August 5, 2014

WE CAN DELAY DEMOCRACY NOT STOP IT...:

After the Arab Spring: The Return of the Generals (Shadi Hamid, 8/04/14, Der Spiegel)

In Egypt, the loss of faith in not just democracy, but in the very notion of politics, was particularly striking. A not insignificant number of Egyptians backed the military coup of July 3, 2013, and then turned away from -- or, worse, embraced -- the mass killing of their countrymen on August 14, 2013. More than 600 were killed in mere hours, as security forces moved to disperse Muslim Brotherhood supporters from two protest camps in Cairo. This happened exactly a year ago -- and will remain a dark blot on the country's history. It, in a sense, is what the Arab Spring had managed to unleash -- not just chaos but something darker.

Before they began to falter, the region's autocrats, whether in Tunisia, Syria or Yemen, were fond of reminding Westerners that despite their brutality -- or perhaps because of it -- they were the ones keeping the peace and ensuring stability. As Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in a televised address just 10 days before he was ousted, "The events of the last few days require us all as a people and as a leadership to choose between chaos and stability." In a sense, he and his fellow autocrats were right -- there was a tradeoff. These, after all, were weak states, divided by religion, ideology, sect and clan.

With little warning, the uprisings pushed these internal tensions and conflicts that had always simmering in the background to the fore. Before the uprisings, Arab strongmen had governed unwieldy countries with arbitrary borders and uncertain identities. They promised stability at the expense of liberty -- and it was a bargain that held for decades.

...and the state of the Midddle East is the price we pay for delaying it since 1919.  The idea that stoking further resentment will make the region better is obviously nonsensical.
Posted by at August 5, 2014 7:09 PM
  
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