Monday, January 31, 2011

Required Reading

Ross Douthat on the Devil We Know. When DZ and I were writing for Twenty-First Century Books' so-called Dictatorship Series, Mark asked the sensible question: Who decides? Than Shwe, sure, but the Assads? Why not Mubarak?

Of course, we like the strongman who can hold his nation together without getting in our way or rattling sabers in our direction--why we stood for Tito while deploring the North Korean Kims.

Douthat points out, equally sensibly, that everyone's fears of the Muslim Brotherhood might mask the fact that a new pan-Arabism might be even worse for U.S. interests. I frankly don't think the MB can exist as anything other than an opposition group; that's their ethos and their reason for being.
We have theories, and expect the facts to fall into line behind them....The only comfort, as we watch Egyptians struggle for their country’s future, is that some choices aren’t America’s to make.
It's worth remembering that Egypt has only had four presidents. The first was removed from office and imprisoned for 18 years. The next two were assassinated. Mubarak himself has been bombed and stabbed and gassed. It's hard to imagine a large and eager slate of populist candidates, even if "free and fair elections" are the outcome when the dust has cleared.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, but that's where you're wrong. There will be a huge slate of populist candidates. Look at the millions of protesters. It's when democracy is only a dream that people come out of the woodwork. Unfortunately, none of them will win. But that's a different story altogether.