The reaction in the United States to the wave of anti-American protests in the Middle East has been anything but self-critical. One of the two most widespread explanations for what happened is that the U.S. did everything right supporting the Arab Spring, but “counterrevolutionary elements,” still active in Libya or Egypt (countries where protests were most violent), are resisting “change.”
The other explanation is that president Obama has been doing “too little too late” supporting the de facto Islamist revolutions and should undo this fault of his by giving even more military assistance to the Syrian rebels. (This view is represented by several conservative columnists in the Washington Post and the New York Times.) And, of course, there is no talk about listening to Russia’s view on the matter, which continues to be dismissed as “outdated” or “reactionary.”
Meanwhile, both aforementioned explanations do not hold water. If the attacks were organized by the “enemies of revolutions” or by a “small terrorist group with links to al-Qaeda” (Hillary Clinton’s version of events in the first hours after the attack that killed the American ambassador in Tripoli), then why were the protests so strong and violent, literally enflaming the area from Morocco to Pakistan?
And why did the “revolutionary” governments turn a blind eye to them? It is known that the US is particularly angry at the passivity of the newly elected Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. But how can one expect people brought to power by Islamist revolutions quell an Islamist protest? And the truth is that the Arab Spring’s revolutions were primarily Islamist - democratic slogans were a “byproduct” of Islamists’ aspirations. This is what Russian representatives have been saying all along - to no avail.
The second view, calling on Obama to be even more “proactive” in his support for Syrian rebels, achieving a spectacular military victory instead of “leading from behind,” as it was the case in Libya, is even more absurd. Being more active in bringing to power - whom? The same Islamist militias which are now in fact ruling Syria?
More questions are popping up here: Shouldn’t the doctor cure himself first? And isn’t it the time for Americans to recalibrate its focus- for once in recent history?