interest in the Middle East to the application of power whether it would be military power, diplomatic power and economic power. Power certainly described the situation faced by the United States and confronting the Barbary threat in the 1780s. In the spring of 1787, when delegates from the states convened in Philadelphia to discuss the possible ratification of the constitution that would unite these disparate states under a federal government, America was tasting its first hostage crisis in the Middle East. The Barbary threats had taken 127 American citizen seamen as prisoners in the area and had enslaved them was holding them for ransom and again remember no navy, no federal government and if you looked at the ratification debates notes and the protocols you will find that not only representatives from maritime States in New England who had vested interests in the Mediterranean stride were saying if we do not have a constitution we can't have the federal government without the federal government we can't raise tax and create a navy if we don't have a navy we are not going to able to defend ourselves. But you found representatives from southern states who were involved in the Mediterranean stride saying the same thing. They said if we don't have a constitution we will not have a navy, if we don't have a navy we are going to have Algerines - as they were called back then. Algerines - landing on the coast of South Carolina and capturing and enslaving our sons and daughters. And so Americans did create a constitution. They did unite in becoming United States in 1789 and five years later Congress signed into law a bill earmarking $688,983.36 for the creation of six warships that were specifically designed to fight in the Middle East and the actual bill signed into law by George Washington said that these boats were being constructed to fight in the Middle East and fight they did. What in suit was the Americas first overseas military engagement Americas longest overseas military engagement. The Barbary war lasting from 1783 roughly into the beginning of the 19th century and there were many, many setbacks in this war. Many setbacks before 1805 when nine US Marines led 250 mercenaries 500 miles across the Libyan Desert to attack Tripoli from behind as the shores of Tripoli from the marine anthem. Many years before 1850 when Commodore Stephen Decatur, for whom about 27 cities and towns are named in this country, led the American flee into Tripoli and Tunis harbor and finally vanquished the pirates. America had learned its first lessons in power from the Middle East. A mortal threat from this region had forced these disparate states to call as into united nations. It had compelled them to create power for the first time and to project power for the first time thousands of miles from America's shores. And in creating need able power and projecting it not to rule the waves but to free the waves. America opened the sea links to the agents of American faith in the Middle East. And here is the second theme that I identified in the annals of America's involvement in the Middle East and by faith, I mean first involve religious faith and religious faith largely of a Protestant variety and I'm talking of a almost an almost irresistible missionary urge to impart Americas religious beliefs on to the Middle East, but there is also a flipside to that type of faith it's a civic and secular faith the notion of an America which has to impart it's civic ideals of democracy republic and government respect for human values to the Middle East. This is the faith of a Colonial America, that saw itself as a city on the hill a beacon to the freedom desperate peoples of the Middle East and elsewhere America the country that has created not to serve itself but to serve all the humanity and it's the fate of a Colonial America that saw itself as the embodiment of the Biblical Israel. The puritans and the descendents who came to the sub country in the 17th century had appropriated the Biblical narrative. They were now the "new Jews," they were escaping from bondage in Egypt/England crossing the Atlantic ocean which was like the which was like the Zion A desert and finally reaching the promised land which was this new world and they proceeded to give about 1000 Biblical names to their towns and cities, of course the Jericho's the Bethlehem's, the New Canaan's, they gave Biblical names to their sons and daughters, the David's and the Isaac's and the Rebecca's and the Sarah's, they made Hebrew a mandatory subject at all of their colleges, James Madison was Hebrew major at Princeton, they put Hebrew in the logo of Yale and Dartmouth and Columbia and they really appropriated this narrative, so much so that at the end of the revolutionary war in 1783 when congress had to decide on a great seal for this new nation. Several members of congress presented a great seal that showed an American bald eagle clutching 13 arrows in its talons, you know this seal but another contender for the great seal showed Moses leading the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt across the desert, into the Promised Land following the pillar of smoke