Sweeping Democracy in the Middle East?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by patentesq, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    This is amazing what is unfolding right now in Egypt. With the help of Twitter and cell phones, the democracy genie now appears to be out of the bottle. http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/01/28/shaikh.egypt.protests/index.html?hpt=T2.

    If Mubarak is ousted this weekend, I expect this will give the Green Movement new gusto in Iran. I think good things will happen in 2011 (but not a good time to be an American tourist in the region). We should just lay low and let democracy work its magic.
     
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Hopefully because our President sure didn't.
     
  3. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    Maybe...as long as radical Islam exists, however, I don't envision a peaceful, stable, and democratic Middle East cooperating with the rest of the world. At least not in our lifetime. How important is Egypt to US interests? Do we still have some control over the Suez Canal? Where do they stand on the Israel-Palestine conflict?
     
  4. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    I'm just hoping the secular nation of Egypt doesn't spiral downward into a religious state (I understand the tear-gas canisters being used on demonstrators have "Made in the USA" markings on them). Then we'll have BIG problems in the Suez.
     
  5. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Egypt is the most populous Arab state. The Muslim brotherhood, the father of extremist Islam groups, was born there and continues. It is important.

    On Israel-Palestine, consider they are one of the few Muslim nations to make peace with Israel.
     
  6. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  7. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Jordan government was sacked today, likely in a preemptive move to avoid what's happening in Egypt. I TOTALLY did not expect that.

    We are witnessing a fundamental shift going on in the Middle East.
     
  8. Jabbawocky007

    Jabbawocky007 AFROTC Cadet

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    I'm viewing this with a much more negative outlook: although I'm usually an optimist, I don't think this can go well for the US at all. I can see the Muslim Brotherhood easily using the protests as an advantage to take power of some kind, which would probably sour relations with Israel.

    Although it may spur on the Green movement in Iran, things aren't looking good for a democratic Egypt right now, in my opinion.
     
  9. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    I'm rethinking this, too! Last night, I was watching Anderson Cooper interview a protester, and the woman said something like: "We want Mubarak to leave now, because he made peace with Israel, our enemy!" I hope for their sake things work out well. Every regime in that region must be getting very nervous.
     
  10. tonk002

    tonk002 Member

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    So your the one guy in America that watches CNN:thumb:

    Right now in Qatar, everything is very peaceful. No worries here. I guess when there are no taxes to speak of and when each citizen gets $50,000 per for being Qatari, no one can complain. But, the Saudi neighbors are getting nervous, say some Saudi kids at my conference. Jordan is not really changing- the King is still in power, only the PM left.
    More on the trip later - its been fantastic. Very Very Hot, though.
     
  11. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Hi, tonk002! Good to hear things are well in Qatar! I have a friend in Kuwait who wants me over there. I told him the only way I'm coming is if the Army gives me my Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle back!!

    Back on topic: Yep! Love CNN.
     
  12. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    :biggrin: I was a light Infantry guy myself so keep me away from the Bradley- not enough dismounts to do the job!

    Tonk002- we all are expecting a full trip report on your return- this is just a really cool high school opportunity. Have a good time- the snow will be waiting for you on your return!
     
  13. condor17

    condor17 Class of 2015

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    On the subject of democracy in the Middle East...
    In my International Relations class today, we were discussing the dominoe effect...maybe if democracy takes off in Egypt and Jordan, it will have a dominoe effect on the rest of the region. Democratic governments automatically mean less war, more stability and predicability, and a more free flow of information. Now, according to my understanding, one of the main roots of radical Islam is that they feel that the immoral Hollywood western culture is threatening traditional life in the Middle East. IMO, a free flow of true information about the "real" West, not Hollywood, will start eroding at radical Islam. Maybe, if democracy takes off in the Middle East, we will have peace in that region. Maybe?? Possibly?? A slight chance?
    Of course, they also hate us because of our Judeo-Christian culture, but a free flow of information will hopefully help with that too.
     
  14. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Whoa careful there. Far too many sweeping absolute generalizations than I would care to see in an analysis! Democracy is not automatic in decreasing war, stability, and predictability. We're acting as slow as we are as a nation because Mubarak is more stable and predictable in our mind!

    "they feel that the immoral Hollywood western culture is threatening traditional life in the Middle East" not necessarily. Especially in Egypt. Cairo was traditionally the center of Mediterranean Islam and used to be the epicenter of Islam (Pre-1960). Mediterranean Islam was characterized as much more liberal, free-thinking, and tolerant than the new epicenter focused on Saudi Arabia which is more radical, intolerant, and conservative (that epicenter followed the money). Even a few years ago it was not the norm for women to be covered, they were more commonly in skirts and jeans than head scarves.

