Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Baffled Powerless West

Consider this by Christopher Booker

Yet again the Western world gazes baffled and powerless at the ever more tragic mess unfolding across the Middle East. The wishful-thinking euphoria that greeted the “Arab Spring” two years ago seems a million miles away as Egypt plunges into bloody chaos; an even greater catastrophe continues to engulf Syria; violence returns to Lebanon with a huge bomb attack on Assad’s Hizbollah allies; thousands die in the sectarian strife that is the West’s legacy to “liberated” Iraq; and yet more “peace talks” brokered by the US between Israel and the Palestinians look more forlorn than ever.

If that sounds familiar, that was what I wrote, basically, on July 30th.

And Booker zeros in on Iran and the West:-

Yet nowhere is the West’s inability to grasp the realities of Middle Eastern politics more obvious than in its self-deceiving attitude to the most powerful and menacing regime of all, the theocratic dictatorship that rules over Iran. Quite apart from its ruthless oppression of its own people, the Tehran regime has a finger in pretty well every nasty pie in the region – as chief backer of the Assad regime in Syria and pro-Palestinian terror groups such as Hizbollah; as the shadowy presence behind the corrupt al-Maliki regime in Iraq; and even supposedly as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Yet again, recently we saw the West’s endless gullibility over Iran in the response of politicians and media to the election as president of Hassan Rouhani, hailed as a “moderate” and a “reformer” who might open the door to better relations between Iran and the West, not least over the ever-vexed issue of Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power.



Since the Arab Spring burst forth with all its violent power from the squares of Cairo, the White House has remained a prisoner to its belief that it is possible to export Western democracy to Egypt, as if we are talking about an American consumer product. The possibility that the essence of democracy is not based on the right to vote at the polling booth, but rather the existence of societies that have affinity for and faith in the values of patience, tolerance and pluralism (and also have institutions that reflect those values), has not yet seeped into the consciousness of Obama's team.

No comments: