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Old Faithful

Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for London's Independent see the rise of democratic movements in the Middle East as fraught with danger hence not worth pursuing. In this Jefferson Morley's excellent World Opinion Roundup (Is Bush Right?) in the Washington Post, Fisk stands alone as democracy's nay-sayer and faithful defender of tyranny.

In a region swept up with the possibility of people-powered reform, it's good to know some things never change...

Comments (13)

If Fisk Ever dies I bet the... (Below threshold)

If Fisk Ever dies I bet they'll stuff him and mount him on wheels so they can wheel him out to cast doubt on any positive event

Kevin, I'm gravely disappoi... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Kevin, I'm gravely disappointed. How could you mention Robert Fisk without mentioning his greatest claim to fame? Without mentioning how he is one of those rarest of people, one whose very name has become a word all its own? He's up there with General Hooker, Mr. Boycott, General Quisling, General Benedict Arnold, Dr. Guillotine, and General Burnside (and his famous "sideburns").



Not to mention the legendar... (Below threshold)

Not to mention the legendary Thomas Crapper … the mention of whom seems more appropriate now than ever.

Fisk is not alone. turn on ... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

Fisk is not alone. turn on ABC,CBS,CNN,NBC or read NYT,LAT, W Post. They all are saying the dangers of freedom outweigh the positives. Freedom is slavery - and you thought Orwell was dead!

Some risks are worth taking... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Some risks are worth taking, and I am sure that the move towards democracy is not going to be a painless one, but that doesn't mean the move shouldn't be made.

I think too many people, and especially in Europe want to stick their heads in the sand and just pretend like there is no evil in the world.

The US supported Syrian con... (Below threshold)

The US supported Syrian control of Lebanon as an alternative to civil war and anarchy. With Hezbollah a potent force in native Lebanese politics, the removal of Syria from Lebanon may result in a much stronger anti-US political force.

Democratic movements in the Arab world include Algeria.

One wonders how many Islamic theocracies need to be voted in before you knuckleheads begin to ask yourselves why you're cheering for the same political results as Osama bin Laden.

Democratic movements in the Middle East seem to be powered largely by anti-US/anti-Israel sentiments, and Lebanon is just one example. You might ask yourselves, with Hezbollah as example: If the terrorists win the elections, does that mean the terrorists win?

You watch too much TV Tubin... (Below threshold)

You watch too much TV Tubing where the democratic movements appear as idiots in front of a camera.
And Just look at all those popular Islamic Theocracies......

Continuing what I started:<... (Below threshold)

Continuing what I started:
Like all leftists and some liberals, I have always opposed US support for tyrants like Somoza, Pinochet, Suharto, etc. I continue to believe that democratic movements should be supported whenever possible.

But to simply think that pulling out an occupying force is sufficient to support pro-democratic forces is ABSURD, and it's even worse to fail to recognize the fruit of US support for tyranny, namely enormous anti-US sentiment as a force FOR democracy.

If you want a reality-check, just consider US foreign policy in the last couple of years. In the cases of France, Germamy, Turkey, and plenty of other countries, the Bush admin took the govts to task for holding positions CONSISTENT with the democratic will of their people. In the case of Spain and Italy, the Bush admin rewarded the govts for taking positions COUNTER to the democratic will of their people.

So who's really for democracy in practice? Who is going to be screaming loudest if/when the gov'ts of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. actually begin to mirror the will of their people?

And you thought FRANCE was anti-US??? You ain't seen NOTHING yet.

The US has a lot of hard hard diplomatic work ahead if it doesn't want democratic movements to be very bad news for the role of US power in the world.

Mark, I don't watch TV.<br ... (Below threshold)

Mark, I don't watch TV.
I suspect you don't understand what happened in Iraq's voting experiment. I suspect you don't realize that the most potent issue was the US presence in Iraq, and that 85% (number has increased steadily) want the US out.

You probably don't remember the popular movement that removed the Shah from power in Iran.

In those places where the US has played a heavy role in suppressing popular movements, you can't be surprised when a popular movement -- finally sucessful -- is at its core ANTI-US, even if the US pays lip service to it as it gains power.

"If the terrorists win the ... (Below threshold)

"If the terrorists win the elections, does that mean the terrorists win?"
Tubino, I think your point is well made but consider this: When they win elections, they are no longer terrorist groups, they are goverments. Continuing bombings, killings, etc become acts of war and no ME nation can stand toe-to-toe with the West in actual war. I think that they will have to moderate or be destroyed.


RE: tubino's post (March 9,... (Below threshold)

RE: tubino's post (March 9, 2005 09:39 AM)

The US supported Syrian control of Lebanon as an alternative to civil war and anarchy. With Hezbollah a potent force in native Lebanese politics, the removal of Syria from Lebanon may result in a much stronger anti-US political force.

As I understand it, the support was transitory. Syria was supposed to have left many years ago. Our sense on invulnerability at home and a lack of political will stymied our efforts to intervene in that conflict despite the low boil. 9/11 changed that and our action in Iraq has forced the issue. Syria is believed to be intervening in Iraq's affairs just as it did in Lebanon's since the power vacuum post-Hussein was in a bit of flux. Remeber too that Syria is the base of Baathism so, clearly, Syrian influence in the region goes beyond its borders. It is not unreasonable for the U.S. to intervene now with the chance that a more passive democracy can develop. Could a more anti-U.S. government supplant the current Lebanese one? Sure, but if it is currently led by Syrians (via puppet governance) with support of an active Hezbollah, how much more anti-U.S. could it be?

Lebanon has become Syria's proxy and that is what the U.S. (among others) and, most of all, the Lebanese natives want to terminate. Syria should not be allowed to use another country to incite underground wars against passive enemies, however contrived (can you say Israel?), and claim its innocence. Bush is wise to press this issue though in an ideal world, we'd not have to get involved.

Now, one could certainly question the Constitutionality of such an intervention under the guise that international humanitarion efforts (freeing of Lebanese from oppressive outsiders) are not legally sanctioned; but if the effort is to protect Americans, then there is a legtimate justification.

Are you saying that you are satisfied with the status quo? Are you Lebanese? Are you Syrian? Or are you American and insulated from the conditions you promote and impose upon the independence-desiring Lebanese? I confess that I'm insulated (i.e. neither Lebanese nor Syrian) and would like to roll the dice to give democracy a chance in every country in that region. Call me an idealist. Do you believe that you are a pragmatist?

Tobias Took: thread killer<... (Below threshold)

Tobias Took: thread killer

My only comment would be th... (Below threshold)

My only comment would be that no one from the left nor right should take Robert Fisk seriously. He is the easiest of straw men, with his wild almost parodied anti-American rants.

Can't you find someone with a bit more credibility to go after?






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