The measured US response that leaned increasingly towards the pro-democracy demonstrators combined with the stark contrast between the government responses to similar demonstrations in US ally, Bahrain and former Soviet client and pan-arabist dictatorship, Libya may be setting up a new role for the US in the Middle East.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
We may be seeing a new US role in the middle east emerge in which our allies are more likely to democratize relatively smoothly if slowly and gradually (with a small number of exceptions like Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen). While Bahrain is showing promising signs of opening up another round of liberalizing reforms, Libya's Gaddafi seems to be intent on killing as many of the protestors as he needs to. He may even be using foreign mercenaries (from other non-US allies like the Sudan) to do it.
For once, the US is not the outside power backing the ruthless dictator. Finally there are signs that the US can be a constructive influence on policies that really matter to Arabs. In the end, for the US to be the moderating restraining influence on dictators under pressure to reform may be more important than if the US were to suddenly abandon Israel. Call me crazy but I am of the opinion that if Israel were surrounded by reasonable, relatively peaceful governments that nevertheless kept the pressure on them it would do more to shift Israeli policy than all the bellicosity and threats of war and extermination that have been the mainstay of Islamist strategies. One possible consequence of this is that if Israel can no longer credibly claim that only unwavering US support prevents the genocide of Levantine Jews, it would allow the US to finally put real pressure on Israel. It would also empower the growing segment of Israeli society that genuinely wants a peaceful solution to the problem.
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 9:26 AM