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Who are the biggest losers and winners coming out of the Arab Spring?

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This is not to say that the slow spread of democracies might not in some distant future be good for Israel. But it can be good only for an Israel that moves sharply away from its extreme right-wing and apartheid policies and toward a more generous and open political and social order that liberates the Palestinians. Such an event does not remotely appear on the Israeli political horizon right now.

The second-biggest loser is the United States. The reasons are simple: It is becoming ever more difficult for Washington to call the shots as Arab populations grow empowered to elect their own leaders. And for now, popular views reflect the anger and frustration of decades – even centuries – against Western imperial control, now topped off by a decade of American wars on Muslim soil in a quixotic search for a military solution to anti-Western terrorism.

Arab publics in the near term will not elect pro-American leaders; indeed, Islamists are the most likely beneficiaries of change, along with nationalists. America is furthermore seen as a power in decline with shrinking ability to control events. As with Israel, any good news for the US in the changing Arab world can come only when Washington abandons its endless attempts to intervene to shape regional events and local politics to its own liking, and against the wishes of most of the citizens of the region.

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