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View Diary: ARAB MEDIA Crash Course: Obama's Interview (19 comments)

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  •  Bush totally sucked but (0+ / 0-)

    why is it that so many think it is the job of the US to fix the problems of the middle east. Those societies have been around for centuries. Why aren't the leaders of arab and muslim nations held responsible for the poverty of their people? The US has by no means been perfect but I don't understand why we should be the ones to solve the ills of their own societies. They need to take reponsibilty for the development of their own countries and their people. Everyone is looking for someone to blame for their own failures.

    "We don't throw the first punch, but we'll throw the last." Barack Obama, October 6, 2008

    by jessica69 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 05:09:30 AM PST

    •  Well, we prop up their corrupt dictators (1+ / 0-)
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      trivium

      Well, I definitely agree that a cult of victimization often poisons the wells of Arab thought, and that people need to believe that they're at least agents of their destiny.  That's a trait that's common throughout humanity in any society suffering a deep sense of humiliation.  So remember that American support is, always indirectly and quite often directly, responsible for keeping most of the current Middle East regimes in power.

      Most Arabs will tell any American they find that they love America's ideals and culture - free speech, democracy, the rule of law, plus our pop culture and how powerfully our system can raise standards of living.  They resent America because they believe its policies willfully, cynically deny these blessings to the Arab world by supporting the dictatorships that rule it.  We've supported Mubarak in Egypt for thirty years.  We've gone to war to save the Saudi regime whose is, well, even dystopia is a gentle way of putting it. All the autocratic Gulf monarchies fall directly under the American military umbrella.  We support an autocratic military-based regime in Algeria. Even the relatively open Arab governments we're allied with - like Jordan, Tunisia, and Morocco - kill all sorts of free speech absolutely preclude any transfer of power from the ruling party.  Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon (somewhat) have real elections that really decide who rules, but each passed through hell-on-earth to get that. Excepting Belarus, the least democratic European country is more open and free politically than the freest Arab country.  So it's hard for people to demand change there when we rarely ask their leaders to even listen, much less act on it.

      But we can't let a thousand democracies bloom all at once in the mid-east - grand transformational designs usually screw up more than they fix.  Stability is necessary for sustainable political liberalization, but our fixation on stability at the expense of openness and human rights has helped get the mid-east in the mess its in today.  So we need to continue to support these regimes but prod them to become more open and democratic (Taiwan and South Korea offer pretty good examples to emulate).  So we're stuck looking like the bad guy, no matter what we do.  That's why there's no easy answers.  

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