Yet some time ago American political analysts and reporters actively discussed the “Arab Spring” and in these discussions the case was more about that the “Spring: has turned into “winter”, and hopes for rapid establishment in Near East of democracy and the triumph of human rights haven’t come true. Now this discussion is gradually ceasing – it seems that liberal dreamers recognize that there is nothing to hope for.
The result of this discussion was reformulating of the main issue of modern Near East – it’s not democracy and human rights are against tyranny and outrage, but chaos (even within attempts of democracy building) is against stability and security, in internal projection as well as within international affairs. The last issue formulation today more often is peculiar not only for experts’ disputes and reports of journalists, it already is in the speeches of American politicians.
This means, one already can’t ignore the things happening: Egypt is deepening into chaos, Libya has become a base for Islamic terrorists, the field for active activity for which has become not only Mali, but also Algeria. The events in Syria are being covered and discussed in American Mass Media more carefully – it’s clear that Assad is the devil incarnate, however it’s not understood with whom does he fights, why noble and fearless rebels can’t defeat the hateful tyrant, and the very important question, what shall happen after democracy wins and Assad is ended?
Till this week at least Tunisia could have been given as an example of the success of democratic reforms. However, after a murder of one of the opposition’s Leader, the Head of the Democratic Patriots Party Shukri Balaid, mass protest actions have started in the country, which ended with the resignation of the government and promises of the Prime Minister Jebali to form a new Cabinet. Now it’s quite difficult to talk about the success of democratic transit in Tunisia. Special spice to the situation is given by the fact that the murdered criticized the new governors of the country, who represented Islamic forces, regarding secular views. By this it’s complicated not to recollect that one of the main conflicts of the “Arab Spring” is about confrontation of secular and religious forces. It’s not a surprise that after a murder of Balaid in Egypt lately a bit forgotten Mohamed elBaradei has got worried. Having become the leader of secular opposition, he declared that Islamists had threaten him with death for a long time.
Official Washington has it harder to ignore the events happening. Wednesday the US Department of State published the call to Americans to restrain from the trips to Egypt. As a reason for such a call American diplomats name the ongoing violence, political instability and high probability of exacerbation of the crisis in a short prospect. By such declarations of the United States of America Egypt leaders can hardly count on flow of tourists into the country, absence of which shall become the hardest strike on Egypt’s economy, which in its turn, shall lead to the growth of dissatisfaction of the people, and therefore, to the further growth of tension. Under a similar scenario the events can also develop in Tunisia, which also depends on tourism.
Considering all these, we may assume that within a short prospect the United States shall try to direct all foreign political resources to stabilize the situation within Near East. As for John Kerry, who has become the Secretary of State, a veteran of American foreign policy, there is a ground to suggest that for him the need for stable and predictable Near East is evident. Which can be the steps of America?
Obviously Washington shall act within two fronts, which can be named “Syrian” and “North African”. To stabilize the situation in Syria the United States shall need active cooperation with Russia, however the barrier for America can become the line of Arab states of the Gulf of Persia, some of which support Islamists in Syria actively and openly. If this happens, Kerry and American diplomacy in general will have to implement all resources to persuade all these states that the collapse of Syrian statehood shall be of the most negative consequences for the whole region. Within North African sphere official Washington today is demanded today to make decisive and, we can even say, rigid actions towards the new leaders of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. The main objective of these actions should be non-admission of further Islamization of these states and enhancement of efficiency of the total state apparatus.
By this we should note that understanding of the things which must be done (even if they do understand it in Washington) doesn’t absolutely guarantee that the tasks set shall be solved. Evidently, the new leaders of North African states shall rather be praised by Americans than intimidated. Despite the opposition which is concerned about fighting budget deficit and the state debt of the Republicans in the Congress, it is assumed that the White House shall be able to find urgent means. The case is not about huge amounts – by trillion state debt it shall be easy to find several threes of billions.
However, even if the United States are able to stabilize the situation, within a long-term prospect American foreign policy shall have losses within ideological field – claiming for global defense of democracy America shall demonstrate that in case of the need it prefers stability provided with authoritarian methods. This, naturally, shall assist reduction of American potential of “soft force”, however the amateurs of democracy shouldn’t be scolded for such “exchange” of the official Washington: the logic of modern international relations is implacable – even the United States are forces to chose the things to refuse of to achieve its goals, which still include stable Near East.
Nikolay Pakhomov – political observer, political writer
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from politcom.ru