• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: The Middle East's Third Wave

    In a private phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, almost two weeks after the unrest began, President Barack Obama finally called for Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi to step down. While the President’s inertia may have been mitigated by the need to get Americans out of the country so Qadhafi could not take any hostages, the incident demonstrates again that the wave of revolution currently sweeping North Africa and the Middle East took the Obama Administration completely by surprise. And for good reason: President Obama’s “engagement” strategy toward the “Islamic world” is thoroughly outdated and irrelevant.

    The first wave of revolutions in the region came in the middle of the last century and was made up of nationalist revolts against European colonialism. The next wave, the Islamist revolt, came a generation later, upending corrupt monarchies and nationalist regimes set up after the colonial era. Each of these movements—nationalist and Islamist—pretended to be “pan” movements of some kind. But they never caught on for very long because their universal claims were myths, undermined by tribal, religious, and nationalist divisions. The third wave we are witnessing today is completely different. Heritage Foundation Vice President and former Assistant Secretary of State Kim Holmes explains:

    Arab nationalism was largely an elite phenomenon that drove and exploited popular sentiments. Islamism is driven by clerics and political ideologues like the Muslim Brotherhood who likewise exploit peoples’ religious beliefs and social resentments. The current third wave of revolt is truly a bottom-up, people driven movement. It’s driven not by nationalism, Islamism or any other 20th Century “ism,” but by a 21st Century socially linked-up mass movement of people who are sick of corruption, the lack of representative government, and being poor. … Despite the unique national and tribal features of each movement, it is united by the same emotional revulsion to the ruin and corruption created by the first two waves of revolution in the Middle East. The people of Libya are no less disgusted with Qadhafi than the people of Iran are with Ahmadinejad. One may be largely Sunni Arabs and the other Shiite Persians, but both are utterly finished with the ideologies, pretentions, and results of the Middle East’s first two failed revolutions.

    This new movement exposes the fact that everything the Obama Administration believed was important in the Middle East – from the Arab-Israeli talks to Obama’s apology tour – is completely irrelevant. Just look at how al-Qaeda has been sidelined by events. Its leaders have been horrified by the outbreak of demands for democracy and freedom, since they are utterly against those values. Of course, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are trying to figure out how to take advantage of this new opening, so we must watch out for an Islamist backlash. But that is all the more reason the world needs a strong voice in favor of democracy and individual freedom from the United States.

    The Administration must get our objectives and strategy clear very quickly. If we want to see the Egyptian revolution turn out well, we need to be more forceful in talking with the army there about how to proceed with elections and reform the economy. If we want Qadhafi out of power without further bloodshed, we need a clearer and more public voice. And most importantly, if we find Ahmadinejad’s behavior unacceptable, we need to consider options more forceful than talking with “multilateral institutions.”

    Quick Hits:

    • According to a survey of the National Association for Business Economics, the massive U.S. budget deficit is the gravest threat facing the economy.
    • More than half the states are pressuring the Obama Administration for more flexibility on Medicaid than Obamacare currently allows.
    • Just one in four of the 2.7 million homeowners who sought to participate in the Obama Administration’s signature mortgage assistance program have succeeded in getting their monthly payments reduced.
    • The online activist group “anonymous,” which has used coordinated denial of service attacks to promote WikiLeaks, attacked Americans for Prosperity yesterday.
    • Chinese police unleashed a show of force in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities to clamp down on public gatherings after a second week of calls for protests across the country.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    49 Responses to Morning Bell: The Middle East's Third Wave

    1. Jules Schwager PhD, says:

      I am not so sure if Mr. Holmes is correct.Just look at Iraq where democracy was the aim and what is happening in Afghanistan.Free election not a democracy make.While I hope his optimistic view is the future,I am not so sure that will be the case.Some new dictators will emerge and in the Islamic world you just can't separate politics from religion.

    2. DoubleAce Dayton, OH says:

      I sincerely hope you are correct in your opinions on the latest uprising in the middle east, but I fear these are instigated by Iran to destablize the governments of these nations thereby given them (Iran) the opportunity to influence the new governments in these countries (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, etc.). I beleive the people want freedom but this was not a true grassroots level uprising. It was started by outside influences to destablize this part of the world.

