Arlington VA April 6, 2011
Virtually the entire Middle East is up in arms to some degree, but US policy seems to be in shambles. When the first outbreak of violence and oppostion occured in Tunisia, we started out by defending the regime and quickly switched to the insurgents as it became obvious that the Tunisian Government would fall. The same occured in Egypt, as we tried valiantly to support Mubarak until the vast crowds in the streets showed us a new light. Then we quickly froze Mubarak's assets and moved on. Hillary even visited with a scarf on her head in deference to the Islamic Fundamentalists.
The outcomes in those two countries seemed to be a new, and more democratic direction and Hillary Clinton could not wait to be part of new blooming democracies. In Tunisia, that view seems to be working, but in Egypt, that solution is far from certain. While a new, interim constitution is in place, the local villages are increasingly coming uner the control of the Imams, and Shariah Law is quickly forcing itself on the populations. That does not bode well for the US's desire for democracy.
In Yemen and Bahrain, the same scenario is playing out, as part of Yemen is now an "Islamin Emirate", whatever that is, and has created its own government. In Bahrain, home of the US Fifith Fleet, similar marches and riots are occuring, but the US has not publicly stated its view of that government, fearing, we would assume, for the safety of the deepwater port that houses the fleet. Political inconsistency makes us (the US) look like fools to the Arab world.
Nowhere, however, has there been more disorder in approach than in Libya. Here we started bombing Gadhafi's defense, convoys, and assaults, at least at first, and then allowed Gadhafi to move out against the rebels. Our excuse has been that we want to evaluate if al-Quada has infiltrated the rebel forces, mostly because there was a rumor that al_quada fighters had joined the opposition.. Of course they have! Get over it. We surrendered our primary position even before the French (How unusual) and now NATO has to do what we seemed not inclined to do in opposing Gadhafi. Instead, we ordered their embassy in the US closed. That really impacted on Gadhafi--he must be really afraid of us for that action.
The US diplomatic approach is in shambles, as Hillary CLinton goes from safe place to safe place to discuss the issues with other countries who also want to be in safe places. Meanwhile, the insurgents in these countries are doing what we don't have the guts to do--oppose tyranny and put their lives on the line to do so.
When will we learn?