Fatal Arab Spring

Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

The editors asked several analysts: “What does the deadly violence against U.S. officials in Libya and Egypt say about the Arab Spring? Is Mitt Romney ready to lead in this international atmosphere? Is our current president?” For replies by Shoshana Bryen, Douglas J. Feith & Seth Cropsey, Caroline Glick, Brian T. Kennedy, Seth Leibsohn, Emanuele Ottolenghi, James Phillips, Claudia Rosett, and Benjamin Weinthal, click here.

For starters, could we grizzled conservatives delete the perky and inaccurate “Arab spring” term from our vocabulary in favor of something neutral like “Middle East upheavals”?

The recent violence against American missions is a small part of the large and growing instability in the region, ranging from Turkish insurgency to Syrian civil war to Yemeni chaos to Indian Ocean piracy, from Libyan tensions to Iraqi lawlessness to Afghan disorder. In brief, the name of the game is anarchy and it, rather than the more familiar tyranny, is the region’s great challenge. As the Arab saying goes, better a thousand years of tyranny than a day of anarchy. It also presents unique difficulties for a great power.

Barack Obama has shown himself unfit to lead. For one, his focus is domestic, with foreign affairs an after thought. For another, he shies away from asserting American interests, seeing this as a form of imperialism.

As for Mitt Romney: he lacks a record in this area but his executive experience looks good and he has a crew of competent advisors, making me optimistic.

Daniel Pipes


Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and the author of several books, including Militant Islam Reaches America and In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (Transaction Publishers), from which this column derives.

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  • withhope

    Well, as we all know it’s turned into the ‘arab’ winter, the winter of cultural arrested development – let’s pray the winter won’t go nuclear. Either way, as long as the sun rises and sets there’ll be Jews to blame and Christians to scandalise. Catholics have, or should have zero-tolerance for abortion, whilst evincing kindness towards men and women scandalised by the architecture of the culture of death. Why then do catholics have sysiphian amounts of ‘tolerance’ for the scandal that is Islam? It’s surely one thing to have compassion for a person born under the Muslim mandate, but the bizarre ‘respect’ shown to the Islamic corpus of writings is simply anti-christian and certainly anti-semetic.