Bush and Sharon had good reason to smile at their April White House meeting. The United States will soon have permanent military bases on the borders of Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Israel, with U.S.-backing, now has virtual control over all of Palestine, Gaza, and part of Syria. The U.S.-Israeli partnership is on the verge of becoming a new Middle East empire. But even the most powerful empires donít last. Rome, the Ottomans, Portugal, Spain, and Britain all overreached themselves and eventually were forced to give up their conquests. The U.S.- Israel alliance may be triumphant at the moment, but if the people in the Arab world who have had enough of colonialism, oppression, and autocratic rule have their way, that triumph will not endure for long.