and it was a very close contest in congress. Moses came this close from being the symbol of the United States. That it lost and Moses crossing the Zion A, that symbol was designed by Thomas Jefferson and by Benjamin Franklin. The as the new Jews of the new world, these Puritan's and these descendants felt a peculiar kinship with the old Jews. Not necessarily - they didn't necessarily love they didn't really know that many old Jews because the Jewish population of North America in 1776 was about 0.04 percent. But they felt a peculiar religious kinship and a very strong attachment to the old Promised Land then of course known as Palestine, part of the Ottoman Empire and they developed the notion that as good Christians and later as good Americans it was incumbent upon them to help god fulfill his promises made to the old Jews in the old testament and that was to rescue these Jews from exile and to restore them to sovereignty in their ancestral homeland. Thus was born the notion of restorations, the desire to restore the Jews to their ancient homeland and a near three years after the conclusion of the Barbary wars in 1818 Americas first missionaries departed for the Middle East. Their names were Pliny Fisk and Levi Parsons in the parting sermon which they delivered in old south church in Boston, Parsons and Fisk listed their goals in the Middle East, their primary goal was to help the Jews of the region in gather into Palestine so that they could recreate their state. There once they have recreated the states they would convert on mass to Congregationalist Christianity, and failing this Pliny Fisk and Levi Parsons hoped to convert the Muslim Arabic speaking peoples of the Middle East. To their chagrin Fisk and Parsons discovered that the Jews in the Middle East did not want to in gather under their auspices, did not to want to convert to Congregationalist Protestantism, Fisk and Parsons moreover learnt that when they tried to proselytize the Muslim Arabs, they risked loosing their heads because proselytizing under Islam is a capital offence. And out of frustration Fisk and Parsons turned to building schools. They build the first modern elementary and secondary schools in what is today's Syria and Palestine and their descendants, the people who came to re-enforce them from the United States by the 1860s were building the first modern western styled Universities in the Middle East which later became the American University of Cairo, the American University of Beirut, and through these institutions these missionaries and their descendents began to foster an entirely different identity in the Middle East. They created an Arab national identity, a secular identity, in which all the peoples of the Middle East whether there would be Muslims, Christians, Druze or Jews could participate in this identity. These missionaries and their descendants were no longer teaching the gospel of Christianity, they were teaching what they believed was the gospel of Americanism, again civic virtues, patriotism and democracy and the missionaries and the descendants became very closely identified with this Arab nationalist movement. They pressed for the liberation of Arabic speaking lands from Ottoman domination. Later after World War I, from European imperial control. Their sons, grandsons, great grandsons growing up in this region speaking these languages Arabic, Parsee fluently went into the state department; they became the so called Arabists of the state department. Some of them later went to work as executives as in oil companies, that starting in the late 1830s 1930s began to exert an increasing influence over Americas policies to the Middle East. And to the degree that the goals of Arab nationalism after World War I became antithetical to the goals of Jewish nationalism, by this time known, not as restorationism but as Zionism these champions of the Arab nationalist cause, the descendants of the original missionary Pliny Fisk and Levi Parsons who went to the Middle East to recreate Jewish sovereignty became the greatest adversaries of recreating Jewish sovereignty in the land of Palestine. Now this does not means that restorationism did not remain a popular movement in the Middle East and the United States, in fact it became an overwhelmingly popular movement in the United States at the turn of the 18th century, John Adams again, the second President of the United States, expressed his hope that some day 100,000 Jewish soldiers as well disciplined as the French Army he said, that was the French Army back then, would march into Palestine and reclaim it as a Judean kingdom. Abraham Lincoln asked in 1863 what he thought about the restorationist idea said that he that he recognized that restoring the Jews to their ancient homeland was a dream that was dear to a great many Americans and he Lincoln, hoped that after the United States restored its own union after the civil war the United States could work to realize that dream. Perhaps the greatest single expressionist of this great expression of this restorationist concept appeared in a book published in 1844, it was a big thick great tome called "Valley of the Visions" and