    3. Mary............WI says:

      I don't think Obama is qualified to get our American democratic objectives across to these uprising mid-eastern countries. Send in GW Bush and his team if you want results. Obama is clueless about what true democracy means…..he's too corrupt.

    4. toledofan says:

      The real sad part of all of this, is that, no matter the sound advise of the Heritiage Foundation, the Administration is deaf. I think these people are so far over their heads regarding foriegn policy and the real dangers of the extremists that they have no clue of what needs to happen. Actually it's pretty scary and troubling, especially, because we depend on Egypt and others in the region to provide some stability and oil production for the world. Without a comprehensive plan, which Obama has none, will create some very tense moments over the next few years.

    5. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      2- 28 -11 FROM – Ken Jarvis – LVKen7@Gmail.com

      The WSJ is the #1 Newspaper in the world.

      Murdoch owns it.

      He has Editions of the WSJ ALL OVER THE WORLD.

      And he OWNS about 50 Newspapers outside the USA.

      FoxNews is the #1 TV Channel.

      Murdoch owns it.

      He Owns about 75 TV Stations in the USA

      and OVER 100 outside the USA.


      Murdochs Empire is THE VOICE OF THE GOP.

      He decided when he took control of the WSJ

      that it was Better for Him, and the Rich

      to keep the recession going.

      He does it be Spinning ALL news to BAD

      and putting the Good news on one of the Back pages

      of the WSJ,

      and NOT Covering it on Fox.

    6. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Underlying funding for the unrest in the Middle East is from George Soros and the 'Open Society Institute.' As he has in the past, George Soros benefits from orchestrated political chaos under the guise of establishing a "One World Order." Given the funding providing by Soros in the last presidential campaign and elsewhere it is clear to me that Soros is calling the shots to allow oil prices to spike enhancing his fortune. Obama is clearly the puppet and Soros the puppet master.

    7. MprShorty says:

      The chance that the Obama Administration can help the Egytian military with economic reform ideas is next to zero. Neither Obama or his hand picked advisors have any practical experience in this area. Good luck America.

    8. Robert, North Richla says:

      The last time we had someone this incompetent in the White House was Jimmy Carter – who also failed miserably handling Middle East affairs. Not to mention how he almost destroyed our economy, our military and our country. Let's see, how many ships are currently being held for ransom in "somalia.?"

    9. Ken Allison, Tyler says:

      It is interesting to note that you encourage our current administration to help guide the revolution in Egypt by advising them regarding reforming their economy and electoral process. Perhaps we should clean up our own act in these two areas before preaching to others how it should be done. To wit; we can't even make an attempt to cleanse the voter roles without being attacked as racist. And a blind man could see that the utter destruction of our economy is being orchestrated by statists who despise thr free market..

    10. jerry betts, Garland says:

      Your motives are pure, and I commend you for them. But to pretend Mid East discontent is due to the desire for freedom and democracy is, I believe, somewhat naive. The motivation seems, as it also seems when it comes to immigration to the United States, the desire for a lifestyle such as enjoyed in the West. I'll not call it greed, although much of it certainly looks like greed, but it is a desire for more. Rule of law and freedom from chaos, in addition to a perception of greater opportunity (much, unfortunately, over valued for uneducated, inexperienced Mid Easterners) is part of the desire because it is part of what provides the lifestyle; but none of it is very well understood by most. In fact it is not well understood by Americans, who are rapidly loosing the connection between this lifestyle and responsibility and underpins it.

    11. Eric, Coplay, PA says:

      If this is the case, it would be a relief. I wish the reporters would have asked the demonstrators what they thought of the Tea Party movement instead of Obama.

    12. Kell Kafir, Washingt says:

      If you think that the Muslim Brotherhood is not involved in this in each country, then you are naive. They have figured out when they use the words "democracy" we fall all over ourselves to try to help them. Iran is a different kind of revolution – they have LIVED under strict shariah for 30 years… the other places in the Middle East are going to get even more strict shariah law… which is NOT compatible with democracy. Once they have control of the countries with the oil, they will start to strangle us. We need to drill our own oil now and develop alternate technologies for the future and wean ourselves off the addiction to Middle Eastern Oil (which helps fund jihad BTW)

    13. Frank, Florida says:

      I really hope the following is true, but I fear it will prove to be overly optimistic:

      "Arab nationalism was largely an elite phenomenon that drove and exploited popular sentiments. Islamism is driven by clerics and political ideologues like the Muslim Brotherhood who likewise exploit peoples’ religious beliefs and social resentments. The current third wave of revolt is truly a bottom-up, people driven movement. It’s driven not by nationalism, Islamism or any other 20th Century “ism,” but by a 21st Century socially linked-up mass movement of people who are sick of corruption, the lack of representative government, and being poor…"

      I've seen polls showing most Arabs want Sharia Law & all its horrors. I also expect this "third wave" of revolt will have a negative, not a positive effect on the democratic nation of Israel, which I think would not be the case if this "third wave" was benign & democratic. But in the end, we must let other people decide their own future. Our Founding Fathers warned us against our nation getting engaged in "foreign entanglements" as these often backfire and wind up costing us dearly. We are now financially bankrupt anyways living on borrowed time until the US Dollar loses its status as world reserve currency. Let's cut the Federal Budget, balance & then start to pay down the debt, lead the Free World away from socialism into the Free Market, increase our liberties by decreasing the size & scope of our Federal Government & show the world once again a good model for all the other nations to follow. Right now, we are headed in just about the opposite direction!

    14. Vaughn Hathaway, Cha says:

      1. You interpretation of the "third wave" revolution reminds me of (?)Toffler's Third Wave theories. They are naive. There may be a grassroots unrest that has contributed to the revolutions. However, absent a Judeo-Christian basis of ethics and morality, there is no real hope of representative republican governments being formed. There will always be a drift to some form of oligarchy.

      2, Which reminds me, while the Heritage Foundations video on the debt limit is very helpful, it does have one significant flaw: our country's founders did not form a DEMOCRATIC government. They formed a REPUBLICAN government, An as Benjamin Franklin was alleged to say, we haven't kept it.

    15. Spiff, USA says:

      Look for our State Department to release some of the Libyan national accounts to Gadhafi to "leave peacefully" and then make up the difference with a large Foreighn Aid (tax payer money) program to Libya…We have no Foreign Policy other then what the Administration can buy with tax payer money!!


    16. Kurt Werner Jacksonv says:

      I find it hard to believe that the Administration did not have knowledge of what is going on in the Mid-East and Africa. The head of the AFofL-CIO has been meeting continuously with the White House and other Administration affiliated organization. What is going on over there was initiated by unions and progressives starting two years ago and the Administration was right in the middle of it. Glenn Beck has it all on videos and from progressive literature (if you can believe him and he always tells people to find out for themselves).

    17. Ed, Reno Nevada says:

      Rahm Emanuel didn't want a "crisis" to go to waste. Typically he used them for his own petty political gain. Now this administration has an opportunity to lead and to shape a positivie outcome out of this turmoil. The administration can continue to hide in the corner or get ahead of this and show some bold leadership. Unfortunately Obama is such a political creature I'm not sure he is willing or able to get out of his box and do what's right for us and the world.

    18. Dr. Henry D. Sinopol says:

      If the current attacks against the established regimes in the Middle East are due to corruption, perhaps Congress should really be concerned.

      Don't think a revolution can occur here….ask the British.

    19. Hawkster, Connecticu says:

      Our fist revolution in America if I recall started for one of several reasons one of them being due to double taxation without representation. Well today we could say we have Centuple (100) x taxation without representation. When is our second wave revolution arriving ? Not surprisingly for very similar reasons as we see right now in the Middle East people who are sick of corruption, the lack of representative government, overtaxed, overburdened by government trying to control all aspects of the populations life, etc. sounds familiar huh ?

    20. LD says:

      No. Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood, which was a peaceful organization of Muslims that opposed the international corporation. Intel subsequently had him assassinated, and Britain's Neomasons assumed covert control of his organization under their Shriner banner. The Muslim Brotherhood is a unifying presence in Islamic faith, and having penetrated this organization, Britain is using Islam to displace Middle East regimes in preparation for transformation to EU fraud democracies. Democracy is a tool of reform, and it's liberating rhetoric motivates insurgencies: however, in this case, it is the vehicle of yet another authoritarian regime which has yet to be toppled, and that is the British monarchy. Islam will likewise be used to promote US insurgency, too, the difference being these individuals will work together to circumvent the Bill of Rights and collapse US domestic and economic infrastructures, but to do this Islam must substantially outnumber Americans, which is why Obama is seeding communities across the US with Muslim immigrants. Also, no authentic US president would have done this, which is why Obama was selected for this role. Not only is he willing to follow a Strauss sedition agenda, his health care reform bill is dually loaded with riders that circumvent the Bill of Rights and present overwhelmingly on the US political system with Sharia law. Heritage Foundation is attempting to disconnect Obama from this mess, and it's can't be done.

    21. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      Obama finally "called for Qadhafi to step down" not because he wanted to do something for America, he was pushed into it screaming and kicking. Obama finally came to the realization that he must do something only because of 2012. He knew it meant going against his friends and mentors Farrakhan and Rev. Wright (who were both guest of Qadhafi in Libya), But he assured them he will make up for it if he get reelected.

    22. Robert says:

      The most important, and missing from this analysis, point is that Islam is completely incompatible with democracy and freedom will never happen in an Islamic nation. Islam is a brutal and mean religion which is completely compatible with the nature of Arabs. That is why is is there.

    23. Merrill Barfield Las says:

      I'm sorry, but I don't agree with the assessment on the Near East given in this email. The situation in that region of the world will never be resolved to US satisfaction. I do agree that the Obama administration is at a loss on how to handle the situation, Obama particularly. He is not qualified to be president and each international incident proves it. But I don't think the Near East can be solved by any American president, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent. We are destined to be involved simply because we have stuck our noses in the business of many countries over the past 7 or 8 decades, some with good results, some not. This problem with the near and middle east cannot be solved without starting a Third World War, which in my mind, is about to start anyway, no matter what we do because we are not the only players in the recent incidents in that part of the world. There are enough problems here in the US that need our government's attention. That also will escalate into a worse situation for us here at home. We will continue to expend our resources in foreign lands and our economy will continue to deteriorate until the US has sunken to a third world power and vulnerable to an attack we can't withstand. Let the Arabs fight among themselves. We have enough to deal with here in the US, such as securing our Southern and Northern borders and preparing to deal with natural disasters within our national boundaries, among a myriad of other problems.

    24. KC - New Mexico says:

      May be the Washington politicians need to look deeply into a mirror. If the politicians believe that Americans are satisfied, feel protected, free, educated, and treated fairly, then they are living in a dream world. We spend huge dollars on addressing the special interest groups and have forgotten about what the majority of Americans need. We need leadership that will address the majority and make the tough decisions. This leadership is not present today on either side.

      Regarding Africa and the Middle East – what can we expect from SOS Clinton with backing by President Obama? I suggest cutting USA funding for everything but purchase of oil. If they want the additional funding, then they must make a good deal on the price of oil.

    25. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Muamar Qadaffi Duck should go.

    26. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I would like the United States to lead by example. We have lost Free Enterprise. Our elections were usurped in their Primaries! For how many years? Nobody in America actually knows how much they pay in total taxes (fines, fees, penalties, pass throughs, etc.) Our government is a crazy controlling Nanny State! We ought to get Liberty at home, then we will have the moral high ground to say what other Nations might do.

      Conn, I love your work. Nobody could be as disingenious as Obama, so duplicitous, I figure he is that Constitutional expert who figured out a way to exploit cracks, create cracks in our Representative Government. Obama is just smart enough to attack the Constitution with actions. He won't say he is creating a Dictatorship behind the scenes, but real power is sublingually delivered by what Obama does! That is precident! So the fact Obama is creating a Shadow Government in the United States is the message! He and the Wisconsin Senators attack Representation at its very definition! Congress is usurped with the Administration doing whatever it wants, opposite what Congress decided.

