For the U.S., democracy’s fate in the region matters much less than the struggle between the Saudis and Iran
Robert D. Kaplan
Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2011
Despite the military drama unfolding in Libya, the Middle East is only beginning to unravel. American policy-makers have been spoiled by events in Tunisia and Egypt, both of which boast relatively sturdy institutions, civil society associations and middle classes, as well as being age-old clusters of civilization where states of one form or another have existed since antiquity. Darker terrain awaits us elsewhere in the region, where states will substantially weaken once the carapace of tyranny crumbles. The crucial tests lie ahead, beyond the distraction of Libya.
The United States may be a democracy, but it is also a status quo power, whose position in the world depends on the world staying as it is. In the Middle East, the status quo is unsustainable because populations are no longer afraid of their rulers. Every country is now in play.
Phi Beta Iota: Perhaps his meeting with Barack Obama served kool-aid, and he drank it. This article, which can certainly be considered to be an authoritative depiction of the prevailing views in Washington, is disappointing at multiple levels. The author lacks a strategic analytic model, an ethical model, and a process model, as well as an appreciation for how the tortilla has flipped. Epoch B was born in the 1970’s coincident with Peak Empire when the US was thrown out of Viet-Nam by indigenous people’s with stronger ethics, a stronger culture, and an unconquerable will. Today Epoch B is a young teen-ager, just beginning to flex its muscles. “Dad” can no longer win a physical contest with this young teen-ager, nor can “Dad” understand the nuances of the digital age the way this teen-ager–the first generation not to be a “mini-me” of “Dad”–does. Most of us never imagined that Wall Street and the two-party “front” for corporations would last as long as it did after the 1980’s meltdown. We all under-estimated the placidity of the American public. Now the American public’s perceptions are secondary. The five billion poor are on the march, and Washington has absolutely no clue what to do next.