April 8, 2011
America Can't Shape Events in the Mideast
Fred Kaplan, Slate
Once the Soviet Union crumbled, so did this entire system. If the dissolution had not happened, it is hard to imagine that these revolts would have been allowed to get started, much less get out of hand. Within the Cold War matrix, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and the rest would be seen—again in the superpowers' eyes—as chess pieces on the great game board, vital chips in the measure of the balance of power. A challenge to, say, President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt would be taken (perhaps correctly, perhaps not) as a proxy war for that chip—and so, in the interests of a stable balance, the challenge would be co-opted or crushed well before it grew too serious. (For an illustration of this calculation at work, on a small but drastic scale, see the Saudi tanks rolling into...
TAGGED: Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Soviet Union, Egypt