Geopolitics November 30, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Good point made by Michael McDowell in the SBP this weekend. Lamenting the situation in Syria he argues that the US ‘foolishly… convinced themselves that the so-called Arab Spring offered the opportunity to assist burgeoning democrats to oust strongman autocrats throughout the Middle East and replace them with benign, inclusive pluralist regimes’. That hasn’t worked so well.
But he makes a further excellent point:
The State Department convinced itself of one particular piece of madness – that it was perfectly legitimate to depose autocrats who claimed, on the flimsiest of grounds, to be presidents elected by their people but entirely illegitimate to foster or help any resistance to any Arab monarchs who serve Western purposes.
The mad rule of thumb meant that the West vigorously backed monarchies led by kings, sultans and emirs in Saudi, Morocco, Water, Jordan, Bahrain and the other Gulf states – some more despotic than others. At the same time , inconvenient and troublesome non-monarchical heads of states were fair game for removal and regime change – in Iraq Tunisia Syria, Libya, Yemen and Egypt.
And he notes a further contradiction.
It is strange that the western democracies are most relaxed with regimes formally based one monarchic autocrat and most hostile to autocrat c regimes with democratic sounding trappings such as the Ba’athist republics. Democracy is only to be imposed on states that purport to have democratic forms. They are somehow the greater threats to the wester interest. Monarchs are more easily manipulated.
And there we have it. In a sense the West, or rather elements of it, while trying to play – most obviously for economic gain in terms of petroleum and also financial backing, was played itself. There’s a revolting cynicism about the whole process. Families imposed or assisted by European states initially have gathered around them legitimations (however specious) that somehow protect them. Others have not. No one is arguing that the latter were fantastic, often their brutality equalled that of the monarchies. And yet, the latter have been protected from enemies internal and external, whereas others…
Small wonder that these contradictions have come back in such force to cause such trouble and across the globe.