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Tunisia has just entered revolution mode, President booted..

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Mathloom, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. Ari

    Ari Member

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    This sounds like another serious defeat or setback for USA interests in the region. From everything I read, the ousted Tunisian leader was as staunchly aligned with the USA as any other Arab regime. The outgoing president of Tunisia was known as anti-Islamists and even enforced rules like the banning of the hijab in what is basically a majority Muslim nation. I heard a guy on TV saying he was viewed by many Tunisians as an enemy of Islam, and that it was likely an Islamist party would come to power if elections are held.

    My question to Mathloom and others: Is it fair to say that if free elections are held throughout the Middle East, it is more than likely that Islamist would pretty much sweep to power? If so, then it explains why many western powers have little interest in paying more than lip service to spreading democracy in the region. It would probably be stupid of the USA and Europeans to support democracy in the Islamic world since it would direclty conflict with their strategic interests, dont you think?
     
  2. Northside Storm

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    To all the naysayers pondering about the implications of this revolution for American "strategic interests."

    [​IMG]

    How can any people of any land view, with benign eyes, the spread of "American democracy", if at any opportune moment, America sacrifices democratic ideals for the embrace of temporary haven?

    America has a long and sordid history of enforcing tyranny, and abandoning liberty whenever it has seen fit.

    It is why nobody but political infants would believe that America is financing the world's largest military for the interests of democracy, or that disastrous expeditions into foreign lands are for the preservation of liberty.

    If America wishes to be seen as the true guardian of democracy, as it aspires to be, then well, what is it waiting for?

    Here is a great opportunity. A nation where the people have grown tired of police state politics that squelches liberty at every turn, and poisons discourse has finally decided that enough is enough. If America truly respects the wishes of the people, it will do well enough to leave this alone or to (god forbid) support it.

    Do not forget that nations like China and Russia are waiting with glee for every time America slips up and becomes more and more like them. Al-Queda eagerly waits for any sign of American intervention into yet another political movement in the Middle East, which will give them another 50 years of propaganda, and fresh waves of recruits. We owe it to the citizens of Tunisia-and indeed ourselves-to ensure that this revolution is not impeded.
     
  3. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    [​IMG]
     
  4. Northside Storm

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    sometimes a soapbox is just what you need.

    Tell me what you know about dreamin’ dreamin’
     
  5. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    The answer to this depends heavily on the definition of "free" elections.

    If they are fair and free elections, then no, no Islamist has even the most remote chance of getting elected today except maybe in Yemen.

    If they are biased with the help of rich elitist Middle Easterners, then yes. This is the most likely scenario. The 'Arab world' problem is that the richest are the Islamists and the least educated and most desperate form the majority. Just llike the rest of the world, this is the most likely scenario, that the elections will favor the more wealthy members of society.

    This is why it was so effective in Ahmedinejjad's first election that he offered something like $50 per month to all youth between certain ages if he became president. This was essentially a bribe with him knowing full well that there are a buttload of Iranians in that age range who are desperate for $50 a month. They would have voted for the devil for $30.

    I also have to repeat what I said earlier. With revolution, there is always a pendulum effect. If you ban an Islamic symbol (hijab) and allow that bitterness to simmer for a decade, the without a doubt you are increasing the chance of an extremist Muslim revolutionary swing.

    IMO the whole point of freedom is not just to cater to the selfish interests of human beings. It just happens that when you take freedom away, you lose stability in certain pockets of the state and you destroy forward-thinking capabilities in favor of stressing about TODAY. This is precisely why the Middle East (excluding Iran and Israel) is so far behind on technology, research and development. Because everyone is worried about their freedoms and their development, rather than having the piece of mind to reach for the stars.

    The problem with US policy is, as Northside Storm said, it's selective. It doesn't show a consistent support for democracy. Take Iran as an example. The issue is not nuclear weapons OR rogue government. The issue is nuclear weapons AND rogue government together. To take things apart, you can do one of two things: get rid of the rogue government OR get rid of the nuke capabilities. Now a logical person would think that, if the US is truly interested in democracy and peace and the well-being of Middle Easterners, they would tailor their strategy to somehow removing the government. But instead, the US has taken the route of enforcing sanctions - the ill effects of which ONLY the non-rich (and hence non-islamic) people suffer from. The nuclear program is not facing any difficulties and the mullahs are as rich as they have ever been. Who has taken the hit?

