Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Arab Revolutions

Michael Hirsh, writing in the National Journal:
The current popular unrest in the Arab world has a lot of lessons for Washington. Undoubtedly one of the most jarring is this: The leak of a simple series of cables from a U.S. ambassador in an obscure country -- officially condemned by Washington -- may have done more to inspire democracy in the Arab world than did a bloody, decadelong, trillion-dollar war effort orchestrated by the United States. The WikiLeaks Revolt

Hirsh's article is short and readable. Truths about official corruption, long hidden by the aboveground press and revealed by WikiLeaks, have inspired the citizens of the Arab world to revolt.

The US government has been supporting dictators in the region for a long time, and whoever succeeds to power when these dictators are thrown out is not likely to be friendly to us. My feeling is that the people of the US and the people of the Arab world share a love of freedom and resentment of crushing authority which has not been well represented by their governments. The Obama administration can take these revolts as an opportunity to turn a corner in foreign policy in the direction of supporting freedom. Failure in these ripe moments could lead our country into a generation of conflict. The US has to decide if we really want democracy in the Middle East, or business partners.

BTW, by far the best coverage of the revolutions is seen on Al Jazeera English. Incredible around-the-clock coverage. They have had their broadcast license taken away in Egypt but are broadcasting live from Cairo and other Egyptian cities. It is amazing and dramatic video, with excellent interviews and commentary.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

today, in a suit filed by 26 states, a Federal judge declared the entire Obamacare bill unconstitutional and ordered the government to cease any attempt to implement it

Obama may appeal but, for now, the ruling is the law

if Obama refuses to comply, he will be impeached

January 31, 2011 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The US has to decide if we really want democracy in the Middle East, or business partners."

how about if Egyptians elect a government that will make homosexuality a capital crime?

they are likely to, if permitted to do so

TTF needs to decide if they really want democracy or propaganda

January 31, 2011 7:17 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, I don't speak for anyone else, but I will say that I think it is important for the people of Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries to have democracy and choose the leaders that will write and vote on the laws that govern them. It may not be perfect from day one, but we can work with a democratic government on its human rights policies. The indications in Egypt are that the people want a modern secular government. I believe in self-rule and freedom more than I believe in any particular policy; I will not be surprised if LGBT citizens of Arab countries have to fight for their rights, and I hope at least there is an open forum for them to present their case.

JimK

January 31, 2011 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I believe in self-rule and freedom more than I believe in any particular policy;"

it's hard to believe that when you've fought any attempt here to let voters vote on gay agenda issues

Mubarak wasn't perfect and we'll hope that those committed to the ideals of individual conscience, that countries with a Judeo-Christian heritage inherit, will prevail

but history provides little comfort from France in the late eighteenth century to Russia in the early twetieth century to Cuba in the late fifties to Iran to Afghanistan in the seventies that democracy wins in the midst of chaos, when a people has rejected Judeo-Christianity

Napoleon, Lenin, Castro, Khomeini, the Taliban all flourished in such conditions

the Muslim Brotherhood sees the opportunity to revive the caliphate

February 01, 2011 2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with those paranoid fantasies, Anon. The Arab people want freedom, just like everybody else. You should support them in their pursuit of it.

February 01, 2011 6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jordan's King Abdullah has dismissed his cabinet and ended the current government. The king has appointed Marouf al-Bakhit, a former army general, as his new prime minister, and asked him to form a new government.

King Abdullah's move comes after thousands of Jordanians took to the streets — inspired by the regime ouster in Tunisia and the turmoil in Egypt — and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rifai who is blamed for a rise in fuel and food prices and slowed political reforms.

The Royal Palace says Rifai's Cabinet resigned on Tuesday.

Abdullah also nominated Marouf al-Bakhit as his prime minister-designate. No other details were immediately available.

This story is developing. Check back for more details.

February 01, 2011 9:29 AM  
Anonymous FOX spreads FEAR said...

Here's why Anon can't relate to the revolutions in the streets of the Arab world: The Egyptian revolution, as told by Fox News

"The tone for Fox News' coverage -- or lack thereof of -- of the protests that are sweeping Egypt was set last Friday, when the demonstrations escalated to such a level that even Western media outlets couldn't justify ignoring them any longer. As the Guardian's Richard Adams described it on his live blog:

"The main US cable news networks had given Egypt minimal coverage so far this week, partly because of the time difference but also because of the president's state of the union address on Tuesday night absorbing so much energy. That has all changed today, with the the extraordinary scenes from Egypt filling America's TV screens...

The exception has been Fox News, where coverage has been more muted. "You probably don't give a lot of time thinking about Egypt," a Fox News presenter suggested about an hour ago, before explaining that "groups linked to al-Qaida" were in danger of taking over the government in Cairo."

It shouldn't be a surprise that an outlet owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose media empire routinely gives voice to Islamophobic paranoia and was instrumental in inciting and promoting the "ground zero mosque" controversy, would frame the Egyptian revolution not as a popular democratic uprising but rather as the sinister work of radical "Islamists" -- and a potential threat to the United States."

February 01, 2011 9:38 AM  

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