By Barry Rubin
It's the end of 2011 and also the end of the old order in the Middle East. It would be an exaggeration to say that it's the end of U.S. interests in the region but it sure looks like the beginning of the end for a lot of them. The problem isn't just Obama policy and the advance of revolutionary Islamism but the decline of the most basic logic and common sense in evaluating the world.
Here's an example of how the mass media, Western foreign policy establishment, and Obama Administration miss the most obvious possible points as the Muslim Brotherhood (and lots of other enemies) run rings around them.
Egyptian police and prosecutors raided the offices of 17 groups which are either “pro-democracy” movements or their Western funders. Two of the groups were the taxpayer-funded Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute. (Talk about ways to antagonize the United States!) The U.S. government was outraged and protested.
A number of people were quoted but not gave any clue to the real political significance of the event. They talked about how civil society groups played a central role in the revolution; how this is an attempt to stem protests.
The New York Times informs us: “The raids were a stark escalation in what has appeared to be a campaign by the country’s military rulers to rally support by playing to nationalist and anti-American sentiment here.” Talk about Western chauvinism! The newspaper only gave the names of the two U.S. groups and not a single one of the Egyptian organizations targeted! The Washington Post at least included another U.S. group, Freedom House, the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and two Egyptian nongovernmental organizations: the Arab Center for Independence of Justice and Legal Professions and the Budgetary and Human Rights Observatory.
But what does it all mean? Well, there are two ways to answer that question: