For generations the Arab world was governed by autocrats. Some have been more violent, repressive, anti-Western, and radical than others. So, too, the majority of citizens in the Arab world have for generations harbored opinions that are anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, and anti-American.
In the last eight months, the U.S. has supported populist overthrows of the autocrats of Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, all of whom were relatively less violent, less repressive, and less anti-American, anti-Jewish, and anti-Christian. At the same time, the U.S. has failed to support populist protesters seeking to overthrow the relatively more violent, repressive, anti-American, and anti-Jewish regime in Syria. President Obama’s recent call for Assad to be deposed has not been matched by a policy with a chance of accomplishing this goal. The administration’s decision to place additional sanctions on Syria has no chance of toppling the regime, just as similar sanctions have failed to displace or destabilize the regime in Iran.
It is too early to know the shape of things to come in Libya. It is true that Qaddafi is a madman with a history of supporting terror. But it is also true that for the past seven years Qaddafi was essentially neutered and posed no threat to the U.S. or its allies. The fact that the U.S. is concerned about the fate of Libya’s non-conventional weapons is a clear indicator that a post-Qaddafi Libya will present dangers to the U.S. and its allies. Another cause for worry is the presence of al-Qaeda among the still largely unidentified rebel militias.
As for Egypt, even before last Thursday’s terror attack against Israel it had become clear that the warnings against overthrowing Mubarak issued by myself and others were well-founded, and that the American commentators, administration officials, and reporters who foresaw a burgeoning liberal democracy were engaged in wishful thinking. As we warned would happen, over the past several months the Muslim Brotherhood has emerged as the strongest political force in Egypt. The ruling military junta has built close ties to the group. Supposedly liberal political parties have joined a political coalition with the Brotherhood. And there is little distinction between so-called liberals and Islamists when it comes to wishing to abrogate Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.
On Wednesday, it was reported that several of the terrorists who participated in the murderous cross-border attack on Israel from Egypt last Thursday were Egyptians. At a minimum, these terrorists benefited from gross laxness on the part of Egyptian forces along the border. In all likelihood, those forces participated in the attacks.
It is quickly becoming apparent that the misnamed Arab Spring has been a boon for Israel’s enemies, has wrecked U.S. credibility as an ally in the Arab world, and likely will not lead to the establishment of liberal democracies anywhere in the Arab world for the foreseeable future.
— Caroline Glick is author of Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad.