First Tunisia, Egypt, and then every hour it seemed a new revolution was emerging Algeria, Iran, Libya, and Bahrain- I mean, Bahrain- come on- if you would have asked most Americans what Bahrain was two months ago, more people would have guessed it was a dip for Pita chips, not a country whose people were being gunned down while peacefully protesting.
Just two months into the last year before the final year of the Mayan calendar, the final year in the history of the world, according to 4 out of 5 nihilistic moon bat conspiracy theorists surveyed- the middle East, some real estate with a high level biblically apocalyptic significance, is about as stable as the trifecta of Charlie Sheen, Bolivian coke, and a harem of Heidi Fleiss employees.
So, are we witnessing the beginning of the end? Or is this, somehow, the end of the War on Terror?
Peter Beinart, writing in the Daily Beast, opines:
“the revolutions transforming the Middle East are also deeply sad because they underscore what a terrible waste the last decade of American foreign policy has been. Since September 11, the United States has spent more than $1 trillion in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those wars have cost thousands of young Americans their lives and maimed many more. … From Egypt to Libya to Bahrain to Iran, the lesson of the last month is that any regime that offers its people neither free speech nor a decent job is ideologically weak… Had America’s leaders understood that after 9/11, they might have realized that waiting on events, rather than trying to remake the Middle East at gunpoint wasn’t such a bad idea after all.”
The conclusion here, paraphrasing Beinart, is that as democratically elected regimes pop up in the middle east that are less do not have a history of acquiescing to a US foreign policy, Al Qaeda will find fewer pockets of disenchantment to recruit from.
While Beinart stops short of pointing out that the trillions of dollars spent killing and maiming innocent civilians in countries that posed no immediate threat to us is not only illegal and immoral, but almost certainly blowback inducing. The freedom dance that is going viral in the Middle East is encouraging, and deserving of our full support. However, the U.S. has played the part of Imperial Bull in a Religious, Cultural and Geopolitical China shop for so many decades that it takes a special brand of born in the USA Hubris to think that when all of the dust settles on the tectonic shifts now happening in the middle east, we will wake up to a world that looks at the United States like a benevolent patriarch.