Bambi Meets Godzilla in the Middle East

(American Interest) Walter Russell Mead - Americans need to face an unpleasant fact: while American values may be the long-term answer to the Middle East's problems, they are largely irrelevant to much that is happening there now. We are not going to stop terrorism, at least not in the short or middle term, by building prosperous democratic societies in the Middle East. We can't fix Egypt, we can't fix Iraq, we can't fix Saudi Arabia and we can't fix Syria. Not even the people who live in those countries can fix them at this point. In the Middle East, we can't win the love and esteem of the folks who live there by promoting a transition to democracy that isn't going to happen, and we can't insulate ourselves from the region's problems by walking away. The one thing everybody in Egypt agrees on now is that the Americans are about the most horrible people around - arrogant, stupid, judgmental, impractical, and not to be trusted when the going gets tough. The liberals, the generals, the Mubarak family, the Christians, the Islamists: on this one point they can all agree. Making the coup look anti-American helps the generals make it look patriotic. This is balm to the Egyptian soul right now, and money in the bank for the new regime.

2013-08-21 00:00:00

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