Fareed Zakaria: It's Not All About US In The Middle East


All of these Republicans raging against President Obama's foreign policy, calling it 'apologism' and 'weak' is driving me nuts. You cannot simply point to Obama's last three years as President and ignore our actions and short-sighted policy shifts over decades to the reason there's unrest in the Middle East.

Fareed Zakaria posits a radical and inconvenient notion for those neo-cons (who by all rights, have shown that their understanding of foreign policy is destructive and hurts America's long term interests) eager to puff up their chests and swing that big metaphorical stick: It's not about US.

The images of the American embassy burning in Benghazi might have conjured up memories of Tehran in 1979 but the analogy is false.

In Libya, the government is not fomenting Anti-Americanism, it is fighting it, openly declaring America an ally and friend. The country is pro-American by a 2-to-1 margin, and the violence there appears to have been the work of small, extremist elements that lack much popular support. But the storm has spread from Libya.

Across the Middle East, there have been protests railing against the United States and the West in general. Even in these places, however, keep in mind that these crowds number in the hundreds - perhaps thousands - in countries with tens of millions of people. They make for vivid images, but they do not tell the whole story.

What can we say about these places and protests? First, in many of these countries - particularly those that have toppled dictatorships - the most important reality is not of bad government but of weak government.

Would that we stop viewing these events less through the lens of the all powerful US exerting their will and might on undeveloped savage nations and more through the lens of encouraging democracy for all persons.

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