Friday, February 25, 2011

When the unthinkable happens, I start to think what if...

Like many, when rioting started in Tunisia in January, with Tunisians demanding political reform, I thought little of it. When the government was toppled I still paid little attention. However, when that wave of political frustration crashed into Hosni Mubarek's government in Egypt and ignited a political tidal wave of unrest and protest in a half dozen other Middle East and North African nations it was hard not to give pause.

These recent events have given me reason to conjecture and wonder aloud, "What would have happened if the US never entered into our "2003 war of choice" a.k.a. invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein?" Would this current tsunami of political unrest topple Hussein? Its impossible to say for sure, but I would have preferred that scenario over what actually happened. Hussein was a terrible guy, but so are most of the leaders from this part of the world.

The former leaders of Tunisia and Egypt were American allies so we paid little attention to their attrocities because it was politically expedient. It's hard to imagine how amazing it would have been to support and encourage the people of Iraq to rise up against their former dictator and overthrow him. If it had happened, I'd like to believe it would bridge and embolden the political unrest in its neighboring state, Iran. Of course this is all conjecture and a lot of hypotheticals are assumed, but considering how the unimaginable has become reality in North Africa and the Middle East lately, it seems a lot less unlikely than it would have just a few months ago.


Anonymous said...

I doubt it. Part of the revolution is based on the U.S. fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Lewis said...

I often wonder, what if this or that. How would the course of human events and history have been changed.

Evan said...

I think Iran isn't far behind Lybia, Tunisia and Bahrain, etc. Egypt seems a special case and has, I believe, the best chance at real democracy. (I am just a normal guy, but at least, from what I can see, it appears this way).

From what I have read, most of these oppressive regimes only last so long anyway (USSR anyone? I suspect that Cuba isn't far behind either). I suspect China has another 25 years or so before there is full scale revolting.

Also, now with social media and information in general, people have more access (if perhaps, not enough access) than they used to, so maybe things will proceed faster.

I know that people are afraid of what could replace those old despotic rulers, but how can we, as Americans, wish for more democracy in the world and then feel like we want to stop these countries from trying to achieve it. I think all we can do is hope and perhaps our government can provide support. We will have to see how this all turns out. Who knows, maybe things will get better?

Just my two cents

BosGuy said...

I agree with you regarding Iran and think that social media is a huge factor in opening previously closed countries. Technology is the tool all these revolutions are employing to share information and learn how to meet force.

We'll see what happens and how this all plays out in the years that follow. I'm optmistic though.

Kyle said...

BosGuy I like your optimistic tone.

Unfortunately, I doubt that any of the nations in the Middle East and Northern Africa experiencing uprisings, except for Egypt, have a good chance of establishing representative republics(within an oligarchy) similar to ours. Part of that will probably be our fault(we love to meddle), but will also be the fault of those belonging to the oligarchies in each nation experiencing an uprising.

I don't see the wealthy and powerful people in those nations seeing a benefit to that kind of change. Even if is allowed to develop I'm willing to bet it will be superficial. We are dangerously close to that here in the states and to a lesser degree, much of the western world. One quick political shift later and three hundred years of change in western nations could be eliminated.

Humanity has come a long way, but we still have a long way to go before the threat of dark ages, widespread slavery and indentured servitude, and outright oppression are memories for us.