Despite my most strident critics insisting that I am a “know it all” type of writer I am in fact a rather modest, if opinionated. sort of person who likes to take a bit of time to absorb the facts and consider the consequences of the changes that I see in the world around me. Thus I have said nothing previously about the events in Egypt over recent weeks. However with the political demise of Mubarek I just can’t get that old aphorism which begins with “be careful what you wish for” out of my head.
It has been darkly humorous watching the Latte Sippers wet themselves with excitement over these events they seem to think that this is “all good” and that there will be nothing but positive outcomes from this roiling unrest in the Arab world. Melenie Philips quite rightly notes their naivety:
Nevertheless, Western progressives were shouting for regime change. At which point it began to seem that, like Alice, one had somehow been transported through the looking-glass.
For during the past seven years, Western liberals have fulminated without remission that George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Tony Blair were criminally out to lunch to pretend that democracy could ever come to Iraq through ousting a dictator.
The neo-con article of faith, that the Arab or Islamic world, could or should embrace democracy and human rights, was held up as an example of cultural imperialism, racist bigotry or insanity, or all three.
But suddenly everyone in the bien-pensant world has apparently become a neo-con.
The US, they now fulminated, had been criminally obtuse in propping up the dictator Mubarak rather than helping turn Egypt into a democracy.
So what was the difference? Simple. Saddam Hussein was an enemy of the West; Mubarak was an ally. So progressives claimed that getting rid of the former was a crime against humanity, while not getting rid of the latter was a crime against humanity. Got that?
It would doubtless be uncharitable to add that, throughout this supposedly diabolical Mubarak presidency those same liberals saw no problem taking vacations rubber-necking round the Pyramids or steaming up the Nile. No boycott, divestment or sanctions movement there; such censure is never applied by the Left to any of the tyrannies of the Middle East, of course, only against the sole democracy in the region: Israel.
Nor do the double standards stop there. When the people of Lebanon made their pitch for democracy against the crushing oppression of Hezbollah, Western bien-pensants were totally indifferent. When the people of Iran made their pitch for democracy against the savage cruelties of the Islamic regime, the bien-pensants were totally indifferent. But when the Egyptians took to the streets, the bien-pensants all but wetted themselves with excitement.
What was the difference? If the Lebanese and Iranians had succeeded, the West would have been strengthened. But the risk still remains that the canny Muslim Brotherhood will bide their time before pouncing and coming to power in Egypt, which would of course furnish another major threat for the free world.
And this is the most frightening thing of all in this back-to-front universe: the way in which the West has sanitised the Muslim Brothers and even, in the case of the Obama administration, actually tried to push them into power.
Personally I am still rather unsure that this will be a change for the better because as bad as Mubarek seemed to be he at least suppressed in the desires and aspirations of his country’s Islamists and anti-Semites and taking the lid of that noxious brew may have some rather messy consequences , you have to ask, will the resulting mess really be better than the rule of a relatively benign dictator?