      What we have in America is the same kind of gangsterism that has ruled the Mid East. Plutocrats do what they want! I see no difference between Hugo Chavez and Obama nationalizing things! He is a thug from Chicago with no respect for the Rule of Law! Conn, what you've exposed is that Obama is like Ahmadinijad, wary of the grass roots. The TEA party is Obama's persistant protesters. You are right, the White House was caught off guard. But watch, Obama is like Qadhafi, using his Administration to go after Americans and pay off Unions! He will destroy this Nation with no more conscience than the dictator.

      The Taxed Enough Already Party is the Liberation movement in America, not the Union astro turf. You have brilliantly separated the three great liberation movements! As a TEA Party patriot, I will accept nothing less than American exceptionalism! Nothing less that the full restoration of the Constitution! Nothing less than the Prosecution of Traitors!

    27. LibertyAtStake, Alex says:

      You may be right – but I'm reading a continuation of the so-called second wave (pan-Islamism). My opinion in this matter is based mostly on the by now well-known PEW Research poll numbers on Muslim opinions. (In favor of Shariah, etc.) I think we encourage anti-regime movements in the remaining non-belligerent stable Arab monarchies at our own peril. And Israel's peril of course.

      In those countries that have already blown up – I'm not smart enough to see how anyone can craft soaring rhetoric that pushes those particular mobs toward freedom and away from Shariah, yet simultaneously avoids creating additional unstable mobs throughout the region.

      My priorities would be revving up the domestic energy industry and standing tall and firm for Israel's existence no matter which way the Arab street goes – but that's just me.

      "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

    28. Joan, Dallas, Texas says:

      What concerns me is this: Can they be forward non-prejudical thinkers? Can they educate themselves about the horrors of religious supremacy and idealology, open their hearts and minds to learning how to be different? Will they still hate America?

    29. Bill Setliffe says:

      It seems to me Obama is very disappointed that Qadhafi is being run out of town. In my opinion he would like to pattern his government after what Qadhafi has done. In Obama's mind, he should be a dictator. He is certainly acting like one. The American people will put a stop to his overreach.

      Thank You

      After reading below I'm not sure you want this post. Delete it if you like.

    30. John Boos from Whitb says:

      The situation was well observed and presented, but I would have liked to see the article deal with the quite evident "implosion" of Islam upon itself. There is no "background philosophy" to bolster the Islamic peoples' cry for "democracy and equality and human rights". I fail to see reliable democracies resulting from these varied efforts to substitute something in the place of endemic dictatorships justified by Qur'anic suras. Even though these peoples in turmoil have accepted modernity in a limited way, notably to the point of having their own Stock Exchanges, they have in fact rejected human rights and freedom to follow one's own conscience in matters of religion. I expect further dictatorships to raise their heads in these regions. This will merely support my contention that unless a viable philosophy is there as a mental conviction to form a democracy, it is doomed to failure. One cannot without a certain trepidation attempt to export democracy. Japan is the exception, but the USA was there in post-war years for several years, time for democracy to take root. This evidently cannot be envisaged in the case of these Middle East and North African countries.

    31. Hermes C Liberty New says:

      Taking very seriously our role as Jeffersonianism inheritors and therefore friendly and firmly imposing this system as the "least bad" among all other know {systems} today require much more leadership and convincing argumentation regarding our role as Effective Leader. This might not be totally internalized today by everybody even tough the administration should behave as. This shows also that we need ourselves to improve by understanding that in order to Lead again rightfully, we have to re-create these fire and avant-garde ideas and actions, only this second r-Evolution; a spiraling up movement, inspired once more by Philosophers as our Founding Fathers, well acquainted with Natural Laws and Universal truths (that will place us in the incontournable cornerstone of a Leader who is, by its Timeless Inspirations and concrete applications, is destined to do so) could bring about. This will produce much good; add to what our Founding Fathers have done. This is our challenge, let's face it and…make it.

    32. Murray Rosner says:

      The problem is Islam. It is not a democratic institution never was, and never will be.The day of reckoning has come for Islam.They feared the influx of Western thinking that would permeate the Moslem world.Therefore the tirades against the "Great Satan " and the little Satin, US and Israel, both symbols of freedom and democracy. In a way it's like the Reformation of old, The Roman Catholic Church against the Protestant movement. Though we can question the freedom aspects of Protestantism.

      If orthodox groups like the Moslem Brotherhood triumph in these uprisings then all the bloodshed was in vain.Let's hope this is not the case.

