That’s freedom! Freedom to choose between Tide and ivory, between Corn Flakes and Cheerios, freedom to consume transformed high profit margin global brands who spend so massively on marketing and publicity as to make Hollywood look like poor orphans. The reality is that the top line revenue growth of these Fortune 500 is iffy; their cost and overhead structure is a beast of burden. They need new markets and the Arab world is a big, enticing one. The Western governments need the tax revenues to support their bloated structures.
Problem is, even if the recalcitrant Islamic states were to roll over and beg like trained dogs in a circus, play nicely and invoke what the West wants from them: nominal democracy based on property law and free markets; the problems they invoke may be more acute and dangerous to world stability than the present despotic kingdoms spiced with healthy portions of religious kooks and other charlatans. Technological unemployment, that is the likes of IBM’s Watson and Google driverless cars are just the cusp of major change that is going to spawn severe unemployment in the short and medium term. But sooner or later, the Arab states are going to have to deal with this as well.
Its hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel for Egypt. China to the rescue laying on the African template? …
(see link at end)… To the Editor:
In the past week The Times has published an important interview with Egypt’s president, Mohamed Morsi (“Egypt’s Leader Spells Out Terms for U.S.-Arab Ties,” front page, Sept. 23), and Pankaj Mishra’s Op-Ed essay, “America’s Inevitable Retreat From the Middle East.” What they have in common is the argument that the United States can no longer act as an imperial power in the region, dictating actions and responses from Arabs or Muslims. Part but not all of this has to do with American support of Israel.
Propping up dictators (Egypt, Tunisia, the shah of Iran) or overthrowing them (Iraq) and assuming that Washington can control the results will no longer work.
I am reminded of a quote from Samuel P. Huntington’s much misrepresented book “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order”: “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas, values or religion … but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”
CHARLES D. SMITH Read More:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/29/opinion/should-us-stay-out-of-mideast-affairs.html?ref=opinion
… “America’s Inevitable Retreat From the Middle East,” by Pankaj Mishra (Op-Ed, Sept. 24), lays out the myopic approach to emerging nations that has cost the United States so dearly in lives, money and prestige over the past 40 years. He correctly points to the victory over fascism and the widespread belief in American exceptionalism as important components of this misguided path. However, Mr. Mishra’s destion of American power as “waning” doesn’t seem correct; it waned long ago….
With the exception of the first Iraq war, we have not prevailed decisively in any major war since World War II. Even Korea was a stalemate. Rather than current events being a re-enactment of the fall of Saigon, they seem to be a continuation of a prewar colonial mentality.
Despite our own revolutionary past, we have never understood the dynamics of emerging nationhood as it has developed since World War II, to the point that our nation’s foreign policy seems to resemble the movie “Groundhog Day” — repeating the same misguided actions. When will we wake up and finally get it right? JOHN N. CORBIN Read More:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/29/opinion/should-us-stay-out-of-mideast-affairs.html?ref=opiniona