Saturday, January 07, 2012
Westerners say they are concerned with theocracy but they really are not. It is a lie and it is understandable that someone might believe that lie because they say it so often. But you'll understand the Western position on governments in the Middle East much better once you see past it.
To Westerners both "theocracy" and "like Iran" mean hostile to Israel, and because the US is committed to Israel, for Westerners that necessarily implies hostile to the US.
Saudi Arabia, for example, is a real theocracy. You'll very rarely, almost never, see an expression of concern about Saudi Arabia's internal policies in Western commentary.
Westerners are simply not concerned about whether Egyptians are ruled by Sharia law, much less whether or not there is a bill of rights in Egypt. We've seen the Mubarak dictatorship that Juan Cole a year ago described as "unproblematic for the US". Westerners are concerned that Egypt will pose a threat to Israel.
If it does, Westerners are prepared to call Egypt a repressive dictatorship no matter how fair its elections actually are or what freedoms are afforded to its citizens.
The United States and the West will oppose Egypt if and only if Egypt develops into a threat to Israel. Then they will lie and say this opposition is based on "theocracy" or "rights" or "repression".
Westerners cannot just say "we oppose any government of any type that does not accept Israel" because that statement would contradict deeply held core Western ideals. But that statement is true, so Westerners lie, first to themselves and then to non-Westerners.
Hezbollah, for example, barely has a veto in a Lebanese political process that is heavily weighted against Shiites. Westerners present Lebanon, Lebanon, as a repressive dictatorship. While ignoring, for example, Jordan.
It's a game. You can play if you want. But if you don't want to play, it is very safe to ignore any Western feigned concern for "sharia" or "theocracy" or "rights" in the greater Middle East.
Posted by Arnold Evans at 5:06 PM