There is little new under the Sun and precious little of that is good news but the uprisings in the Middle East are both.
They are novel in that they genuinely seem to be popular uprisings unmediated by elites or provocateurs. They are good news for those of us who believe liberty and self-determination.
It is a measure of American hypocrisy that after 30 years of expensively propping up the Egyptian client dictatorship that they are now urging accommodation and reform while keeping the money spigot flowing. It may also be a measure of American weakness that they have so quickly jumped on the bandwagon.
There are always concerns about how these uprisings evolve. If they descend into revolutions then it becomes impossible to predict the outcome as all sorts of opportunists interfere and manipulate to suit their preconceived agendas. If they lead to bloodless displacements, as in Tunisia, then we may hope for the best.
I believe that once freedoms are granted they are very hard to remove save in cases of near complete state failure such as Afghanistan has endured for 30 years. So, let us hope for swift and bloodless popular coups everywhere that American satraps have lingered for so long and that Arabs can show Bush et al. what ‘Let Freedom Reign’ is really about.
It would certainly be wonderful to see another ‘domino effect’ of dictatorships toppling in succession as we saw in 1989. There is unlikely ever to be a better time for the Arabs. America is weak in blood and treasure after two stupid wars and a property bubble. Russia has not fully recovered and China has not yet established itself.
I don’t think this good news for oil consumers, though.