in Valley of the Visions there was a call on the United States government to spearhead an international effort to detach Palestine from the Ottoman Empire and give it back to the Jews. Valley of the Visions even caused on the United States Navy to help provision the Jewish state until it can stand on its own economic two legs. Valley of the Visions became something of an antebellum best-seller that went through about 30 printing, sold all told by a million copies before the civil war. The author of the book was the head of the Department of Scripture and Hebrew Studies at New York University and his name was Professor George Bush. And two days at the Genealogy Department at the Library of Congress enabled me to ascertain that that George Bush was a direct forbear of two American presidents of the same name. For other Americans, however, merely envisioning this recreated of Jewish state was insufficient. Starting in the 1830s, groups of American Protestants left the United States and moved to Palestine to create American colonies there. Some of you may have visited Jerusalem and know the American colony hotel, in east Jerusalem that was the last of these colonizing efforts in the 1880s, but starting the 1830s particularly American women, Clarinda Minor from Philadelphia, Harriet Livermore from Washington picked up and went to Palestine to create these colonies all for the same extraordinary objective of teaching the Jews, how to farm. These were all good Jeffersonian Americans. They believe that that the basis of any viable modern state was an agrarian economy. They recognized that the Jews have been in exile for 2000 years, had been disenfranchised from the land and therefore is incumbent upon them again as good Americans, good Christians, to re-acquaint the Jews with agriculture so that they could help establish their modern state. And these colonies were set up and they suffered terribly from starvation, exposure and attack by bandits. In 1855, Philip Dickson of Groton, Massachusetts, his wife and two daughters moved to Palestine to a barren hill outside of Jaffa that they christened Mount Hope, it was a rather optimistic prediction because they again they suffered terribly there. The Dickson daughters married two Lutheran brothers who were also missionaries in Palestine, by the name of Johann and Friedrich Grosssteinbeck and the Dicksons and the Grosssteinbecks set about to try to teach the Jews how to farm. They didn't want to learn how to farm at the Dickson farm the Jews of Palestine and again this this colony barely held on to this hilltop and still Americans came. 12 years later, 1867 George Adams, individual from the Indian River, Maine, picked up from Indian River with a 156 followers, artisans, merchants, farmers moved to another barren hillside outside Jaffa setup another colony designed to teach the Jews how to farm and they too, suffered just unspeakable hardships from weather and disease and from native attacks. Now back home, meanwhile the that's the notion of the equation of the Jewish state continued to blossom 1891 a Midwestern (real estate magnate) William Blackstone submitted a petition to the to the Benjamin Harrison Administration, again calling for the United States to convene an international conference with Queen Victoria of England, the Tsar of Russia all of them are going to put pressure on the Ottoman Empire to somehow discourage Palestine from this empire and give it back to the Jews. This petition submitted to the Whitehouse was signed by 400 prominent Americans, among them J D. Rockefeller, Charles Scribner, J. Pierpont Morgan, and a congress member, William McKinley signed this petition. The advocates - the American Christian advocates of Jewish Statehood in Palestine and the no less adamant detractors would continue to disagree well into the 20th century even into the 21st century. If you want to see how deeply they continued to disagree, just take a peep inside to Jimmy Carter's recent books. But what is important to note here is that whether they are for or against the recreated Jewish state that all of these Americans will guard the Middle East, engage on the Middle East on the sphere on the plane of faith. They are they are belonged to this faith guided component in America's Middle East involvement. And finally we come to the most illusive and mystical of the themes, that is the theme of fantasy. And that is the theme which relates to the deep seeded deeply rooted image of the Middle East in the American imagination of a region of unbridled romanticism or exoticism indeed of eroticism - the image of - the road to nomad who sweeps out of the desert on his steed and sweeps up some innocent Western damsels and takes her off to the oasis or off to his tent. It is an image that was first noted by America's first explorer in the Middle East, a gentleman by the name of John Ledyard, a Dartmouth dropout but a great interpreter explorer had traveled around the world with Caption Cook. In 1788, Ledyard became the first American to travel to the Middle East, the first American to report on his observations of the region in a very vivid correspondence that he had with