DECJANNOV
23
201120122015
5 captures
23 Jan 2012 - 18 Nov 2015
About this capture
Monday January 23rd 2012
Search this site:


American politics
Democracy in America
Arab spring
Who lost Egypt?
Mar 1st 2011, 14:11 by M.S.
Tweet
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?
Related items
TOPIC: United States »
TOPIC: Iraq »
TOPIC: Egypt »
TOPIC: Political dissent »
More related topics:
Readers' comments
The Economist welcomes your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful of other readers. Review our comments policy.
* Add a comment (up to 5,000 characters):

Sort:
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: http://intelligencesquaredus.org/index.php/past-debates/spreading-democr...
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.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/revolution-in-cairo
Regards
Turkey Vulture Mar 1st 2011 14:56 GMT
These people want their Team to regain power.
About Democracy in America
In this blog, our correspondents share their thoughts and opinions on America's kinetic brand of politics and the policy it produces. The blog is named after the study of American politics and society written by Alexis de Tocqueville, a French political scientist, in the 1830s
RSS feed
Advertisement
Trending topics
Read comments on the site's most popular topics
Period: 1 day1 week2 weeks​30 days

View full-sized opinion cloud »
Sponsored by
Economist blogs
Most commented
Most recommended
Most commented
  1. Will the euro survive 2012 intact?
  2. Japan's immigration control: Gulag for gaijin
  3. Newt Gingrich: Newt and the "food-stamp president"
  4. The Republican nomination: Live-blogging the Republican debate
  5. Hungary's travails: Budapest vs Brussels
  6. Charlemagne: And then there was one
  7. Taiwan’s elections: It’s all right, Ma
  8. The South Carolina primary: The slog begins
  9. The Republican nomination: Red-meat delivery
  10. Israel and Palestine: Toddling to talks about talks
Over the past five days
Most recommended
  1. Technological change: The last Kodak moment?
  2. Rioting in Romania: The battle of Bucharest
  3. Daily chart: Winners and losers
  4. Internet regulation: Black ops
  5. Newt Gingrich: Newt and the "food-stamp president"
  6. Civilian drones: Difference engine: Unblinking eye in the sky
  7. The euro zone crisis: France goes soft-core
  8. Japan's immigration control: Gulag for gaijin
  9. Mexico's drug war: Working together
  10. The visible hand
Over the past seven days
Advertisement
Latest blog posts - All times are GMT
The markets still say Mitt
From Buttonwood's notebook - 1 hrs 36 mins ago
Newt presses those good ol' buttons
From Democracy in America - 1 hrs 34 mins ago
Apple and the American economy
From Free exchange - 1 hrs 10 mins ago
Slouching towards Brussels
From Eastern approaches - 1 hrs 13 mins ago
Cape Verde’s music lives on
From Prospero - 2 hrs 50 mins ago
Returns of the dragon
From Graphic detail - 2 hrs 45 mins ago
A small island with a big problem
From Blighty - 2 hrs 46 mins ago
More from our blogs »
Products & events
Stay informed today and every day
Subscribe to The Economist's free e-mail newsletters and alerts.
Get e-mail newsletters
Subscribe to The Economist's latest article postings on Twitter
Follow The Economist on Twitter
See a selection of The Economist's articles, events, topical videos and debates on Facebook.
Follow The Economist on Facebook
Classified ads
World politicsUnited StatesUS Elections 2012BritainEuropeAsiaAmericasMiddle East & AfricaBusiness & financeAll Business & financeWhich MBA?Business Books QuarterlyEconomicsAll EconomicsEconomics by invitationMarkets & dataEconomics A-ZScience & technologyAll Science & technologyTechnology QuarterlyCultureAll CultureMore Intelligent LifeThe Economist QuizThe World in 2012BlogsLatest blog postsEastern approachesAmericas viewFree exchangeBabbageGame theoryBagehot's notebookGraphic detailBanyanGulliverBaobabJohnsonBlightyLeviathanButtonwood's notebookLexington's notebookCassandraMultimediaCharlemagne's notebookNewsbookClausewitzProsperoDemocracy in AmericaSchumpeterDebateEconomist debatesEconomics by invitationIdeas arena: Women & workLetters to the editorWhat the world thinksMultimediaWorldBusiness & economicsScience & technologyCultureThe World in 2012The Economist in audioPrint editionCurrent issuePrevious issuesSpecial reportsPolitics this weekBusiness this weekLeadersKAL's cartoon