Middle East Status Update

The Middle Eastern revolutions have been a huge blessing. First of all, whenever I look at a group of people, such as the Tunisians, I know that they didn't choose to be born in Tunisia. So I don't expect them to all have an identical mentality, and in fact, I consider it to be racist to have that expectation. That's why I consider most on the left-wing to be racist. They talk about Palestinians etc without hedging that only x% of them are on the permanent grievance left-wing cause celebre.

So in Tunisia, there was always going to be x% of people who just wanted to live in a normal European-style secular capitalist liberal democracy, and people in the West shouldn't have anything against such people. The sickest thing I see in the West is when I see right-wing Americans claiming that the Tunisians aren't ready for democracy until the x is large enough for the Tunisians to be able to take on automatic weapons in a glorious revolution. Sick, sick, sick.

Fortunately the Tunisians got lucky and they had a military coup at the highest level. This fact gets lost in the pictures of glorious revolution seen on TV. There is simply no way past a properly-organized modern military. That is somewhat lost on the Egyptians too. The street demos triggered off what was basically a military coup. The Libyans managed to get some military units to switch sides, but it was nowhere near what was required for victory. Even NATO air strikes have only been enough to protect eastern gains and not enough to dislodge Gaddafi. In Yemen it seems that at the end of the day, the ruler himself was decent enough to do a military coup on himself. Similar to Gorbachev. In Syria it looks like people are going to get the same result as in Iran - as many people mowed down as required to ensure regime survival.

Anyway, the take-away lesson here remains that glorious revolutions are no match for automatic weapons. This is the deadly equation that saw 100,000 Iraqis die in 1991 without achieving anything at all.

Obviously the results of democracy in these countries remains somewhat unpredictable. I am willing to wear the (small) risk of Al Qaeda terrorists having the numbers in a place like Tunisia. The Tunisians don't have the capacity to do much harm, and they will quickly tire of Al Qaeda should they choose it. Reality is that they will feel insulted that I even mention Al Qaeda. This is a nation that just passed a law saying that election lists must be staggered with equal numbers of women. They're about to leapfrog the West with something like that. I'm normally against quotas, but I think in a situation like that, it doesn't matter who the spokesman for an ideology is, so it may as well be staggered.

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