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Hello there, New Boss

Is there any reason to be the slightest bit optimistic about the riots going on across the Middle East at the moment? So far, they’ve knocked over very bad men in Egypt and now, maybe Libya. So everything defaults to military control. Um, great?

People on both sides are being a leeetle too premature on the celebration. On the right, because we fetishize the American Revolution. On the left, because they fetishize revolution itself.

Not counting our own — which was hashed out over years by some of the finest political thinkers of the Enlightenment — when has revolution led to better lives? Honest question — I’ve been trying to think of examples.

France? Well, eventually. I guess. They’ve had lots of bad, bloody governments between then and now. Ditto Mexico and South America. I don’t know if you can say a thing improves lives if it takes a couple hundred years to do it.

Russia? No. China? No. Tscha.

After pushing against Apartheid with all their might, the left doesn’t seem to have noticed that South Africa has descended into utter third-world shit-holery. I guess shit-holery is okay as long as it’s racially equitable shit-holery. Like when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and everybody starved together.

So that leaves Eastern Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall. They got themselves together within a few years. So there’s that.

Anybody know Middle Eastern Lech Wałęsa? Yeah. Um, no.

I have a really bad feeling about this.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: February 21, 2011, 11:59 pm

Here in the UK, The BBC’s default position has been to clasp its hands and sigh ‘my hero!’ like a Disney princess – much as you’d expect a bunch of ’68ers to do.

The reality looks altogether more like what Lara Logan experienced (did her parents read Superman comics?).

This isn’t the collapse of the Berlin Wall (and that wasn’t a revolution, it was a proof that Nature abhors a vacuum) it is the overthrow of one bunch of demented maniacs by another – cf Iran.

The Middle East’s twiterati may think they’ve broken the mould of Middle Eastern despotism and our twiterati might agree with them. But it seems altogether more likely that what they have actually broken is the fragile vessel that held the djinn in some sort of containment.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 22, 2011, 12:02 am

Well, one thing’s for sure. Whatever government they manage to make for themselves, it will utterly fucking hate America.

Comment from Oh Hell
Time: February 22, 2011, 12:15 am

Yes, I, too, have a bad feeling about this. And they will hate us. But as an acquaintance says “Let them hate us, so long as they fear us.”

Comment from Nina
Time: February 22, 2011, 12:26 am

I’m quoting Han Solo right about now, too. Too many ways it can all go wrong, too few ways it can go right.

Comment from Pablo
Time: February 22, 2011, 12:27 am

I just hope that Libyans remember that we tried to kill the son of a bitch decades ago.

Comment from JeffS
Time: February 22, 2011, 1:16 am

Civil war, at the very least. Results? I’ll have to go with Nina on that one.

Comment from Oldcat
Time: February 22, 2011, 1:36 am

Its hard to fund a true civil war unless somebody is paying the bills. In the old days it was us, or the USSR. More recently, Saudis. With the walls closing in, they may not want to throw money into something that may bite them first.

And they may hate us, but aside from foolish TV reporters the guy down the street they hate is a lot closer and easier to get to.

There wasn’t a lot to like in the old regimes, and probably will be a lot less in the new ones.

Comment from EZnSF
Time: February 22, 2011, 3:30 am

I’m generally pessimistic. But there is a hidden righteousness in this whole ‘Arab’, or whatever it’s called, uprising. It’s finally shaking that dead tree branch, exposing the nakedness of the bugs eating the good wood.

No more propped up governments and wheeling/dealing to keep a lid on things. Bring out the political/cultural truths of these countries. Make them show what they really want. Then deal with them with a great deal more clarity.

It’s like that neighbor who calls the cops when you have more than 10 people at the BBQ, singing to loudly. Neighbor is now invited. He’ll either sing some karaoke, or get his house egged. His choice.

Comment from jwm
Time: February 22, 2011, 4:02 am

Any power vacuum in the moslem world will be filled by islamists. EZnSF has it right. This is not about freedom and democracy as we know it. It’s about advancing the jihad. None of this bodes well for the west.


Comment from Brian L.
Time: February 22, 2011, 4:32 am

Right there with ya, Weas… This has bad mojo written all over it. (Believe me, I’m the type that normally celebrates the downfall of dictators. The alternate rulers in this particular region of the world are *not* necessarily better, though…)

Comment from Allen
Time: February 22, 2011, 4:44 am

Number 9, Number 9, so you say you want a revolution… What the heck, it’s The Beatles.