    33. Gerry Box, Edmonton, says:

      Our boy president has no clue how to handle anything, much less something as complicated as the uprisings in Libya and Egypt. He got what he thought he wanted with Mubaruk, but now the Muslim Brotherhood is set to take over a large portion of the ruling class. However, since Obama is a Muslim, he doesn't think the brotherhood is a bad thing, and I'm sure he thinks he can tell them to jump and they wil ask "how high". God help us.

    34. Al, Glenwood says:

      ",,reform the economy."? The United States cannot begin to show anyone how to reform their economy. Ours is a total mess!

    35. Fredy, New Joisey says:

      I would have commented sooner; but, we had a scheduling conflict.

      Dear Heritage: You folks might need an alarm clock to wake you up from this fabulous dream your having here: "The administration must get out objectives and strategy clear – very quickly" WHAT? What administration would you be referring, mind tell? This is the goal of the obama admin, they want nothing more than world-wide chaos, anarchy, termoil. It's all part of the BIG PLAN. And, BTW: While everything else seems to becoming un-glued around you, DON'T VILIFY MY (I mean THE) UNIONS – HEAR!!!

    36. steven ryan says:

      i think it is strange of you to assert that Obama was caught of-guard by what is going on over in the Mideast. You know that he was training revolutionaries from over there or the State Department at least was .

    37. a.d. monday says:

      The U.S. needs another president who is a leader.

    38. David Bess, Carson C says:

      The unrest in the mid east should be a wake up call to this administration and America as a whole. Now is the time for America to become emnergy independent. We need to insure our future supplies of oil are contained within our hemisphere, if not within our borders and offshore fields. We have an abundant supply if the present administration will let us do the exploration and drilling needed to secure the oil.

      When you see the signs "NO MORE OIL FOR THE WEST" at the protest in the middle east don't you become a little nervous. Realizing that the US now produces only 7.5 percent of the oil it uses and that half of the imported oil comes from the middeast means that they do have the power to economically devistate America. Canada and South America supply maybe 35% of our energy needs. For America to become independent of the mideast we need to generate at least 65% of our demand and support the suppliers within our own hemisphere.

      After 1600 years of unrest in the middle east it is not likely that we will see a stable environment in that area in our lifetime. With all of the unrest and instability in the world today America has to become the most stable nation in the world. The guiding light for those in the world that want to prosper in a free economy with personal freedoms and rights. Our history is one of freedom, wealth and compassion. We have to get back to those values and what we're doing now is only driving us farther away from our basic values.

      By developing cheap energy we can compete in a world market place, Without it we can only continue this downward spiral into oblivion. That oblivion is where your children and grand children will reside. A country without the American dream or any form of hope. We've done a fine job of taking care of what we inherited from our parents, right????

    39. Dave W. Provo. UT says:

      So does the spin on CBS, CNN, NBC, etc help us get out of our debt plunge or not recognizing that Islam's objectives have not changed for over a thousand years–To rule the earth in the name of their God. I'm grateful for HF and Fox for researched and balanced news and opinions.

    40. Pingback: World Spinner

    41. Wayne, Louisiana says:

      There is a lot of truth in these comments. We should express our support for the free and democratic values while showing disdain for subversive and oppressive tactics.

    42. C. Hyatt says:

      Obama behind the eight ball? Hardly. I find it interesting that Heritage has not contemplated that the unrest in the Middle East is welcomed by the current administration. Much like the unrest now in the U.S., I find it hard to believe that no one is considering that he also is in favor of all the unrest in the Middle East. My thought is that Obama may be very happy to give the appearance of trying to calm the situation all the while doing his work by proxy. Can anyone follow the line of thinking that there is something to be gained in the Middle East given all the conflict? Their problems will only make our financial situation worse here and give our leadership yet another reason to solve another problem that will ultimately end up with U.S. citizens losing something. The stakes in this race are much higher than just who governs any region in the Middle East.

    43. Allen Wilson says:

      and what if they turn on Israel? We are responsible for the Jews we attracted to move there even if we cannot keep them from being unfair to the Palestinians. We don't have the balls to make things right, but a democratic majority of Muslims may push too hard at the Israelis. If we side with either we are putting our country in an untenable, "damed if you do damed if you don't situation." What power says we have any business in their fight for democracy. We have enough obligations over there.

