Compare and contrast:
French administrative reform in Syria (which at best makes them more efficient killers) and the shrewd Hosni Mubarak finally permitting real multi-party elections in Egypt without his head ending up on a plate.
In view of people-power showing it's face in Lebanon and a delayed aid check to Cairo from Washington a great deal is happening. Contract that with the "humanist" peace loving approach of nipping at the edges without a clear view, plan, or history of reliability.
Waves were also felt in a certain Arab elsewhere as well. Will it sink in with the western left though? I think it will.
I had an interesting exchange with Josh from the blog "Talking Points Memo" on his view of the Syria-Lebanon matter, and the way the US' figures into it.
On his take on anyone in the US celebrating, I told him:
It has been "on the radar" in Washington since before Clinton. The difference with Bush is that he's been very consistent in his dealings with the Lebanese and Syrians.
That consistency provided for a atmosphere and circumstances for the Independance movement to feel comfortable that this is the right time to take bolder political steps.
They feel that resistance on the part of the Syrians run a very good chance of meeting with threats of some American gunboat diplomacy as an possible consequence. It would clearly not be possible without the US being of clear voice and not comprimising one bit. Otherwise the fear is that realpolitik of convenience would kick in.
He mentioned this:
"My curiosity in this case is how much this is geopolitical versus a democracy development. In self-determination terms the two overlap certainly. But the geopolitics explanation (our hard tilt vs. Syria) makes sense to me while the democracy explanation from Jumblatt in the Post seemed more questionable."
He seemed satisfied by my reply:
Walid Jumblatt is a democratic socialist who arrived at his view within the framework of the tribalism of the civil war. His notion of entity relations is better for Lebanon and is specific to it than anything anyone could really gin up. Basically, when we talk about disposing of the Syrian occupation and influence, we are talking about allowing a democracy that already wants to be there and once was there, to flourish again.
In other words: it is ENTIRELY about democracy.
Which is also to say that all of this is very Arab. Anyone left who think that government by concencus will not work in the Arab world, or is a bigot and believes that it's over their heads needs to put their protest sign and their bong down. The dominos are falling. Plink. Plink. Plink.