There have been misgivings regarding the net results of the Arab Spring. They have arisen even among observers such as myself who consider intolerable the idea that Arabs must remain forever under despotic regimes.
It’s difficult to avoid observing that the vacuum created by the destruction of a tyrant opens the path for terrorists as happened recently in Benghazi, Libya. (And, by the way, my orthodox libertarian friends are interestingly silent about the seeming fact that the destruction of a state brings forward the converse of the free society to which they aspire.)
In Egypt, for example, reactionary, illiberal political forces did not even begin to begin the uprising against the military dictatorship. They just joined it late and reluctantly. Nevertheless, they won control handily in the aftermath. The freedom lovers who started the whole thing ended up with a regime that may be even worse from their standpoint than the regime they overthrew. This kind of observation generates skepticism about the Arab Spring in general, of course. (See my own “The Arab Spring: Confession“)
So, it’s important to not let recent events in Egypt go unnoticed and unheralded: When the elected Islamist President Morsi suddenly appointed himself dictator, there were massive protests in Cairo and in other Egyptian cities. This simple fact undermines the widespread idea among conservatives and pro-Israel Americans that Arabs are fundamentally incapable of implementing democracy . This is a belief about mentalities, by and large, not about structural societal conditions. The protests in Egypt are enough to show the viewpoint is wrong.
There is not much by way of Arab democracies but there are clearly Arab democrats. Those people are America’s natural allies whether they like us or not.
In other news, the Pakistan Taliban announced that they were going to attack India. I hope they do! The large and well-trained Indian Army is the most underused force for progress in that part of the world.