I was cynical as well about the Egyptian revolution, not with the Iraqi though, but really don't want to be.
How can we lose our cynicism? Do we need another Reaganesque figure who will point out all the good and positive things, all the many accomplishments, in our cultures?
Charles Krauthammer expresses his admiration for the expression of liberty by the Egyptians, then calls the outcome a week ahead of time, that the military would be the best "mid-wife" for Egyptian democracy.
I think it is much better to be optimistic, repeatably, and disappointed occasionally, than to be a dour cynic.
I can appreciate that by 1950, the Soviet Union held influence over most of the world. I also can appreciate that all World War II forces learned that oil makes strong militaries. With this being said, America's dive into the gutter to push back their influence and inject our own meant that we had to devalue our morality at times in the interim. But after the Berlin Wall fell, we pretended that there were to be no repercussions. We released our grip just as the Soviets did. Even as Yugoslavia cracked apart into ethnic slaughter and genocide, we pretended that there was no reason. Even as American troops landed in nations that were falling apart or watched genocide in Africa from afar, we refused to identify the common theme, which was that they were all legacies of first, European colonialism, and second Cold War maintainment efforts. Even as U.S. military and civilian death counts rose abroad because of a growing terrorist organization, we refused the intle reports that told us about a religious crisis in the Middle East. And after 9/11, so many pretended (and still do) that a religion in crisis within these European made unnatural borders and underneath former Cold War leaderships couldn't possibly be a factor.
Look at the attitude in Washington since 2003. The Conservatives were all about the WMD excuse and then democracy in Iraq. The Liberals were all about the WMD excuse and damn Iraqi democracy. Today, Conservatives lean towards "stabilization" in Egypt, no matter the cost, and Liberals lean towards Egyptian democracy. And the American people have no idea what they support as can be seen in their fickle opinions as television commentators do everything possible to pretend they know what they are talking about. The truth is that instead of pretending that "our wars are over" in 1989, we should have recognized that the end of the Cold War meant that America was free of having to place our values on the shelf. We should have recognized that Europeans and Americans have a responsibility to deal with the mess that wasa created and facilitated over the last 400-ish years. And we damn well should have recognized that our long term security was never in good hands with the temporary dictator that defied the Soviet Union on our behalf.
But lets put this into selfish terms where we dismiss the well being of others. Let's just state what plenty prefer to state, which is that it is all about oil. Well, is not our long term business deals throughtout the world stronger where the citizens of those governments vote and choose destiny? Oil is no different and the fact is that these people would have an avenue of expression other than hating the "foriegn devil" and strapping bombs to their chests or joining organizations that support such activity.
No matter how the dimwitted and shallow pundit defines it, democracy inthe Middle East equals American security. It is a fact that our security has always been decided by the health of foriegn regions.
I wrote this to my cynical cousin on Facebook a few minutes ago (and stole a few of your lines, thanks again ):
Hope for the best and plan for the worst.
Since 9/11, realizing that our support for autocracies in the ME was radicalizing the Muslim population because of our hypocrisy, I waited for our reaction. Afghanistan was an immediate reaction to disrupt Al'Qaeda. Iraq was the reaction I was waiting for. Bin Laden got his wish, and Bush completely changed our Foreign Policy toward the Middle East. The new organizing principle? Only freedom and democracy can alleviate the oppression Muslims live under, which is spawning radicalism. Democracy is the antidote to oppression, and will compete with radicalism. Iraq was the shock and awe to the Middle East, but not in the way it was assumed. It was NOT about our weapons and the destruction we could cause or the rapidity of our victory over poorly trained and equipped conventional forces. No, it was our resilience faced with insurgency, to not run away a la Mogadishu. It was the rise of liberty and free speech and assembly and the ratification of a new constitution and the free and fair election of representatives across Iraq, televised live to the Middle East, courtesy of Al'Jazeera.
This is what sparked the hopes and dreams of average Muslims across the region. The wave of democratization is building fast. Cairo was once a seat of the Caliphate, before the Arabian Peninsula elders blew it apart in jealousy that they had lost their influence over Muslims. Once again it takes the lead as the home of the internally sponsored revolt against autocracy - no need to external intervention anymore, the trigger has been pulled. Algeria today, who tomorrow? Baghdad, Cairo and Islamabad are the centers of the revolution. Mecca is history, politically, only good for the Hajj with its 5-star hotels.
I am not willfully blind to reality, but I am invested emotionally in hope and change (not that Obama has given us any of that). They are not vapors. It is what moves mens' and womens' spirit and gives power that can overcome any obstacle.
"[God] will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves" (Qur'an 13:11)
Exaggerated self-flaggelation is also a Leftist trait, so seeking every imperfection in democracy will always trump honesty.
Last edited by MSgt; 02-12-11 at 12:20 PM.