Comments on: The key to understanding the ‘Arab Spring’ Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: GopalRao Tue, 16 Oct 2012 04:58:49 +0000 The authors analysis of the ‘Arab spring’ is interesting.

‘Islamic identity’ by itself is too fuzzy to be acted upon assuming that the authors views are based on reliable data.

if ‘Islamic identity’ means “infidels” (everyone but Muslims) then there is trouble for every non islamic nation.

If it is a rational interpretation of islam for example like Maulana Wahiduddin Khans, then it is a welcome step and makes it easier for everybody on most issues including policy making.

By: Dafydd Mon, 15 Oct 2012 11:09:34 +0000 To a certain extent. But the death of the Baath Arab Socialism as pioneered by Nasser parallels the death of socialism in Europe.

For this reason it is valid to compare and contrast the realignment of Eastern Europe with the realignment of the middle east.

The wider context is the death of that great secular unifying ideology, socialism. This trend is also driving events in China. The only place that can’t keep up is the US, there the word socialism (as a pejorative aimed at the president) crops up more often than anywhere else.

Interestingly, the death of socialism represents a great victory for America. But the adoption of Islamism signals the terrible failure of the war on terror.

By: Anonymous Sun, 14 Oct 2012 18:54:55 +0000 Thank you for an interesting article.
If I get you right: There has been a well documented long-term trend in identity change.
You suggest an acceleration of this trend as an outcome of the arab spring.

I am curious about how you made this conclusion. Is it merely your own humble observations of daily life or has there been a more formal study?

Best regards
Swedish undergrad. student.

By: OneOfTheSheep Sat, 13 Oct 2012 21:24:13 +0000 @Calfri,

Yes, it is “…pretty much always the case that a relatively few people lead the way for the others”. Few today seem aware of how “relatively few” Nazis (and allied violent intimidating thugs) took control of the Weimar Republic, a much more established and traditional democracy in Germany after WW I, from the citizenry. Those who are ignorant of such history may be doomed to repeat it.

The current “developments” in the middle east (which supported the Axis in WW II) should be of more than a little concern. If Islamist leaderships “lead the way for the others” in a way that threatens Western democracy or non-Muslims nations they may have to be convincingly reminded economically that they can’t eat sand or drink oil. They “hold the world hostage” for oil only so long as we let them.

Russia remains a spoiler to world peace only because they have convinced rational leaderships they may just be enough insane as to prefer suicide (in a way that would take the rest of the world with them) rather than live as productive equals without bullying others.

At some point the rest of the world will have do confront such blackmail or give blackmailers world leadership. That’s a game of “chicken” we cannot avoid and must not lose simply because North Korea and Iran also have delusions of putting their inconsequential chips “in play”.

By: skteze Sat, 13 Oct 2012 14:55:28 +0000 So, then, with exactly what “policy” was President Bush (43) clearly so unimpressed as he addressed the National Endowment on Democracy in Washington November 2003:

”60 years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe.”

By: skteze Sat, 13 Oct 2012 14:43:14 +0000 The US policymakers have not always been so asleep as we think. In his book, War and Peace, 1950, U.S. Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles indicated one of the US’ most powerful foreign policy tools:

“The religions of the east are deeply rooted and have many precious values. Their spiritual belief cannot be reconciled with communist atheism and materialism. That creates a common bond between us, and our task is to find it and develop it.”

So, there was “madness” behind the method that lead to the results OneOfTheSheep has so eloquently lamented.

By: Calfri Sat, 13 Oct 2012 11:28:44 +0000 I guess this isn’t the usual cynical commentary about the Middle East, which basically says they can’t govern themselves because they’re too ignorant and too religious. Isn’t it pretty much always the case that a relatively few people lead the way for the others? Technology has helped make it easier for people to see that life can be better and that maybe they don’t have to shut up and just take whatever they’re given. At least that’s a start. It would be nice to hear from the author what his recommendations are on how the West should respond to the new reality as he sees it.

By: Dan85 Sat, 13 Oct 2012 02:45:44 +0000 Few journalists or media pundits have understood what has been going on in the Middle East since the “Arab Spring” began. Mr. Bannerman’s article is a welcome change.

By: OneOfTheSheep Sat, 13 Oct 2012 02:08:37 +0000 I believe you will find that genuinely Muslim-dominated governments will inevitably be hostile to the United States. Islamist radicals today effectively dominate the leadership of Islamic “culture”, and view “infidels” (everyone but Muslims) as undesirables on an Earth they intend to claim and control in it’s entirety (in the name of their “prophet”, of course).

The single weak flicker light at the end of this dark tunnel is those “…tens if not hundreds of thousands bright, young, articulate, Western-oriented, media-savvy demonstrators who rose against Arab nationalist governments…”. If they work together to denounce and illuminate the intimidation of the ignorant with nothing to lose and keep the uneducated but passionate from steering the society and economy of the Middle East back to the Twelfth Century, there is hope.

There is no “enlightened” or productive future for any people who deny economic and intellectual participation to half of their population, specifically the female half. I was In Iran for a month in 1976 before the fall of the Shah. My employer was there bidding for a contract to build four American quality 200-bed hospitals in the remote areas of Iran.

I found the people curious, intelligent, capable, and friendly. In that year Iran was graduating it’s first class of twelve year “high school” graduates. Half of them were female.

Fast forward” to today. Those hospitals have yet to be built. All those educated young women quietly disappeared without a whimper into a society defined and limited by a dead-end theocracy clearly more motivated by their desire for regional influence and power than the tenants of their religion. Is tyranny so fundamental to “human nature”?

By: Tim-aussie Sat, 13 Oct 2012 01:02:13 +0000 Very good, except for one thing – despite what they say, the Islamists will not create ‘Sunni’ governments (many or most Sunnis are tolerant and accept secular societies, the current religious head of secular Syria is Sunni) but rather caliphates run by sects within Sunni Islam – the Saudi and Qatari-backed Wahabis and Salafis (who consider themselves the ‘only true’ Sunnis). That is, the sectarianism in Syria would be much worse than the ‘majority Sunni’ idea, which at face value might appear vaguely democratic.