Saturday, July 09, 2011

National Geographic: An American reflection on youth uprisings in the Middle East

The US has a tremendous amount of leverage in its colonies in the Middle East: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and others and there is something both callous and cowardly about American politicians or even analysts saying democratic reform, the signature and defining value of the United States should be led in the countries by children. Further by children setting themselves on fire.

The United States did not have to wait for that in Tunisia or Egypt. It does not have to wait for that in Saudi Arabia and Jordan and Morocco. The US knows these governments are not accountable to their people. Either that is ok, either the US will continue to support them, or it is not ok and the US will publicly outline the consequences these countries will face if their dictatorships continue.

The fact is that it is OK. As MJ Rosenberg once said:
Jordan, for instance, is not a democracy in the western sense but it is precisely the kind of neighbor Israel needs. Egypt is not a democracy but is at peace with Israel. A democratic Egypt probably would not be.

Rosenberg is a moderate or left-wing Zionist and his position is the US' position.

The onus should not be on children and young adults under 30 to overturn dictatorships ruled indirectly from Washington DC.

National Geographic's Jeffery Bartholet remarks on just that happening:

Some 60 percent of the people in the Middle East are under 30 years old, and many of them are angry. Like young people everywhere, they have ambitions. They want, they need, they crave. They feel constrained—especially, perhaps, when they watch satellite television or surf the Internet. There they can see how the rest of the world lives. Social media (including personal blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more) allow young men and women to share their frustrations in ways they couldn't in the past. They're not alone anymore. Now they have allies. They have power.

I'd like to see the role the US plays in holding over 100 million people in the Middle East powerless brought to a close. But them being powerless is exactly the kind of situation Israel needs.

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