Friday, November 23, 2012

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Lots Of Leopards, But No Lions

Although this is a good time to avert our gaze from excessive domestic
political analysis, the world at large is not bound by the psychological
needs of American voters, just liberated from the stress and vagaries of
a U.S.presidential election.

The pattern of recent years for American and European politicians to
procrastinate about facing immediate and critical problems goes on
unabated. This will have dire consequences, but not now, and the "not
now" is exactly what these politicians want.

In the Middle East, however, this theme is not in fashion with political
figures who do not share in the democratic tendency to delay unpleasant
dilemmas. These figures, many of whom are very recent creations of the
mis-named "Arab Spring," understand what successful totalitarians
always grasp. i.e., act fast and ruthlessly before an opposition can develop.
Like the proverbial leopards, this new generation of despots cannot shed
their ominous spots.

President Morsi of Egypt, only relatively few days into his first term,
having been elected with only 51% of the vote (coincidentally the same
percentage President Obama received two weeks ago) has declared himself,
in effect, dictator of Egypt. Protesters have quickly appeared, but don't bet
on their ability to continue to do so.

A truce has tentatively come into effect between Hamas-run Gaza and the
state of Israel. Both sides claim victory. Don't bet on this truce lasting
very long. In two months, there will be a general election in Israel, a
genuine democracy, so Prime Minster Netanyahu took the prudent course
not moving his troops into Gaza. After the election, who knows what will

The history of diplomacy in the new century, alas, is very little different
from diplomacy in the old one, or the one before that. In spite of pretensions
to "growing international maturity' and "international progress," the apparently
inherent inability of democratically-elected political leaders promptly to face
down and impede totalitarian ones remains endemic. The United Nations has
become a perverse farce, and only the voluntary and independent charity and
relief organizations give any validity to the concept and goal of international
humanitarianism as an answer, even if only a small one, to violence and

It would be so convenient and reassuring to avert our gaze from these matters,
as we can (at least briefly) from domestic U.S. politics, but of course the nature
of our global species does not allow any such reassuring holiday.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman.   All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment