I’m not sure the Obama administration understands what many in the blogosphere have already seen: that a geopolitical transformation is underway — one more fundamental than any we have seen since 1945. There was always a likelihood that modern Arab peoples would rise up against their despotic leaders. And we have known for years what Hezbollah was up to in Lebanon. But it was not and is not inevitable that their dramas would play out without intervention from or reference to the United States. ~J.E. Dyer
We’re seeing a geopolitical transformation “more fundamental” than the end of the Cold War, the fall of communism in Europe, and the dissolution of the USSR? For that matter, there is a transformation underway that is “more fundamental” than the start of the Cold War and the inauguration of American containment policy? That’s just silly. The events of the last few weeks have been remarkable and important for the respective countries involved and to some extent for the entire region, but they do not represent anything as significant as the division of Europe after WWII or the end of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry. For that matter, these events pale in significance when compared to the de-colonization of Africa and Asia, or the communist takeover of China. There is no sense of historical perspective or proportion in anything Dyer is saying.
It’s true that it was not inevitable that the U.S. would take a largely hands-off approach in public. Fortunately, McCain lost the last election. If we had the misfortune of a President McCain, his administration would probably have been meddling in all of these countries very openly and insisting on America having a very active role in all of these crises. If the crises had nothing to do with us, McCain would insist on inserting America into the middle of each one of them, just as he would have done in 2009 in Iran. Undeterred by having permanently discredited the Iranian opposition, he would have egged on protesters with empty words of solidarity that caused thousands of people to be killed. McCain would have been dictating terms to all of the people involved, and the U.S. would then be directly implicated in whatever the outcome might be. In Lebanon, he probably would have said, “We are all Sunnis now” to express his solidarity with Hariri and Hariri’s rioting supporters, and he might then offer to send in a military expedition to “preserve Lebanese sovereignty.”
As far as these political crises are concerned, there is no other place for the U.S. government to be except on the sidelines or at least very far in the background. It is only American self-importance that makes any of us believe that our government needs to be significantly, publicly involved in internal political crises on the other side of the planet.