    That is precisely why Iranians align themselves with Europeans now. Because the US is leading the fight that is making them poorer, while the Europeans are seen as just followers in the fight. This is also why they don't believe in American democracy and, like much of the Middle East, consider the leaders of Afghanistan and Iraq to be the biggest puppets in the world. If you're an Iranian, how can you trust the US? It's hanging on by a thread. That thread will dissapear at a specific point in the future:

    When Iran undergoes revolution and becomes a stable, free, democratic state and continues to pursue nuclear ambitions and the US still cracks down on them. If this happens while Israel maintains its stock of undeclared nuclear weapons, the US will effectively trigger dangerous shifts of sentiment in the region. It will show beyond a doubt that the US is Israel-only, and that Israel's nukes are not for Iran but rather for the Arab states.
     
  6. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Member

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    So, lets say that a large number of votes in Tunisia (maybe the majority, maybe not quite) would support candidates from a religiously-oriented party (the party could be "extremist" to some degree, not sure exactly what degree it is), what do you propose that the U.S. does about it?

    Going in with the military didn't exactly work to make voters support American-friendly candidates who support secular government (ironically, some Republicans are fighting tooth and nail against the secularization of government in the U.S., but that'a another discussion) in Iraq and Afghanistan. People who support, say, Al Sadr, still supports him. At some point, as a foreign power, you can voice your support for certain values, or maybe even provide other more tangible forms of aids to political parties or even dictators who agree with you, but in the end, there's only so much you can do if the population have different value than yours. You just gotta deal with people and domestic politics of countries as they are, not as you'd like them to be.
     
  7. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    This is a great point except that I would add there is no harm in providing vehicles to those whose voices are being silenced.

    So you don't comment on the destination, or who the driver should be, but maybe you provide a car to the portion of the population that is being denied a car.

    A more relevant example is, for example, when the Iranian government shut down twitter during the elections, I see no harm in external parties helping to bring twitter back online in Iran (if that's at all possible). Because twitter was just the vehicle.

    It's obviously very difficult to remove your own bias from the situation, but there are definitely things you can do that are impartial and helpful to ensuring a fair outcome (rather than what you believe to be the right outcome).
     
  8. glynch

    glynch Member

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  9. YallMean

    YallMean Member

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    Tunisia provides another example why democracy alone is not enough. You need other elements like the freedom of the press, separation religion and state, and most importantly a truly independent court system to check and balance executive powers. Looks like Tunisia is no different from most other developing countries: far behind in those departments. Without those elements, voice of everyone could be easily exploited, see Hitler's Nazi regime, and Sadam's Iraq. However, those elements must be developed within. Maybe this is a chasm the developed world will have to accept.
     
  10. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Member

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    While I would expect Islamist parties to take a larger role in a democratic government, I don't foresee a hardcore Islamic takeover in Tunisia. From what little I know of it, it seems too westernized for something like that.
     
  11. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    This post deserves no other reply than:

    I reported it.
     
  12. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!
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    Saudi Arabia is at the heart of Islamism, Mathloom should post that documentary again from their support of that mosque in Great Britain....that was supported by the radical leadership in Saudi Arabia.

    DD
     
  13. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Member

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    I'd like to know how many posters in this thread have actually been to one of the two Nisias.
     
  14. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    It's not from the leadership in Saudi Arabia if by leadership you mean the ruling family aka government.

    What does you post have to do with this thread?
     
  15. Daedalus

    Daedalus Member

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    Yes, I've actually ridden a motorcycle from Tunisia to Nigeria.
     
  16. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!
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    No, I mean it is from the ruling Imams in Saudi Arabia that is right at the heart of the Islamism.

    Let's hope Tunisia gets a freely elected government that protects all it's people....

    DD
     
  17. glynch

    glynch Member

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    Great post..So glad to see somebody gets it.
     
  18. glynch

    glynch Member

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    So are you one of the babies who is always reporting?

    You did support the invasion of Iraq so it is posting the turth.
     
  19. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    Gotcha, there are no ruling Imams though. Imam means mosque leader.

    Agreed
     
  20. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Member
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    1 person likes this.

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