Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Losing more hope in the Middle East

In a piece in PJMedia, Barry Rubin picks up on a theme I had yesterday.  Key grafs:
Ladies and gentlemen, liberals and conservatives, Obama-lovers and Obama-haters, no matter what your race, creed, gender, national origin, or level of unpaid college loans, two things should be clear to all of you:
First, to describe the Obama administration’s Middle East policy as a disaster — I cannot think of a bigger, deadlier mess created by any U.S. foreign policy in the last century — is an understatement.
Second, the dominant analysis used by the media, academia, and the talking heads on television has proven dangerously wrong. This includes the ideas that revolutionary Islamism doesn’t exist, cannot be talked about, is not a threat, and that extreme radicals are really moderates.
I won’t review all the evidence here, but it amounts to a retreat for moderates, allies of the West, and American interests coupled with an advance for revolutionary Islamists.

On the morning of July 23, 1952, the Middle East entered a new era. The Free Officers Movement took over Egypt and there followed more than a half-century of war, anti-Western hysteria, terrorism, repression, social stagnation, and the basic Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse type stuff in the Middle East. That was the Era of Arab Nationalism.
On February 11, or October 23, or November 28, 2011, the Middle East entered a new era. Whether you date it to the fall of Mubarak, the Tunisian election, or the Egyptian election, what do you think is going to happen in the next half-century in the region? This is now — I call it officially  — the Era of Revolutionary Islamism.
To summarize, I will merely say:
Egypt, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
Six countries or entities listed above have come — or are likely to come — under Islamist rule. Each is different.
But in all but the case of Turkey (where the administration ignored State Department reporting and has continually honored and excused an Islamist regime) and the Gaza Strip (where the administration helped entrench Hamas’s rule by forcing Israel to slash sanctions) they happened almost completely on Obama’s watch. Turkey and the Gaza Strip have become far worse on Obama’s watch.
The seventh, Syria, might merely remain under a repressive, pro-Iran, anti-American regime. And while there is a chance for a moderate democratic revolution, the White House is supporting the Islamists. If the State Department hadn’t revolted and the Saudis acted decisively, Bahrain would probably have been added to the above list.
Ugly.  With a capital UG.  Read the whole thing.

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