This is an Arab 1848. But US hegemony is only dented

Tariq Ali writes:

The refusal of the people to kiss or ignore the rod that has chastised them for so many decades has opened a new chapter in the history of the Arab nation. The absurd, if much vaunted, neocon notion that Arabs or Muslims were hostile to democracy has disappeared like parchment in fire.

Those who promoted such ideas appear to the most unhappy: Israel and its lobbyists in Euro-America; the arms industry, hurriedly trying to sell as much while it can (the British prime minister acting as a merchant of death at the Abu Dhabi arms fair); and the beleaguered rulers of Saudi Arabia, wondering whether the disease will spread to their tyrannical kingdom. Until now they have provided refuge to many a despot, but when the time comes where will the royal family seek refuge? They must be aware that their patrons will dump them without ceremony and claim they always favoured democracy.

If there is a comparison to be made with Europe it is 1848, when the revolutionary upheavals left only Britain and Spain untouched – even though Queen Victoria, thinking of the Chartists, feared otherwise. Writing to her besieged nephew on the Belgian throne, she expressing sympathy but wondered whether “we will all be slain in our beds”. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown or bejewelled headgear, and has billions stored in foreign banks.

Like Europeans in 1848 the Arab people are fighting against foreign domination (82% of Egyptians, a recent opinion poll revealed, have a “negative view of the US”); against the violation of their democratic rights; against an elite blinded by its own illegitimate wealth – and in favour of economic justice. This is different from the first wave of Arab nationalism, which was concerned principally with driving the remnants of the British empire out of the region.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

3 thoughts on “This is an Arab 1848. But US hegemony is only dented

  1. Norman

    The question of where they will seek refuge is a good question. The U.S. as well as the other Western countries that have taken advantage of the Arab countries through financial arrangements that benefit the few Arabs along with lining the pockets of the Western plutocracy’s, should be on notice, that the old ways are over. For the Arabs, the ones who have sacrificed all these years, the lessons won’t be lost so as to slide right back into what they just emerged from. For the U.S., what a shame that the elected ones chose the easy way out, “take the money”, instead of seeking the benefits of alternative fuels, they just didn’t learn the lessons from the 70’s. The thinking that the U.S. can turn time back to the 50’s is so ludicrous, it doesn’t even rate consideration. At some point, even Israel will feel the heat, but, as with Qaddafi, will probably shot their own people in a last gasp to cling to power. Might even happen in the U.S. as well.

  2. chris m

    Granted that American bases are still there and it is not clear how all these revolutions/protests/unrests are going to end. Saudi Arabia is still firmly in the US’s orbit. Nevertheless, I believe the American hegemony is more than just “only dented. Whatever replaces those regimes which are currently under the popular protests will most definitely pay more attentions to what the population wants. Their foreign policies will most likely be set in their respective capital rather than in Washington and Tel Aviv. We already have that example: Egypt opened Gaza border and it gave permission for Iranian Warships to pass Suez Canal. As Adam Shatz pointed out “Middle East is changing in spite of American power, not because of it. ….the days of American hegemony in the Muslim East are not over, but for the first time in years, from Ankara to Cairo, from Tunis to Beirut, the outlines of a post-American Middle East can be glimpsed”.

Comments are closed.