Is there anyone out there who believes that western democratic countries have benefited from the Arab Spring, or for that matter from the removal of Saddam Hussein from Iraq? In Libya, Egypt and Iraq stable regimes, not necessarily pro-western but definitely secular, have been replaced by systems where radical Islamists have been getting the upper hand, or are on the way to get it.
Of course supporting repressive regimes does not agree with our lofty ideals, but there has to come a point where we have to consider what is good for our country. And that is slow gradual and negotiated change, not revolutions in which well-organized minorities take over and radicalize a country.
Unfortunately, I have no clear ideas on how to assist that, other than by supporting stable albeit repressive governments. Making war has not worked, as evidenced by Iraq and Afghanistan. Assisting revolutions has not worked, as demonstrated by the developments in Libya and, to a lesser extent, in Egypt. And the verdict is still out on doing nothing, as is our present policy in Syria…
A more basic question is “How can we convince Muslim countries that we are not their archenemy?” Financial or technical support has not helped, not in the least because of the endemic corruption in these places where such aid mostly ends up in the hands of officials. Any ideas?
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Bio: Bodo Diehn first came to Tucson in 1964 for postdoctoral work at the U. of A. and is a retired university professor. After leaving academia, he went back to work for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for five years. His interests are Politics, Science, and Literature (not necessarily in that order). He is a long distance runner and triathlete.