(My Middle East)

77 days with a journalist, Lebanon, and a list of non sequiturs

Archive for June 14th, 2009

Obama mania, one step too far

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Let me preempt a days work, five years from now. Five years from now when the this Obama honeymoon is over and instability breaks out again in this region when radicals or resistance organizations come to power. People like Thomas Friedman will be scratching their head, saying ‘What happened, everything was going so well‘.

Well I hate to be the first one to break the news to Friedman and everyone who thinks the same of the Obama effect, but little has changed and projecting your own western morality and oversimplifications on this region isn’t going to do anything except delude yourself to thinking the world cares just as much about your liberal idealisms as you do.

Whats changed? you have a stalled peace process with a right-wing Israel that is reticent as ever to even start moving forward. You have popularly elected Hamas thats shunned by the rest of the world and locked up in Gaza facing off against a propped up West Bank government just waiting to fight it out. You have a fundamentally unstable confessional system in Lebanon and increasingly divisive voting blocks pulling the country in opposite directions. Not to mention the elections being partially bought by Saudi money.

So while current stability has a positive outlook, and the Lebanese elections went off with close to zero violence. The initial benefits of a new U.S policy shouldn’t be confused for long term success.

The new Obama policy of engagement is opening up new ground on several issues, but it has yet to address any of the core issues that destabalize this region. These gains are important, but should not be overstated.

The problem is the same one that mars Western idealists calling fraud in the Iranian election. Analyzing any situation by what you would like to see happen, rather than by any standard of fairness is dangerous. You can’t just project other nations local politics into your livingroom.

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Written by stephenddockery

June 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm