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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "1; 5,000; 500,000": How About 200,000; 2,500,000; 4,250,000?

Do you recall the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and how Thomas Friedman, Nicholas Kristof and Roger Cohen went to pains to avoid bumping into each other in Cairo's Tahrir Square while extolling the virtues of the Arab Spring and the birth of Egyptian democracy? Well, the Arab Spring has turned into the Arab Ice Age, Egypt is again in flames (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/egyptians-mark-anniversary-of-uprising-with-show-of-support-for-army-backed-government/2014/01/25/f67d47ee-85cc-11e3-8742-668814928ae4_story.html?hpid=z3), and Friedman is busy explaining what went wrong.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "1; 5,000; 500,000" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/opinion/sunday/friedman-1-5000-500000.html?ref=thomaslfriedman&_r=0), Tom Terrific tells us:

"In short, what ails the Arab world is something we alone can’t fix: an inability to manage pluralism in a democratic way. We can stop the worst of it as long as we are there (see: Iraq). But only they can make the best of it — and make it self-sustaining. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria is a monster. But he can only be removed in a way that won’t bring more chaos if the Syrian opposition can demonstrate on the ground that it not only believes in pluralism, but has the will and ability to enforce it. Otherwise, the Syrian minorities gathered around Assad will not abandon him. Everyone urging President Obama to intervene in Syria needs to keep all this in mind."

"[W]hat ails the Arab world is . . . an inability to manage pluralism in a democratic way"? Just the Arab world? Iran, which is Shiite but not Arab, also has a problem managing "pluralism." The Khamenei regime hangs homosexuals, stones to death women accused of adultery, murders Baha'is, oppresses Christians, discriminates against Sunni Muslims, abuses Kurds, and throws opponents of Khamenei into Evin Prison in Tehran, where they are tortured and left to rot. And if Obama and Kerry were to dare raise the issue of these abominations in their discussions with Khamenei, which reflect directly on Tehran's world view and intentions, the ersatz negotiations with Khamenei would be dead in the water that much sooner (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/01/new-york-times-editorial-irans-charm.html).

Would it be politically incorrect to say, What ails the Muslim world is an inability to manage pluralism in a democratic way? I know, don't go there: All religions profess peace and brotherhood. Yeah, right.

"President Bashar al-Assad of Syria is a monster"? How can this be? Sure, he's responsible for some 200,000 deaths, 2.5 million refugees, and another 4.25 million people displaced from their homes (Syria has a total population of 22.5 million people), but he's also John Kerry's "dear friend," and no less than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of Assad on "Face the Nation":

"There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer."
Yes, Bashar has proven that he is every bit as delightful and humane as his father, who was responsible for the 1982 Hama massacre.

"Everyone urging President Obama to intervene in Syria needs to keep all this in mind"? Well, if you have the stomach for it, you might want to have a look at some of the 55,000 photographs smuggled out of Syria by a military police officer, which show the emaciated and bloody victims of the Assad regime (see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2544711/Starved-tortured-throttled-The-true-horror-Assads-soldiers-execute-rebel-prisoners-revealed-new-images-released-today.html). These pictures are reminiscent of corpses found after the allies liberated Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and if Obama had been less of a weakling, this genocide could have been prevented without American boots on the ground.

However, both Assad and Khamenei have learned that Obama's red lines are drawn with disappearing ink, and who knows how many more innocent people will die owing to the American president's timorousness, i.e. Obama's Pox Americana.

[See also: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/01/new-york-times-editorial-irans-charm.html]

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