Thursday, February 24, 2011

An interesting opinion

I heard one of the guys on Stephanie Miller's show the other day saying that no one seems to have noticed the possible connection between President Obama's strategy on the Middle East (the whole "we are not your enemy" approach) and the emergence of rebellions and protests in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. He thought that maybe Chimpy's "bomb them into democracies" policy didn't exactly create a climate conducive to revolution, while maybe Obama's relative hands-off policy might.

Of course, this assumes that Obama HAS a hands-off policy. He has continued the war in Afghanistan and we're not exactly out of Iraq yet either. Still, I do wonder if maybe the protesters at least feel that Obama won't rush to bomb the fuck out of them to defend old dictators in the name of "stability" or whatever.

He also mentioned the excellent point that, were Obama to offer any kind of tangible more-than-just-kind-words assistance to the protesters, the loyalists would seize on that support as evidence that the entire protest is simply an American-backed destabilization effort.

I'm not exactly up on Obama's foreign policy, as I kinda feel like he doesn't really seem to have one (other than continue wars, don't piss anyone off, don't make any bold moves), so I ask those of you who know more than I do: what role do you think Obama's different approach to the Middle East has played in the current climate of rebellion there?

7 comments:

Professor Chaos said...

I think Twitter has probably played abigger role than Obama especially in Egypt. It seems like once the Tunisians showed that it was possible, the other fed-up peoples of the region got inspired. Also the bleak employment situation and lopsided distribution of wealth may have made people feel like they had nothing to lose.

dguzman said...

They've had nothing to lose for some time, though -- what's different now? Although I agree that Twitter helped them a lot.

kirby said...

It is interesting how such a frivolous thing like Twitter can be a lifeline in places where the government has such a tight control on the media. No matter what the issue is, just knowing that there is at least one other person who feels the way you do can be pretty empowering.

gmb said...

I think it's more about them than us. Remember, a lot of the middle eastern countries have high percentages of younger people. Many of them can see what's going on in other parts of the world thanks to the internet. And the Wikileaks information about the dictator in Tunisia apparently made people livid, as the US State Dept. e-mails confirmed what they suspected--that Ben Ali and his friends and family were making themselves very rich at their expense. Plus, I understand that there was a young man who immolated himself because he had tried, but failed, to open a fruit stand because he couldn't get the right permit. The tinder was there, he was the spark. The Wikileaks information fanned the flames. The US? I really don't think the average Tunisian even thought about us.

dguzman said...

Kirby--true.

GMB--I remember hearing reports about that guy before the Tunisia protests began and how he had kind-of been the last straw among the frustrated youth. I suppose you could be right that they didn't think twice (or even once) about the US, but it does make me a little happier knowing that Obama wasn't going to just call in the troops and start shooting people, turn it into another excuse for Cheney's Halliburton and Blackwater pals to make money. At least that much has changed, no?

libhom said...

I think the US empire is so overextended that there isn't much a US government can do under the circumstances.

dguzman said...

Libhom, suddenly Hillary is now talking tough about everything being "on the table" including no-fly zones and other sanctions. Like that will make a damned bit of difference to the guy.

Meanwhile, Congress argues about whether to cut Medicare or whatever other bullshit waste of time they're focusing on. The empire in its death throes.