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Monday January 23rd 2012
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American politics
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Arab spring
Who lost Egypt?
Mar 1st 2011, 14:11 by M.S.
EIGHT years after the craziness that was the invasion of Iraq, I barely have the patience to address neo-conservative fantasies about how to turn political evolution in the Muslim world into a story that's somehow all about America liberating grateful locals. So I'm glad Daniel Larison still does, though, in responding to Niall Ferguson​, he seems to be almost out of patience too:
The sobering thing about rapid political change in these countries is that there really is very little that the U.S. could have done differently in just the last few years that would have produced a significantly different outcome. Democratists look at what happened in the 1980s, they reason foolishly that 1989 happened because of what the U.S. and Western allies did in supporting political dissidents, and they conclude that “we did it before, we can do it again!” Just as Iraq war supporters stupidly invoked Japan and Germany as meaningful precedents for the political transformation that could happen in Iraq, Ferguson is invoking the successes of eastern European dissidents as precedents for what could have happened in the Near East.
What makes Ferguson’s comparison even harder to take is the presumption that Western support for eastern European dissidents was important to their success, when the success of eastern European revolutions in 1989 rested almost entirely with the peoples of those countries. Ferguson’s analysis and recommendations seem to hinge on believing that Western support for dissidents in communist states was important to the successful political transition in those states, because Ferguson can’t seem to imagine foreign political movements that succeed or fail regardless of what Westerners do or don’t do...If there is anything more pathetic than the usual round of “who lost [fill in the blank]?”, it is the risible attempt to claim that all would be well if there had just been more American emphasis on democracy promotion earlier on.
I think I can suggest one thing that's more pathetic than the usual round of "who lost [fill in the blank]", and that would be a round of "who lost [fill in the blank]" when we won. Nobody lost Egypt! Egypt just ousted its dictator in a non-violent popular revolution! It's going to have democratic elections in six months! In what perverse universe does this count as a defeat for American foreign policy, for the West, for enlightenment civilisation, for lovers of human rights? Sweet Douglas Feith, what do these people want?
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Doug Pascover Mar 1st 2011 16:03 GMT
What these people want is for someone to have lost something so they can write about it.
By John Lennon's beard, M.S! With all the cause the world has for celebration, why would you be so petty to deny the neocons a share?
jomiku Mar 1st 2011 16:02 GMT
I was working out at the gym and one of the tv's had FoxNews on. They brought on an expert to "grade the WH" on Egypt. Repeating his words as closely as I can remember: "I'm going to be objective, not biased so I'm giving the WH a D-."
That's why. Political gain = lying.
I guess then you go home and kiss your children with that mouth and then you go to your church and mouth words about goodness and salvation and then you go to your job and lie.
Pacer Mar 1st 2011 16:01 GMT
I'd add that if there's a loss for America in all of this it is that our brain drain power diminishes as nasty inopportune places around the world develop into more pleasant places for the best and brightest to remain and prosper.
Pacer Mar 1st 2011 15:57 GMT
Nonviolent democratic revolutions are pretty much lost customers for the defense industry. That's probably the source of the angst coming out of certain foreign policy circles.
Faedrus Mar 1st 2011 15:56 GMT
"Sweet Douglas Feith, what do these people want?"
They want their monthly pay checks from Murdoch, or the Koch Brothers, or Red State, or whoever is paying them to crank out reams of infantile nonsense against whatever Democratic politician they happen to be gunnin' for.
afvincent Mar 1st 2011 15:55 GMT
"Sweet Douglas Feith, what do these people want?" Spectacular, sir!
willstewart Mar 1st 2011 15:40 GMT
The West will have enabled the Arab awakening to a significant extent by:-
1 - existing; showing what free countries look like
2 - providing the technology to enable Egyptians to see (1)
RestrainedRadical Mar 1st 2011 15:28 GMT
This debate from 2007 between realists and neo-cons may be of interest to some:
LaContra Mar 1st 2011 15:25 GMT
Who lost Egypt?
...Well Hosni Mubarak of course and its a fantasy to think it was anyone else's to lose.
It would seem that for all of its liberal democratic rhetoric and patter, the West still cannot shake itself free of its historical narrative of imperialism.
hedgefundguy Mar 1st 2011 15:16 GMT
Nobody lost Egypt! Egypt just ousted its dictator in a non-violent popular revolution! It's going to have democratic elections in six months! In what perverse universe does this count as a defeat for American foreign policy, for the West, for enlightenment civilisation, for lovers of human rights?
Neither you nor I are on the ground in Cairo.
Perhaps you might want to watch the Frontline program that was filmed on the ground in Cairo.
Turkey Vulture Mar 1st 2011 14:56 GMT
These people want their Team to regain power.
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