Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's Not Just "Our S.O.B.s" Faliing In the Middle East

Keep in mind that America's bestest friends in Saudi Arabia have yet to face a rebellion. If the wave of revolutions were simply fueled by anti-Americanism, Saudi Arabia would likely be a centerpiece and Libya wouldn't be the player that it is.

Also, keep in mind that pressure on Iran has been arriving from more parties than just John Bolton and American policy hawks. While walking in Bellevue, Washington very recently I came upon this man, who had really harsh words for the regime in Iran:


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The things this man said to me were very politically incorrect, as he said, "When Islam and the government mix, it's like a disease," before adding, "I'm a Muslim."

The most apt analogy that I actually heard about the Arab Spring actually came surprising from the Marxist Tariq Ali. This was before Libya became a player, which may mess with his ideology, since Ali is a firm supporter of Hugo Chavez, a close ally of Qaddafi. Ali compared the uprisings with the revolutions of 1848, which stretched from Italy to Denmark. Many of the revolutions were put down but resulted in very strong social and cultural change within Europe.

The revolutions occurring in the Middle East may be just as significant. The Middle East has tried all sorts of different policy options beside democracy and pluralism. They've tried religious extremism, American clientelism and Arab nationalism. They now are left with liberalism. That comes with all sorts of social impacts that many in the Middle East aren't going to be comfortable with, including cracks in the firm wall that exists between men and women in most countries of the region, but globalization and the availability of information from around the world makes the unwavering manner of Middle Eastern society alot weaker. How it will all end up is anyone's guess but like Europe in the latter half of the nineteenth century, it will look alot different.