Historic protests spurge across the Arab world like wildfire at the news of Egypt’s despotic rulers downfall. A good thing for democracy, but a not so good message for the U.S. who for years has supported autocratic regimes for the sake of stability. Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan are all echoing the tune set by Tunisia’s month old precedent of angry protesters who are mad as hell and will not take it anymore. Call it jilted lovers or blame it on local conditions, a new era is dawning in the Middle East. If Democracy blossoms in the Middle East, which God only knows where these protests will end up, the U.S. will require a drastic shift in thinking.
First, the Obama administration must develop a coherent foreign policy strategy to deal with new regimes. Just sitting on the sidelines waiting for action will not cut it anymore. All envoys to the region must secretly encourage the protesters and also support the regime in power, to balance our interests. It might sound crude and selfish to think of it in these terms, but in the end U.S. interests matter and will have to be protected. Second, a new political strategy to ward off attacks from the other side is a must. The right has already compared the President to Jimmy Carter – a code word for this is his Iran hostage crisis and a weak constitution for foreign policy crisis. If Obama’s team does counter this trend, it must be ahead of the game in terms of PR to voters. Either Obama’s vision for the Middle East as a partner in global democracy will win or Glenn Beck’s crazy Islamic Caliphate theory will become the top idea for the country to believe. Good perception can defeat this problem.
Third, the Tea Party must now engage the president on foreign policy. Until now, it was only a cause devoted to domestic problems with little foreign policy experience. If it did have a foreign policy paradigm, I might describe it as neoisolationist, a Ron Paulian philosophy. Some interesting statements will be said by Sarah Palin and others in the movement, I will hedge my bets on former.
Finally, the U.S. must re-evaluate its relationship with the Zionist land, Israel. Our cozy friends with benefits, except I am not sure what the benefit of being Israel’s alley is exactly, will have to be limited. This is an opportunity to restart the peace talks. Since its the dawning of the age of Agarius in terms of democracy, we might as well solve this problem too. With the Middle East changing the narrative is ripe and the time is golden to form a new state. If not, the Palestinians will probably begin protests of their own, and that could get interesting to see who we support.
Relationships with positions, image, and allies will soon come to a head. Happy Valentines Day!
Photo Credit: YNet News