his good friend Thomas Jefferson. And through his letters, to Jefferson we see what the Middle East look like to an American in 1788. And one of the themes that that John Ledyard identified, was the notion of the liberty loving nomad. John Ledyard looked at the bedouin and the desert and what he saw he saw the Middle East counterpart of the Western Frontiersman, the type of people who can roam unfettered through the wilderness. They love liberty and to the degree that the middle-eastern rulers, particularly the Ottomans had imposed a tyrannical oppressive rule over them that urge for freedom was suppressed. And Ledyard believed that if a government would come along like the Unites States Government and remove that tyranny that the liberty loving nomads of the Middle East would rise up and embrace freedom and democracy. Does that sound familiar to you? True - that's far back indeed. America's Middle-Eastern fantasies have very deep roots. Indeed going back to the 18th century when the second most popular book on the American colonial bookshelf that is of course after the "Bible", was "The 1001 Arabian Nights." This is a collection of medieval Persian tales, you know many of the stories, "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", "Sinbad The Sailor", Sheherazade story telling for her life. And American's in their frontier cabins read a "1001 Arabian Nights" and they believed this is what the Middle East actually looked like. They had no other first and information about the region. They believed that this was the Middle East it was land of of carpets circling minarets of veiled but available Arab girls. And lured by these exotic images, many of them picked up and followed in the footsteps of John Ledyard. By the 19th century thousands of American's were traveling annually to the Middle East. By the 1850's Americans had surpassed the British as the single largest body of tourists in the Middle East, they hear all these they read these memoirs from British people in the Middle East complaining how all these rather up-starting Americans have snatched up all the good hotel rooms in Damascus. Among the travelers who came who've read the 1001 Nights and wanted to see this magical realm for himself was a struggling American author who's previous book Moby Dick had sold a mere 3000 copies, I can certainly identify with that and he wanted to travel to the Middle East and and and to to somehow garner a new source of scintillating-titillating in from inspiration, for his next novel. In 1855, Herman Melville packed two shirts and a toothbrush and went off to the Middle East and he kept a just a vivid diary. I I strongly recommend it it as just entertaining reading. It it's a very postmodern and borders on the hallucinogenic and he came to the Middle East and immediately realized that the Middle East were actually no resemblance whatsoever to what he had read in "The 1001 Arabian Nights" and wrote about this and yet still American's came. 12 years later, another aspiring American writer a humorist from not far from here. Well, he received a a commission from a San-Francisco paper to travel to the Middle East to board a a steamship, The Quaker City out of Philadelphia and he published his collected dispatches of his visits to the Middle East under the on the best title of "Innocents Abroad" and he published it under his brand new penname Mark Twain. "Innocents Abroad" actually made Mark Twain - Middle East made Mark Twain. "Innocents Abroad" became the the largest selling book of the second half of the 19th century in America. It sold more copies Twain liked to quite than the Bible. And Twain also realized that the Middle East bore absolutely no resemblance to "The 1001 Nights". He just he wrote devastatingly about the Middle East and no less devastatingly about American tourists in the Middle East who read about all these Americas walking over sledgehammers and lopping off pieces of pyramids and hieroglyphs what he called the American vandals original ugly Americans in the Middle East. And this was very widely published. People read this and it's still these myths were so deeply ingrained in the American imagination that American tourists continued to flow to the region. And By the 20th century, these middle-eastern romantic myths are being appropriated by the burgeoning Hollywood industry. Some of the in the Hollywood's first blockbuster hits were Middle East fantasy movies. You've all seen "The Sheik of Araby", 1921 which which skyrocketed Rudolf Valentino to to stardom. The hit song of 1920s, remember "The Sheik of Araby" "I Am the Sheik of Araby, My heart belongs to thee. At night when you're asleep, into your tent I creep." You like that? Most of certain generations will remember the 1974 hit song by Maria Muldaur, "Midnight At The Oasis", right? It's the exact same lyrics they are only sung by a woman. Listen to them. They followed an almost unbroken series of middle-eastern fantasy movies, knockoffs of the "1001 Nights", "Ali Baba", "Sinbad" and finally the "Indiana Jones", and the "Sahara" and if you really been fortunate enough to you have see "Hidalgo" the "Hidalgos". Mystified by these