Monday, October 15, 2012

Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass

is interviewed on the Imus in the Morning Show on October 15.  A frequent guest on the show, Haass explains the situation in the volatile Middle East, the "old order", that maintained stability is gone, replaced by a "new order" that is unable or unwilling to control the situation, which leads to tragedies like the Benghazi embassy attack.  He compares it to the "wild west".

In reality, the wild west was never like Iraq or Libya or Egypt or Syria. Hillarian US diplomacy, in a spasm of naivete, has greeted the perhaps inevitable demise of desert autocrats with undeserved enthusiasm.  The forces that deposed these tyrants, with US assistance both acknowledged and covert, have made no compact to further American interests.  Neither do they intend to transform the political landscape of their respective countries.  What they will do is take over the displaced dictators' apparatus for their own interests.

Haass and other statists are unable to deal with what are, for the moment at least, non-states, where the jockeying for supremacy is between tribes and to a lesser but ancillary extent religious sects.  The US view is that other communities are structured much as the US itself is, with competing groups like political parties that share a common national view.  That the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, for instance, is a kind of super-Muslim reaction to an apostate secular state.  Of course, this isn't true.  Just as in the rest of the world, there's been an urbanization of the Arab countries.  But the conservative Muslims that have moved from the hinterlands to the cities have brought along their centuries-old tribal relationships, which trump the new and artificial nation-state paradigm.  Dealing with Egypt or Libya isn't the same as dealing with Belgium or even Columbia.  

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