The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Arab Winter

President Obama is set to give a major speech on the Middle-East and on America’s relationship with Islam later this week. In the post Osama bin Laden era, it seems that the President is again relying on his oratorical skill to reset our relationship with the Muslims in that part of the world. No matter that his Cairo speech accomplished exactly nothing, he’ll try and try again.

Although we don’t yet know what he’ll say, it’s likely he’ll make allusions to the “Arab Spring”—a fantasy conjured up by the media and the President’s supporters in an effort to put the best face on what is becoming a debacle in many Arab countries.

Take Egypt—a dictatorship prior to the Arab Spring, but also one of only two Arab countries at peace with Israel. Egypt certainly wasn’t perfect, but it did project a moderate stance toward the world. Many of us in the Center warned that the President’s enthusiastic support for the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak might have unintended consequences. It has.

In the first vote after Mubarak was deposed, the Egyptian people, by a vote of 78 – 22 percent, voted to position the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (the progenitor of al Qaida) as the dominant political party. The freedom loving Egyptian college kids, the ones who espoused liberal politics, yearned for “freedom,” and used Facebook and Twitter to topple the dictator (if we’re to believe the hyperbole of our own media) got 22 percent! Not a good sign.

The interim military leadership of Egypt now allows weapons to be smuggled into Gaza and has suggested that the peace treaty with Israel be abrogated. But it gets worse.

Andrew McCarthy reports:
Screaming “With our blood and soul, we will defend you, Islam,” jihadists stormed the Virgin Mary Church in northwest Cairo last weekend. They torched the Coptic Christian house of worship, burned the nearby homes of two Copt families to the ground, attacked a residential complex, killed a dozen people, and wounded more than 200: just another day in this spontaneous democratic uprising by Muslim hearts yearning for freedom.

In the delusional vocabulary of the “Arab Spring,” this particular episode is known as a sectarian “clash.” That was the Washington Post’s take. Its headline reads “12 dead in Egypt as Christians and Muslims clash” — in the same way, one supposes, that a mugger’s fist can be said to “clash” with his victim’s face. The story goes on, in nauseating “cycle of violence” style, to describe “clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians” that “left” 12 dead, dozens more wounded, “and a church charred” — as if it were not crystal clear who were the clashers and who were the clashees, as if the church were somehow combusted into a flaming heap without some readily identifiable actors having done the charring.

It’s interesting that the President—a staunch defender of human rights—has said relatively little about this. I wonder whether he’ll mention it in his speech.

A commentator noted that maybe we should call the “Arab Spring” the Arab Winter.” All things considered, that may be too optimistic a phrase as well.