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An Uncertain New Era in the Arab World
Hoover Inst ^ | 9-11-13 | Fred Kagan

Posted on 09/11/2013 11:09:50 AM PDT by Dysart

The Arab Spring is a series of events of truly world-historical importance. It has already reshaped the Arab World and the Middle East more fundamentally and more rapidly than any event in the past several centuries. Even the emergence of the modern Arab states after the fall of the Ottoman Empire was more protracted and gradual. The suddenness and scale of the events of the past three years has a disruptive and transformative power all its own. The outcome of that transformation is far from clear at this point. It is, in fact, highly contingent on a series of unpredictable events and interactions within the Arab World, between the Arab World and the wider Middle East community, and with external powers, including especially the United States. Two things are already clear, however. The world as we knew it before the Arab Spring is gone forever and will not return. And the nature of the order that replaces it will have profound and lasting impacts on the entire world.

The Arab world has had very little experience in governing itself over the last few centuries. The Ottoman Turks had taken control over almost all Arab communities by the end of the 16th Century and continued to exercise suzerainty over, if not actually to rule, the Arabs until the 19th. As Turkish control over Arab lands broke down, however, other imperial powers stepped in, especially the British and the French during the 19th Century. The first modern Arab states emerged after the end of the First World War and, with it, the Ottoman Empire, as various Arab communities achieved independence, often through revolutions against either the Ottomans or Western Empires or, sometimes, both.

(Excerpt) Read more at hoover.org ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: arab; arabspring; egypt; fredkagan; kimberlykagan; obagy; randsconcerntrolls; syria; uncertain; waronterror; world
Part of the conclusion: "Violent Islamists, of course, are seizing upon every opportunity to argue that current events prove that democracy is a violation of Allah’s will. “Bullets, not ballots,” is their slogan in Egypt and elsewhere as they argue that only violence and unlimited brutality of the sort in which they specialize can bring effective and just government to Arabs."
1 posted on 09/11/2013 11:09:50 AM PDT by Dysart
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To: Dysart

Maybe the U.S. can add some certainty by definitively washing our hands of the Arab world, and pulling out of the Mid East to leave the parties on their own.


2 posted on 09/11/2013 11:15:39 AM PDT by AtlasStalled
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To: AtlasStalled

While at first a very tempting thought, Leftists have made— through their Green Energy fetishism/cronyism— our abandoning the ME impractical. Russia, China, and Iran rush in to claim control over resources and seats of power for themselves and leave us at their mercy. That is not all attractive.


3 posted on 09/11/2013 11:25:33 AM PDT by Dysart (Being nuts has its advantages...and the machete doesn't hurt, either.)
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To: Dysart

I hear you but I think if energy spikes up upon our exit from the Middle East the casual liberal will come around to domestic exploration


4 posted on 09/11/2013 11:40:06 AM PDT by AtlasStalled
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To: AtlasStalled
"Maybe the U.S. can add some certainty by definitively washing our hands of the Arab world"

As long as we need oil from the region, we cannot simply wash our hands of the Arab world. Power hates a vacuum. We leave, someone like Russia or China step in. That would be worse.
5 posted on 09/11/2013 11:42:35 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

You can thank THE FOREIGNER and his REGIME of IDIOTS for making it more uncertain.


6 posted on 09/11/2013 12:06:06 PM PDT by spawn44 ( MOO)
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To: Dysart
It's not just the Arabs. A giant arc of the Islamic world is some combination of completely dysfunctional and corrupt (Pakistan, Egypt, Libya), police-state Islamist (Iran, Saudi Arabia) or collapsing in bloodshed and conflict (Syria). We are witnessing a segment of the world gradually falling apart. There is not one country from Morocco to Pakistan, with the telling exception of Israel (and maybe Turkey), that is not either in chaos or capable of falling into it at any moment. We could try to influence the outcome, but toward what end? Mr. Kagan asserts:

The one thing that all of the revolutions in the Arab world since 2011 have in common is that they installed elected governments in place of dictators. Some Arabists would have had us believe that democracy would never and could never take root among Arabs, and, furthermore, that Arabs as a people did not desire it. That view appears unquestionably to have been discredited. Arabs as a people certainly do want it, participate in elections in larger numbers than Americans when given the chance, and are in many cases willing to fight and die for it, with or without foreign assistance or intervention.

If democracy means voting, then I suppose he is right, but what is that worth? There is too small a constituency for liberal democracy (in the old sense of "liberal"). The number of people in the Islamic arc who are in favor of equality before the law for all regardless of sect, secular governance, and a government with a minimal capacity to redistribute wealth and reward friends and punish enemies is de facto zero. The Islamic arc doesn't need voting, it needs governments that can credibly commit to leaving their people alone for a century or so. And its poverty, ability of insiders to profit from control of the sovereign, sectarianism, and readiness to embrace any leader who claims to be carrying out the will of Allah make this impossible.

7 posted on 09/11/2013 12:31:01 PM PDT by untenured
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

First off, we don’t get much oil from the ME except for maybe SA. Europe and Asia get most ME oil. The Russians export a large amount of gas to Europe.
Fact is those Neanderthals don’t want any foreigners there regardless who they are. Ask the Russians how their Afghanistan thing worked out.
Sure the Syrians will grant the Russians a base on the Med. It gives them a place to funnel weapons throughout the ME.
I’d rather step back for a while.
Prior to Obama, I liked the idea that we were on both sides of Iran, but now that Obey has pulled us completely out of Iraq and on the fast pullout track for the Afghans, we might as well as pull completely out now.


8 posted on 09/11/2013 12:34:34 PM PDT by Undecided 2012
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To: untenured
If democracy means voting, then I suppose he is right, but what is that worth? There is too small a constituency for liberal democracy (in the old sense of "liberal"). The number of people in the Islamic arc who are in favor of equality before the law for all regardless of sect, secular governance, and a government with a minimal capacity to redistribute wealth and reward friends and punish enemies is de facto zero. The Islamic arc doesn't need voting, it needs governments that can credibly commit to leaving their people alone for a century or so. And its poverty, ability of insiders to profit from control of the sovereign, sectarianism, and readiness to embrace any leader who claims to be carrying out the will of Allah make this impossible.

It is a valid critique, to point out that in some pockets of Islam they have dipped their toes into the Democratic political process, but this is distinct from a fully functioning democracy.

I think here that the tension between religious sects precludes necessary conditions such as compromise, including setting aside ancient tribal allegiances, abiding respect for the rule of law when it may not coincide with their dogma.

Frankly by nature a large percentage of them are not rational beings and that's a problem...well, the list of unresolved dilemmas and conflicts hinting at enduring chaos in the region is long. I'm also not terribly optimistic for their prospects of realizing anything that approximates a free and open society governed by a liberal system of laws. This might imply supplanting the role and authority of religion in their view-- a bet I wouldn't take. I'm not confident Kagan is optimistic, either, though.

9 posted on 09/11/2013 1:12:41 PM PDT by Dysart (Being nuts has its advantages...and the machete doesn't hurt, either.)
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To: maggief

Thought i pinged you to this one too, but I think I intended to read the article first.

At the very least, timing...


10 posted on 09/11/2013 2:18:59 PM PDT by thouworm (A lawless oligarchy has replaced our Constitution-based govt. Their motto: Catch us if you can.)
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