Τετάρτη 19 Δεκεμβρίου 2018
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The winds of change

They sweep the Arab World but what do they portend ?

The winds of change

 by Capricorner

In Egypt the change was not really tumultuous, neither in Tunisia, but elsewhere ? The protests in Libya and Bahrain may turn to a blood bath and the same may happen in Yemen.  The other regimes currently, or soon, to be affected ?

 

In Egypt there was a semblance of democracy. There was a parliament ostensibly representing the people. There were institutions that can function in new democratically free ways. A change for the better is all that is needed. Tunisia seems to be a similar case. What will be the fate of change in the other countries where there are no institutions? People have no experience with institutions, only with rulers whom they accept, tolerate, detest, whatever the case may presently be. In those countries what their immediate need will be is …… rulers yes rulers who can rein in the chaos that may follow the decimation of the status quo. These rulers must be leaders who can inspire, advise, gain the support of the people and “educate” them to the notions of democracy (it is not unrestrained freedom to do what one pleases ignoring or defying other peoples interests/desires/pursuits/will). These leaders, like Machiavelli’s Enlightened Despot, will lead like “despots” but enlightened in their ways and committed to serving their people and bring to them the desired change in an orderly fashion. They will provide the continuity of Government to move their countries forward, gradually forming the institutions and showing their people what freedom, justice and democracy are. So where are these  L E A D E R S ?

 

 

Autocrats do not breed leaders so, yes a leader can emerge from a crowd but what kind of leader  would he be and what are the chances that such a thing might happen? The winds of change may turn to winds of war, civil war, sectarian war. The decimation of the status quo may be succeeded by acrimony which will make people susceptible to rhetoric of dubious value. Who, in these countries is better at “guiding” people ? the clergy. It is not unlikely that Islamic rhetoric of a “hard” nature sways the masses. Neither is it unlikely that Al Qaida, which must have been taken aback by the speed and intensity of the Arab awakening, steps in to fill the vacuum

.

The so called western powers, primarily the United States, have befriended and supported autocratic, corrupt regimes, in stark contrast to their beliefs in human rights, democracy and such talk, talk, and talk, because they need the energy these countries sit on so they made a convenient arrangement with their rulers. Consequently there are no leaders, only clergy and Al Qaida. So God help these countries and the West. The Oil producers, like Libya, have a vested interest in collaborating with the West. This may make things easier for everybody. Yemen, however, is no energy source and it is a strong hold of Al Qaida which may turn the country to a staging area for Al Qaida operations aimed at the other Arab countries.

 

The West was caught unprepared by the winds of change and would probably have liked that nothing changes. Will it handle wisely the change? What is encouraging is President Obama’s stance. He displayed pragmatic thinking. He upheld the western values and did not attempt to swim against the tide. What remains to be seen is what kind of help the Arab countries will get from the west, because if reactionary forces prevail, not only will the supply of energy be at risk but potentially the existence of Israel as well. Armed conflicts can, therefore, not be precluded.

 

Is it certain that the winds of change can bring change ?

 

Nepotism is the characteristic of every autocratic regime. This means that in every institution that maters and in every functional post in the state apparatus the autocrat has  rooted his own kin, or, friend and ally. Furthermore an economic oligarchy is formed around the king, president, or what have you, which keeps the country going economically. This oligarchy enjoys privileged information support and opportunities not available to the citizenry of the country. It bears some resemblance to the Mafia…it is all for the “family”. When the regimes will change “their friends” will still be there, running in effect the country, exploiting from a position of privilege the change. What is also likely is that they will be in a position to undermine the change which may eventually dishearten people and so after the change plays itself out the oligarchy may retrench and behind new faces continue to “milk the cow” and leave little for the people to enjoy from the change they sought.

 

It remains to be seen how the winds of change will alter the Arab world. Everyone hopes they will bring profound changes for the people that will enable them to enjoy freedom, democracy, egalitarianism, justice, with a peaceful and joyous transition from present to future. May this hope become fact.    

 

 

 

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