The Arabs still want America's security assistance and military hardware. And the Iranian bogeyman guarantees that the Gulf states still want and need American protection. There remain dim hopes among Arabs that Washington will at some point come to its senses and stick it to the Israelis. But it won't be easy for the United States to make new friends easily, particularly now that public opinion will play a greater role in the debate.
In 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt allegedly quipped about the Nicaraguan strongman Anastasio Somoza that he may be a son of bitch, but he's our son of a bitch. Those days are over for America in the Middle East. SOBs may still emerge, but they won't be ours. That may prove to be very good thing. But for now, America is in for a very rough patch in the new Middle Eastern Oz. And unfortunately, unlike Dorothy, we can't just click our heels and go back to Kansas.