    44. Jaime Cancio Bakersf says:

      Every one thinks the current crisis in the middle east is about oil. It is, only because the us will not tap into what is available in our own country. Here is how you put a stop in the entire Arab world over night and end this ignorant rioting, ignorant and arrogant religion, and hopefully instill a round of violence that will clean house in all the Arab world. Tomorrow, stop all food supplies to the Arab world and within one week every Arab country will fail. Do not restart supplying food to any Arab country that sales oil to the US unless the barrel price is reduced immediately to 18USD a barrel. And to really catch their attention, cut off all fresh water sent to those countries as well.

      But to do something like that takes real leaders to implement. The current head of this country has no testicles, nor experience or education, to address the problem. The great western nations are made to suffer for the ignorance of third and fourth world countries; why are we bowing down and kissing a**e to societies and cultures that are failures in and of history. We treat them, these failed nations, as experts when they have not yet learned to wipe their a**es, they use their left hands, to stupid to use the modern convenience of toilet paper. We have a president the same colour as the Arab nations left hands, stooping to the ignorance of failed peoples.

      Put a stop to the violence in the world, cut off food and water to these nations, sure there will be violence to follow; but mark my word…in the end they will all return to peace. These nations have rejected human rights and freedoms to follow one’s own conscience in matters of religion at the same time rejecting all other religions, and violently, that crushes all freedoms, excluding the privileged classes.

    45. John Clancy says:

      Dennis Prager points out that in a night photograph over the Middle East only tiny Isreal is lighted, suggesting that it is alive as opposed to the Muslim countries.

      The free countries are bright; oppressed countries are dark. Free countries tend to be alive, energetic, creative.

      Could the difference in these countries be related to their roots? the free countries to Judeo-Christian values as found in the Bible; the Middle Eastern countries to Muslim values as found in the Quran?

    46. Paul Revere II, Broo says:

      1 – Islam is not truly a religion – if it ever was. It is a political movement.

      2 – The Bill Ayres – Saul Alinsky operatives were in the Middle East for some time before the flames erupted.

      3 – "Democracy: – rule by the 'demos' – the crowd – will provide these shouting masses a sadder surprise than what they "revolt" against.

      4 – Calm, representative, (not imposed) government exists in the western world only in the USA (and the UK?) and is fading fast here.

      5 – Whether by intent or ineptitude, Obama is making the mess messier.

      6 – Removal of Obama is an urgent need, but who will step up to do it?

    47. Christopher Martin, says:

      While the world waits for democracy in the Middle East to move from a concept to a Capital D, what everyone refuses to acknowledge is that democracy does not automatically equate to the adoption of Western values, or even Western patterns of behavior.

      There is a LOUD and pronounced cultural bias against Jews and Israel in the Middle East (and by extension any of their allies worldwide). In recent times, despots were held back from acting on it by their own self-interests. Now that they are gone there is very little cultural, social or legal grounds to prevent open aggression authorized by democratic consensus. Even the Cairo demonstrators openly spoke of their hatred for Israel and a desire to "strike back."

      Al Queda may be temporarily sidelined (longer, any civilized person hopes), but as a funded and organized group capable of operating efficiently in chaos – even chaos not of their own making – no one can deny the influence they will have on a voting public, be it platforms they author or cultural anti-Israel/Semitic/Western biases they co-opt; no one can say that a democratic Middle East will assuredly result in a regional peace. It could very easily just amount to popular aggression, with Israel becoming the new Sudetenland. Yes, as a reminder, Hitler was elected by popular vote as well.

      Democracy to the West means something entirely different than it does in the Middle East. For the West, it is a rule of law and a process. For the Middle East, it means a result. Thus far, that difference is ignored by the Western press while they focus on justifiable riots by the citizens of a half-dozen nations.

      The application of democracy beyond the expression of outrage it is a lesson that can be taught, though it has to spring from communal desire and a sense of justice in and outside the individual, ideology and country.