    They do not hate our Judeo-Christian culture and I caution you about that statement, especially if you attend the Academy. Some of our exchangers from places like Pakistan, Algeria, Egypt, etc. would probably punch you for an assumption. (No exaggeration, I heard a wonderful story. One of the most despised 2010ers made a comment in a class about how we should turn the ME into glass. Our Iraqi classmate walked over, slammed the kid's head into the table, then walked back to his seat. The teacher looked the other way and class resumed with said kid silent and the class grinning at the Iraqi). Well, maybe not punch, but our J-C culture is not despised by all the common people, esp middle class people. Decadence perhaps.

    A large part of the commoners anger towards the U.S. is the support of pro-Western tyrants (think the Shah, Mubarak, Saudi Royals) who suppress democratic ideals of free press and free speech. Actually, more the loss of self-determination to tyrants. Will democracy solve that? Dunno.

    So, while my comments are just as debatable, watch the absolute generalizations. It becomes more difficult to ponder solutions with hard assumptions that are not proven (yet). Make sense?
     
  15. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    While democracies tend to work with other democracies, past histories and culture still play a big part. Also, the period of transition is often VERY unstable. That is one of the US's biggest concerns in the ME.
     
  16. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    You know I had the rather unique experience of living in both Israel and Syria with frequent trips to Lebanon and Egypt. I am convinced that westerners have a really hard time understanding the Middle East and Islam - primarily because they can not see the local cultural imperatives at all. Bottom line- regardless of what we would like to think- they DO NOT think like our culture teaches us to do, and western thought and approaches are at best superficially grafted onto the Arab world. A different sense of history and the passage of time, family and clan ties, and religion all fundamentally keep us from really understanding the Arab world. I really became aware of this when having a casual conversation with my landlord in Damascus. He (a Syrian Christian) was decrying the continual state of armed hostility between Syria and Israel and felt that the US was finally going to force a peace. When I happened to mention that my landlord on "The other side" (you couldn't say the word Israel in Syria) felt exactly the same way- he exploded screaming about the other side being populated by people who stole and lived on land that "wasn't even theirs!". Now I don't know how he expected a peace to break out when the other side couldn't be acknowledged (maybe they were all going to disappear?) but it reinforced to me that we were fundamentally looking at the world from different perspectives.
    I would not hold out a great deal of hope that what passes for democracy in the Mideast- should that be what comes out in Egypt- will be more peaceful or more cognizant of basic human rights and justice. If that's what your teacher is telling you, that's a flawed and really simplistic analysis not supported by either history or a review of the agenda of some of the major players in Egypt. Egypt will be what it will be and our ability to influence it will be pretty limited. Looking at things thru rose colored glasses though will only cloud our ability to deal with what does arise.
     
  17. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    A little thing I remembered from when I was in Israel, that in the arab markets even in Jerusalem you have to be careful what you buy when it comes to maps and things of that nature. I was just looking at these globes they had there, and they had gemstones, and other colored rocks shaped as nations, but what I notices Israel literally didn’t exist on some maps, or they labeled every country but it, or another country controlled where Israel would be on the map. Keep in mind most of these had been made in surrounding countries.

    so yes, they literally want Israel to disappear, or thats the impression I got.
     
  18. tonk002

    tonk002 Member

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    Not sure of the "they" you refer to when you made your comments about Israel. Sure, some Muslims and Arabs do. Many of the Palestinians that I met in Qatar did. But the majority of the Arabs that I met (remember that Arabs are not always Muslim), didn't have a huge problem with the country. They just didn't like how it was formed by the UN. These people were from every Middle Eastern country minus Iran and Yemen.
     
  19. condor17

    condor17 Class of 2015

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    thanks for the feedback, Hornetguy.
    Clarification: I know that most Middle Easterners don't hate us for our J-C values, I meant the fundamentalist elite such as Usama bin Laden.
    so to sum it up: A thorough understanding of the history and culture of the region in question is absolutely necessary in order to make an analysis of the current events in that region, especially as they relate to US foreign policy.
     
  20. Jabbawocky007

    Jabbawocky007 AFROTC Cadet

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    There's actually a good documentary on this (filmed by the guy who made the SuperSize Me)-its sort of outdated (2004-ish?) but it shows perspectives of people in different countries and classes.

    For example, there are parts where he interviews a radical Islamic Imam from Saudi Arabia, and where he interviews Egyptian students, and a very poor Moroccan family. (I know the people, not 100% sure on the countries). The differences in viewpoints are extremely different and its fascinating to watch.

    It's called "Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?"
     

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