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Out of the Desert

2013-01-14 13:24:56.76272-08 by petronius 0 comments

Independent journalist Michael Totten is an excellent source on what's happening in the Middle East, since he actually goes out there and talks to people about what they're thinking. In this new piece he answers, at least partially, a question I have long had: if everything works out great with the Arab Spring, what would a democratic, tolerant Middle East look like? He goes to Morocco, which survived many years of repression to end up with a monarch who voluntarily surrendered much of his power and kickstarted a liberal reawakening of his country. What you end up with is freer than most Islamic countries, but still conservative enough to not trigger the crazies. For example, Totten calls their press "95% free".

It is interesting to try and figure out why it works here and not elsewhere. One thing is that while they were repressed by the old king he didn't destroy all other institutions of civil government. Mubarek and Quadaffi and Saddam made sure that there were no alternatives to their misrule, which guarantees a disaster after they disappear. I hope for the best, but fear for the worst over there.

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