      Most Islamic cultures do not have that as part of their gestalt as they have historically surrendered significant parts of their legal and social process to the dictums of a 1,400 year old book which is not just monotheist, but also socially didactic. Combine that with two thousand years' of patriarchal tribal organizations as their dominant social structure and there is little historical basis for a working legislature, open debate and cooperation under either law or purpose. Iraq is still slowly riding that learning curve and it remains to be seen if they remain on it without the specter of occupation.

      The aesthetic of cohesiveness should be the single greatest lesson the West can assist emerging democracies to learn; Americans did it in Japan and the Philippines. We let Germans rediscover it during the Marshal Plan, and Italians have arguably been trudging with it through nearly 60 distinct formed governments since 1946. The French Napoleonic Code has survived since 1804 to give a common baseline of behavior, jurisprudence and conduct even though Napoleon's ouster and Nazi occupation. However, Koranic cultures do not have a record of debate and interpretation; while the Koran itself may be up for interpretation, the adherent culture it has inspired has never accepted it. There are Islamic-inspired secular efforts in the Middle East, but history those voices have had more to fear from their own culture than the West's "interference."

      No such democratic or legislative process exists, in the Middle East, where 280 million people are organized by tribe, geography and strict landed hierarchies, save the surrounded 7.5 million democratic Israelis. Voicing discontent for the region manifests itself in an individual's punishment or subversive activity (read: terrorism); either is a selfish act and there can be no working democracy without a template for not just self-respect and expression, but allowance for others' dissent without persecution, a feat made worse by current generations' despot leadership.

      However, there are historical touchstones to draw from. Saladin, the logistically brilliant Islamic defender of the Third Crusades, conducted himself with a degree of honor and respect he became a noble hero in the 12th Century… to the Europeans he defeated. A Kurd, he managed to unite hundreds of tribes from modern Iran to Egypt under a code of conduct that was every bit as secular as it was Islamist. He united people not with just a common goal, but a common standard of behavior that applied not just to people under his flag but those pursued by it like Richard the Lionheart. Unfortunately most contemporary education focuses on his strategic victories and not the representative social system he used to unite the tribes, a system that lasted nearly a hundred years after his death.

      Looking at contemporary times, there is no cultural blueprint for a lasting and free debate, none yet even provided by the democratic activists begging for it. THAT is what the West needs to be willing to allow them to learn, what the West needs to foster. It is a lesson and common modus operandi that must be accepted by the masses BEFORE there is a truly democratic vote. Otherwise we just have a Dickensian mob screaming who should be beheaded next without realizing that each person screaming is fast becoming the next name shouted out.

      Guiding that is not all their fault; in a Western culture increasingly dominated by political correctness, too much attention is focused on the terms used rather than the application or localized meanings thereof; Shaw once wrote that the United States and England are two countries separated by a common language. Today, what we have is more devious and severe; the world has divergent motivations hiding behind a common language. We have surrendered our quest for truth for the commonality of semantics. Or to quote Inigio Montoya "I do not think the word means what he thinks it means." The West has forgotten than across borders and cultures, and even within, the labels we celebrate are akin to isotopes.

      Just remember, the Mullahs of Iran were elected in a free democratic election. No one can claim that benefitted the world, even the Iranians.

      I do hope there is a genuine emerging democracy that has peace and a just common law as a goal. If there is, it would be the most remarkable thing the Middle East has produced since the invention of coffee.

    48. A. Terranova, Ormond says:

      I will be reading "The Shadow Government…" very soon. I suspect it will reveal information that up to this point in time has not been truthfully reported and/or objectively investigated by our media. There are so many lies, through omission as well as commission, being promulgated in the media and by our government that it takes constant surveillance on the part of those of us who believe we are being deceived on a monumental scale by our own government. If it turns out that President Obama and his "shadow" government is partaking in activities that can be proven to be acts of treason, a call for his impeachment will ensue. At this point, I need more facts before a draw a conclusion. By the way, a fact is that which can be corroborated through the reality, or truth, of an actual deed.

    49. Matt McLaughlin 9314 says:

      Qadhafi and Ahmadinejad aren't the least bit close in rank so I'll say its a bad comparison. And the Heritage is just another Mellon Bank shill that wants to pre-emptively murder people.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.