myths, many Americans might have wondered in September 2001, why all why these romantic figures and flowing robes in their camels in Oasis would have left the Middle East to come to America to hijack airliners, and to fly them into skyscrapers. Power, faith, and fantasy. Sometimes these themes exist independently in the annals of the America's Middle East interaction. More often they are not - there is tension between the - more often not there was actually open conflict between them as they intertwined binding this narrative in a threadlike manner For example, fantasy met up with faith in 1855, when Herman Melville visited the Dickson colony outside of Jaffa on Mount Hope. He had lunch with Mr. & Mrs. Dickson he had lunch with the Grosssteinbeck brothers - Friedrich and Johann Grosssteinbeck. He wrote of them rather disparagingly in his in his diary - a very bleak picture of life on this colony. A month after Melville's visit to the Dickson colony, the farm was attacked by bedouin bandits. Philip Dickson was knocked mortally on the head. His wife and two daughters were brutally and repeatedly raped by these bandits. Friedrich Grosssteinbeck was shot in the groin and died an agonizing and slow death. And the only person to emerge unsaved from the Dickson colony was Johann Grosssteinbeck, whom according to the consul records at this point left Palestine, moved to California. Again not far from here and Americanized his name. Melville would allude to the bedouin attack on the Dickson colony in his 18,000 line poem Clarel, this one I don't recommend its about this thick and but so too would Johann Grosssteinbeck's grandson in but also mentioned the rape of the Dickson women in his biblical tragic epics East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath. Johann Grosssteinbeck's grandfather had had lunch with them in Melville on a in a colony in Palestine in 1855 dedicated to the recreation of a Jewish state in Palestine, the mixing of faith and fantasy. Faith and fantasy would blend again in 1867, when The Quaker City, carrying the aspiring Mark Twain helped evacuate the 47 survivors of the of the George Adams colony from Palestine and then the last chapter envisions a broad you will see a description of just what terrible shape these poor colonists had been in. Faith grappled with power in 1917 when Woodrow Wilson brought America into World War I, Woodrow Wilson brought declared war against the central powers that is Germany, Austria, Hungary but there was a third central power it was the Ottoman empire and while both houses of Congress urged Wilson to declare war against the Turks as well, Wilson hesitated. The missionaries in the Middle East came to Wilson and said Mr. President, if you declare war on the Ottoman Empire the Turks would do to our people, to our missionaries what they have been doing to their Armenians, they have been massacaring the Armenians by the hundreds of thousands. Wilson, the grandson, the son and the nephew of Presbyterian ministers was very close to the missionaries and in the end he never declared war against the Ottoman Empire. The result was the French and the British went to war against the Ottoman Empire, at the end of the war there were about a million British soldiers in Middle East, several 100,000 French soldiers in the Middle East, not one American soldier in the Middle East, guess which countries got to draw the postwar map of the Middle East. Not the United States, probably the most fateful decision ever taken by an American president about this regime, extraordinary. And faith trumped power finally in 1948 - May 1948 after the UN head partitioned Palestine into an independent Jewish and Arab state after the Jewish state was set to come into being, declared it independence on May 14th, the American policy establishment, in a completely unique episode in the annals of American foreign policy toured the region, submitted a uniform warning to the president. Really there was no descending view. The state department, the defense department, the Pentagon warned the president that the United States recognized the soon to be declared Jewish state, it would in fact it would effect a global catastrophe. The Arab oil producing states would run into the Soviet camp in the cold war, there would be a cold this cut-off of oil supplies to the west, Europe would fall to communism and worst of all the United States military would have to intervene in Palestine to save the Jews of the country there who were soon to be massacred by invading Arab armies. All of these warnings were submitted to the president and his name was Harry Truman. Harry Truman from a strict Baptist upbringing had claimed to have memorized the Bible by age 14, listened to all these arguments on May 12th, locked himself into the White House for two days, we do not know what transpired in his mind, rather uniquely he wrote nothing in his diary during those two days, all we know is that at 6:11 pm Washington time, 11 minutes after Israel declared its independence Harry Truman ignored the advice of all of his advisors including his secretary of state George Marshall who said he wouldn't even vote for