The Republican Platform and “the Arab Spring”
There was another odd statement in the foreign policy section of the Republican platform:
We recognize the historic nature of the events of the last two years–the Arab Spring–that have unleashed democratic movements leading to the overthrow of dictators who have been menaces to global security for decades.
What stands out here is how closely “the Arab Spring” is identified with the overthrow of “menaces to global security.” Ben Ali and Mubarak were oppressive and brutal authoritarian rulers, but “menaces” to global security are what they clearly were not. As far as the U.S. was concerned, they were quite the opposite. Gaddafi had been such a menace at one time, but he had ceased to be one many years ago. That didn’t stop the U.S. from helping to orchestrate his downfall, but that had nothing to do with eliminating a “menace” to global security. Indeed, overthrowing Gaddafi has led to the creation of other menaces to international security in Africa, but that certainly isn’t going to be mentioned. Syria is the one case where this description might apply, yet Assad is the only one of these four still in power.
So the statement isn’t very accurate, and it conveys a very confused understanding of what has been happening in the last twenty months. More important, it reflects the remarkable unwillingness among Republican democratists to acknowledge that popular uprisings can and do contribute to instability and insecurity. It suggests that the GOP’s leadership is still inclined to view events in the Near East and North Africa through a very distorted ideological lens.