My favorite one was being in the Soviet Union when Gorby was under “house arrest.” I had been on a scientific exchange and was visiting Arzamas 16 (one of their nuke development city-complexes) when the whole thing went down.

Sheeit. ‘Murrican, visiting the Soviet Los Alamos, I could see Siberia in my future. Then again, one of my buddies, was monitoring the aftermath of Chernobyl. There are worse places I suppose.

I digress though, when I was in Russia they were busily pulling down the statues of Lenin, Stalin, and their cronies. The KGB minder sternly informed us, “They have no cultural or historical influence.”

My thought “man you are so screwed. they ran this joint forever and you are refusing to remember what they did.”

Comment from EZnSF
Time: February 22, 2011, 5:30 am

Heh. Yeltsin dancing on the lid of a tank was a good revolution. The West throw the ‘peace dividend’ around like confetti. (and why the hell do we have troops in Europe? Fucking European’s.)

These Arab revolutions were foretold at the time. But more in fear of al-Qaeda types of prophecy.

I spent some time in Russia during 1990. It was amazing seeing the revolution from the ground. But at that point in history, the average Russian had half a clue in what direction they wanted to go. (We didn’t have any minders.)

What’s going on now is more an unraveling, rather than a revolution. If they end up butchering each other, I’m not sure I would care.

Comment from Elphaba
Time: February 22, 2011, 6:10 am

The Middle East is such a loathsome shithole. I’m pretty sure we’ll get the worst of both worlds…them with governments bent on our destruction, and us with a President that is happy to hand it to them, wrapped up in a pretty bow.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: February 22, 2011, 8:53 am

I am quite disconcerned about this, as I think that the Muslim Brotherhood is gonna take over.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: February 22, 2011, 2:01 pm

For Oh Hell:
With our current leadership, including the Muslim in Chief, why would ANYONE think they will FEAR us?

Comment from Clifford Scridlow
Time: February 22, 2011, 2:29 pm

Long term, the hard core anti-everything that’s worth a pinch of sh*t jihahdists will probably win out because they see nothing wrong with lopping off as many heads as it takes to get their way. Short term, $6.49 per gallon gas for us infidels. . .

Comment from Deborah
Time: February 22, 2011, 3:41 pm

Any chatter from the Norks? Kim Jong Il must have a severe case of intestinal distress now that Kaddafi’s hold on Libya is slipping. Who’s going to send him flowers now?

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: February 22, 2011, 4:31 pm

Deborah, from what I’ve seen the North Koreans are manning the thousands of defiladed artillery pieces just across the DMZ. Interesting times.

Comment from Christopher taylor
Time: February 22, 2011, 9:04 pm

Actually there are very few on the right who are optimistic or excited by this. I’d love for it to turn out well but I can’t see that happening. Almost every single revolution in human history has ended up as bad or worse than the regime it replaced.

Comment from Oldcat
Time: February 22, 2011, 9:15 pm

C Taylor – Almost every single revolution in human history has ended up as bad or worse than the regime it replaced.

– not the Industrial Revolution.

Comment from Oh Hell
Time: February 23, 2011, 4:43 am

Mark, You are right – I was quoting Chuck Z.
Now they mostly just snicker at us.

Comment from Sockless Joe
Time: February 23, 2011, 9:10 pm

I’m thinking mostly bad with some possible exceptions.

Would anybody really care if Iran got overthrown? How much worse could it get? Libya is sort of a similar situation.

I mean, what are they going to do? Install megalomaniacal dictators who want to kill Americans? Oh wait…

But yeah, most of the rest of those potential revolutions are Bad News™.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 23, 2011, 10:00 pm

Drudge is linking an al Jazeera article warning Israel that the Palestinians will rise up next.

Yeah. Like the Arab world has been so successful against Israel militarily.

Of course, if all the bastards rose against Israel at once, it would be intensely hairy. But I have a feeling they’ve got some nasty civil wars to deal with first.

The article is by a Rosenberg, so AJ’s got themselves a pet Jew.

Comment from Christopher taylor
Time: February 23, 2011, 10:56 pm

“not the Industrial Revolution.”

Yeah, that would be why the word “almost” was plainly in the section of the post you quoted.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: February 24, 2011, 1:19 am

Hey, SWeas – they’ve got themselves PLENTY of those stateside as well!

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