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Friday, May 14, 2010

What the end of American power means

On Thursday, I blogged an article by Michael Young in the Beirut Daily Star that talks about the end of American power in the Middle East. A lot of people on the Left in the US, Europe and possibly even in Israel, think this is a good thing. Emanuele Ottolenghi looks at some of the consequences of the coming power vacuum in the Middle East.
Those resentful of American power — including the liberal academic environment that shaped President Obama’s worldview during his formative years — should take notice of what a retreat of American power means. Not a kinder, gentler world, where the oppressed of the earth, finally free from imperialist chains, are able to realize their full potential. It means that authoritarian regimes assert themselves. The oppressed will remain so — more so. As for all those considerations that tame Western powers’ pursuit of their national interests (ethical concerns, respect for local cultures, protection of the environment, rule of law, and the like), forget about it. Power will be raw, at its most ruthless, heads will roll, and blood will flow, while the regional order is reshaped by the new powers that be.

The Middle East will be perhaps the place where the end of the American century will have its earliest and worst impact — Russia will reassert its influence by helping regional powers push America out while bullying Washington’s allies into subservience. In the process, the old Arab order may collapse. Nuclear proliferation will undo the fragile balance of power that currently prevents regional war. And America’s retreat will enable local Islamists to remove the lid of Western influence over the explosive cocktail of Arab authoritarianism, economic underdevelopment, and demographic explosion.

All in all, quite a set of accomplishments by realists, engagement seekers, and those embarrassed by America’s power and image in the world.
What could go wrong?


At 11:34 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

As America's retreat gathers speed, America's former allies are looking to Moscow's bear hug embrace for security. The day will probably come when America will have no allies and no real influence over the Middle East. That's exactly Obumbler's objective and he is doing all in his power to achieve it.

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love readding, and thanks for your artical.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

To see what it's like without American (or British or whomever follows the "live and let live" philosophy), read (or listen to) Winston Churchill's River War about Sudan. The British left the hinterlands, the slave trade (through Egypt) and machete operations started up again, including against the to-be-pitied Darfur, then the British went back in to break up the slave trade, put in a railroad so the people could earn a living... America will continue within its borders. It is the people left to their fate that cause such sadness.

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