Harry Truman if he recognized the Jewish state, at 6:11 pm Harry Truman made the United States the first country on earth to recognize the recreated Jewish state of Israel. Why did he do this why did he risked when all of his advisors said it was global catastrophe? We don't know. We only know that several weeks later a delegation of visitors was in the White House, they ran into Harry Truman in the hallway and Truman is introduced to them as the president who helped create the state of Israel and Truman was insulted. He turned red and started screaming helped to create the Jewish state, help create Israel, I didn't help it, I created Israel, I am Cyrus he said, I am Cyrus - those of you less familiar with your bible know that Cyrus was the ancient Persian king who restored the Jewish people to Palestine so they could recreate their state there. Since 1948, since Americas ascendancy as the primary western power in the Middle East replacing the colonial powers of Britain and France, since Americas deepening dependence on Middle Eastern sources of oil and its continued involvement in the Arab Israeli conflict, America has had to struggle mightily to reconcile these competing impulses of power, faith and fantasy. The result has been an almost dizzying and zigzagging of America's foreign policy towards the region. For example, in 1953, America volunteered with Britain in overthrowing a popular Iranian Prime Minister, a nationalist by the name of Mohammed Mossadeq whom the British and the Americans suspected was getting a little bit too close to the Soviets in the cold war. But the same Eisenhower administration three years later turned on the British as well as the French to rescue another Middle East nationalist leader, President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, from a certain overthrow by the British and the French in the Suez crisis. The United States had sent its forces to fight against Libya, against Syria, and against Iran, and yet it is widely unknown in this country and certainly forgotten in the Middle East that the United States played a pivotal in securing the independence of Syria, Libya and Iran. American presidents have consistently supported the state of Israel and yet at crucial junctures in history American presidents have levied arms and Embargos on the Jewish state, they have pressured Israeli leaders to relinquish territories which those leaders felt were vital to Israel security. Ronald Reagan in the 1980s beefed up Saddam Hussein as a counterpoise to the Iran, and then turned around and sold American weapons to Iran in an effort to induce the Iranians to kidnap fewer American hostages in Lebanon, basically violating Thomas Jefferson's first rule of the Barbary wars that if you bribe pirates you are liable to get more piracy. American leaders strove to create a Pax Americana in the Middle East. And yet since 1970s beginning in 1979, the United States armed forces have been engaged almost uninterruptedly in what is nearly a 30 years war in the Middle East and here in America we have been able to watch as our American service women and service men have worn uniforms that have burnished from a light Vietnamese green in the 1970s to a tawny Arabian brown today. I am always struck with that mid western airports to see these service men coming through wearing the colors of the Middle East. And then in 2003, the United States invaded Iraq, and for one gleaming moment it seemed all of this had come together here were the previlers of American power, the American army and Marine Corps patrolling the streets of the fabled capital of the 1001 Nights, Baghdad, and they were there imparting American values, American democracy to a people that seemed desperate to rise up and embrace it. And that moment alas, has proven fleeting. Today Americans must once again strive to balance their vital interests in the Middle East while upholding their sacred precepts, their ideals, all the while distinguish between - distinguishing between the real and the mythic Middle East. That task is gargantuan and I hate to disappoint but my book does not prescribe a path to realizing that path, as a historian I always say I have enough trouble predicting the past. And yet I do first of all want to share my fascination with you and indeed with all of my readers on this subject, this remarkable history, I wanted to tell them why the original Statue of Liberty was an Arab woman with a veil holding a torch, why the original lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner" spoke of humbled Middle Easterners bowing down to the victorious American flag, to hear those stories in any type of depth you are just going to have to read this book. But far more crucially and seriously I wanted to instill in my readers and all of you an appreciation of America's extraordinary legacy in the Middle East. It's a legacy of militancy indeed at times, of greed, yes but also one of generosity, of tolerance, and of courage. My aim is to provide a context of the past in which Americans now profoundly, and some would even argue existentially involved in the Middle East can begin to chart their future. Thank you.