SODOM & GOMORRAH: A few sites that this author frequents have been saying that the events in Egypt are America’s fault. America’s excessive liberal foreign policy has created a crisis that we will likely try to solve with a larger dose of liberalism.
This view is understandable. The critics contend that the United States has been on top since 1945, the supporters say that America has been running the show since at least the early 1990’s. It’s hard not to say that the constant interventions of the world’s largest power didn’t at least contribute to the state of the world now.
Such a view gives the United States too much credit. It assumes an America that has the insight to create and promote social movements to victory, it assumes an America alert to the stirrings of individuals on the periphery of the “known world” by which policy makers mean those isolated from the immediate attention of the press, it assumes an America that at least has the potential to change the situation – the power to make it worse is the power to make it better. The Onion’s analysis of the situation may me more accurate, which jokes that no such competence exists.
So what could be behind the unrest in Egypt, Tunisia, and a few other places? Two things, primarily.
First, the earth is essentially a giant latrine where all of the matter that was or could be unfit to be in the presence of the divine is dumped. Some people can swim, or at least tread water, while others sink to the bottom. A lot sink. With about 6.9 billion people running around, we have more human beings on the planet than ever before. Which means we also have more sinkers than before. If people have an opportunity to smash the state, the economy, or their neighbor’s face, they usually take it.
Second, the toxic mingling of democracy and liberalism has created places where there are plenty of opportunities to smash. Prior to colonization, the Middle East was subject to the slow decay of the Ottoman Empire and a few states run by people who kept the masses down. When colonization happened, these masses were kept down by Europeans. Some argue that this was good, most argue that it was worse, but all agree that the masses were kept at bay by force. Throughout this time, people from the colonized states were educated in western schools where they were taught that ethnic groups should have their own state and rights were bestowed by the government. With the great purging that took place in the 1940’s, nobody really had the energy to maintain their empires, so they began to hand them over to the masses. Naturally these masses were disgruntled (it’s the default state for masses) and they gravitated to their educated family members who preached a new faith. Nationalism and a longing for the old empires fueled pan-Arabism, pan-Africanism, and other pan-ickisms. Nationalism plus a religious framework that rejected the decadent west created a pan-Islamism that is currently behind some of the movements.
We could blame the US for number two. The US did advocate and push for de-colonization. They also jumped on the liberal-democratic bandwagon and tried to promote it, but I disagree with the argument that we created it. The United States was very provincial when it had its revolution. People were focused on family, faith, and townships. The phrase “United States” was used in the plural (e.g. “The Unites States is at war” vs. “The United States are at war”) until Lincoln’s presidency. America’s “liberalism” was not the liberalism of the 19th century that called for a dissolution of borders and complete free trade. Americans liked their borders, or we should say, Virginians, Georgians, and Pennsylvanians liked their borders. Nationalism was birthed with Napoleon and Bismarck, liberalism with Acton and Say. It was only after America destroyed local community did it join the new faith, and then proceeded to slaughter any who appeared to go against it.