Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Coming Arab Winter

From the onset of the so-called Arab Spring, I have cautioned against optimism. Link to my articles here.

I thought it naïve to believe that liberal democracy was suddenly going to break out in the Middle East, and I had no confidence in the Obama Administration’s ability to manage the foreign policy challenges that events were posing.

Several recent articles in the media buttress the case against optimism.

I have already reported on the widespread practice of female genital mutilation in Egypt. I found it impossible to believe that a culture that systematically mutilates young girls will suddenly embrace civilized values.

Writing in The New Republic Betwa Sharma shows how the fall of Mubarak has allowed those who favor genital mutilation to recover the ground that they had been losing to a campaign initiated and directed by Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak.

No one has much to say about this, but the truth is that Egyptian girls have been victims of the fall of Mubarak. You have to wonder why no one is reporting on this inconvenient fact.

At the Daily Caller Barry Rubin explains that when the Obama administration abandoned Mubarak it lost the confidence of many of our other allies in the region. Among them the King of Jordan, who now considers us untrustworthy. Rubin even suggests that under the circumstances the Iraqi government could not be expected to allow the troops of an inconstant ally like America on its land.

It’s worthwhile to read Rubin, if only to remind ourselves that there’s more to foreign policy than slaying the dragon. You need to know whose dragon you are slaying and you need to calculate the real world unforeseen consequences.

At the Fox News site, James Rosen offers some further analysis of a point that I underscored last week: the winners in the North African theatre of the Arab Spring seem to be the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist sympathizers.

Happy reading!


Ari said...

When the Egyptian government fell, I said that the best we could hope for is a return of the Pharaohs. I'm still placing my hopes on that. We need a leader on the world stage in a Nemes headdress.

Pretty much every other conceivable alternative is a disaster, so at least let me hold on to this one shred of hope!

Stuart Schneiderman said...

That sounds about right to me.

Dennis said...

One of the reasons why the US dealt with some unsavory regimes is because the alternatives were much worse. An incompetent Obama is demonstrating that community activism almost always leads to a disastrous result. He has so badly handled the Mideast that we are likely to be dealing with the consequences for years to come.
The women of the world just need to thank Obama for making their lives that much worse. Sometimes the lack of understanding exhibited by American women and the ability to extrapolate ideas to their ultimate conclusion is amazing.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

What are the chances that the real story of this failure gets out?

Are people so thoroughly mesmerized by the images of dead tyrants that they ignore the reality of everyday life for the people of the region.

I second your point about our supporting these leaders because the alternative is much worse. The moral simpletons and community organizers who are running policy do not think in terms of realities... they are living in a fictional world where dead tyrants necessarily promotes democratic values.

Nick said...

An English class textbook of mine contains an op-ed written by Salman Rushdie 2 months after 9/11 entitled, "Not about Islam?" If you have access to the New York Times archives I highly suggest giving it a read. He condemns world leaders for not engaging in honest conversation regarding the role of Islam in the attacks, and also does a great job of defining the "Islamist" problem for the then very scared and confused American populace.

If you don't have access, here's one (of many) still relevant quotations:

"These Islamists--we must get used to this word, 'Islamists'...include the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the blood-soaked combatants of the FIS and GIA in ALgeria, the Shia revolutionaries of Iran, and the Taliban. Poverty is their great helper, and the fruit of their efforts is paranoia. This paranoid Islam, which blames outsiders, 'infidels', for all the ills of Muslim societies, and whose proposed remedy is the closing of those societies to the rival project of modernity, is presently the fastest-growing version of Islam in the world."

How easily some forget (or choose to ignore) what is so obvious...

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Frankly, I'm surprised that an English class textbook contains such politically incorrect thoughts.