Monday, January 31, 2011

The Arab World On The Brink...
But Of What?

by Melanie Phillips - January 30th, 2011 - The London Spectator

Well, what a turn-up for the books. Those same liberal circles which flayed the neo-cons alive for pursuing the apparently ludicrous idea that democracy could ever come to the Arab world are now hailing the current upheavals in that same Arab world as .. a democratic awakening.

Maybe it will be so. For sure some at least of the elements involved want true freedom and human rights. But that particular argument against the neo-cons was not wrong (and before anyone flies to their keyboard, let me clarify that what I support, and have always supported, is the principal belief that drove neo-con thinking -- not that democracy in such countries was necessarily achievable, and certainly not overnight, but that there is a moral duty to defeat the jihad in order to defend the west. And that was always a very different matter).

Very intriguing opening to an important article. The neo-cons (so reviled by Patrick Buchanan and all of the paleo-conservatives) were always ideologically correct and pragmatically wrong about Bush's efforts in the Middle East. It is the reason that I broke with them over the handling of Afghanistan. Because the reality is that though Iraq might have been a close call on whether a stable democracy was possible, we should have left Afghanistan immediately after the first vote installed Hamid Karzai. A brutal dictatorship would have resulted but at least we would not have had so many of our troops tied down in a permanent insurrection. With those resources we could have then credibly intervened to stop the Iranian subversion of our efforts in Iraq.

As it has turned out, the Islamic Jihadists are still the problem. We are losing that war, not alone in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and various other places throughout the Middle East. The strategic error is that George Bush thought he could fight a war for existential survival without asking the American people to get involved. We have underfunded the war and wasted so many assets in nation building that we are now being defeated everywhere because the American people do not understand the risks. NO ONE is talking about the consequences of defeat.

At least we were feared when Bush was in charge. Now with Obama in charge, not one of our enemies is afraid of America. They know Obama will do nothing but talk. With that certainty we have become the paper tiger they always proclaimed we had become. Our enemies are on the move throughout the Middle East. This will not turn out well. We will shortly face an Islamo Fascist Middle East with two nuclear powers vying to be the first to destroy the great Satan.


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