Second, to condition the reaction to the Arab Spring to conform to the policies that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. That is, to focus on the economics of the situation, rather than the politics.
This is what stuck in my craw and prompted a rush to the keyboard.
After "The Week in Review" section of the president's speech, he enumerated four concrete measures that the United States would pursue to support the Arab Spring. They were all economic. They were all in response to Mr. Obama's conclusion that the real reason for these uprisings was not political; not a simple desire for liberty and freedom, but rather a result of poorly run economies that did not provide opportunity. This view is consistent with the hoped for attitude adjustment that shifts responsibility from supporting tyranny to blaming poor planning.
The president has stated that the G8 nations will soon be unveiling a plan to absorb and integrate these emerging democracies into the New World Order. All of his initiatives stress a regional, rather than a bi-lateral, response. There will be no one on one effort by the United States to partner with any single Arab nation to support democracy. Suppor will be delegated to super-national institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and NATO. The approach will be on a regional basis encompassing the entire area, not on a smaller nation by nation basis.
This "super-sizing" of the situation is, I think, the most important aspect of the president's speech dealing with the Arab Spring - and the one not receiving any attention by global media.
In the post-Soviet era, much scholarship and commentary has focused on the impression that the United States is losing the monopoly on power it enjoyed after the demise of the Soviet Union. We are told that we are entering into a multi-polar world where power centers are diffused around the world.
The Obama speech, "Moment of Opportunity", challenges that opinion.
More than anything else, the speech demonstrates that the United States, as defined by Barack Obama, is very much aware of its superpower status. The purpose of the four points enumerated by the president is to maintain that leadership. All of those institutions that have been assigned to shape the Arab Spring are those dominated by the United States and our allies. None of the so-called emerging "BRIC" nations will have any significant role to play. The "Moment of Opportunity" the president speaks about is not the opportunity the people of pan-Arabia have, it is the opportunity the United States has to maintain global leadership.
Here in the States, we must be mindful of what this artful restatement of our global leadership will mean for citizens here at home. Abroad, they too must understand what the extension of USA hegemony in the Mediterranean will mean in their countries. On the front lines of democracy, the future economic management of their not yet won nationhood is not an immediate concern. It does little or nothing to insure that the forces of freedom will be victorious. Yet, they should be prepared.
Someone must tell them the difference between developmental aid and predatory lending. They must learn, oh so quickly, the difference between financial packages that build a nation and those that steal their independence. They must be armed with more than anti-tank guns. These children must be armed with wisdom - the wisdom to understand an old western proverb: "Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts".
May 2011 San Antonio, TX
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