Neocons and their “liberal interventionist” sidekicks thought Arab Spring “regime changes” in Libya and Syria (and a counterrevolution in Egypt) were great ideas, but the unleashed chaos has spread violence across the Mideast. A lone bright spot has been Tunisia, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
A key justification for three recent U.S. military actions – in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – was to oust brutal dictators and pave the way for a more democratic future. But these violent strategies have fallen short on the pro-democracy front, writes the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
More and more, the Republican Party is becoming a Christian fundamentalist movement with attacks on “secularism” and demands for school-run prayers for students, but many of these same politicos express shock when people in the Middle East turn to Islamic-oriented parties, Lawrence Davidson notes.
The West has long played a double game regarding democracy in the Middle East, replacing popular leaders who nationalized oil or caused “trouble” with autocrats – and then condemning Muslims as politically backward. Now that democracy is returning, the West again is uneasy, writes Adil E. Shamoo.
President Barack Obama’s speech on a “new chapter” in U.S. policy toward the Middle East was filled with platitudes befitting a New Year’s resolution, but there is little expectation that he will follow through, especially on the hardest issues like the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, says Lawrence Davidson.