Rage in the Islamic World

 Wilding Youths in Egypt

 Will it reverberate in the Presidential Election?

When I woke up this morning and turned on the news, everywhere I went the talk was about football and the political firestorms in the Middle East, accompanied by shocking images of raging mobs that seemed intent on burning down what little remains of their impoverished countries.  The commentary from TV talking heads intended to explain these horrific events are by turns amusing, distressing, surprising and frightening. But they are rarely enlightening.

While there is much reliable commentary from visiting experts on both MSNBC and CNN, alas most voters will get their information elsewhere.  Millions get their information from propaganda mills like Fox News, which studies show is the dumbest demographic in America; or they turn to clueless verbal arsonists like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Inghram, Glen Beck, et al.  But there is foolishness even on MSNBC.

Morning Joe,  perhaps the most popular show on the network, is a forum where one finds wisdom and foolishness working in tandem.  The glib Joe Scarborough is like the proverbial cow that gives a good bucket of milk then kicks it over.  Among commentators on the right he is like an eagle among crows, but that’s a very low standard. Hence when he says something smart it is quickly followed by some asinine comment.

Thus when he is talking about the mess Mitt’s campaign is in because he insists upon being the Invisible Man, and won’t let us see where he stands on the critical issues, he’s the smart Joe.  But when he tells us that he doesn’t believe that the rage we are witnessing all over the Muslim world was really sparked by a blasphemous film about the prophet Muhammad, but the rioters are just using it as an excuse for their destructive behavior and attacks on US interests, then attempts to blame President Obama for it – he becomes Joe The Plumber.

The problems in the Middle East are long in the making, centuries in some cases, and they vary in character depending upon the countries involved.  The truth is that there is nothing any American President can do to control the course of events in the contemporary Islamic world.  The French and the British know this from experience, Americans are learning the hard way.

Hence the Republican claim that the present eruptions are the result of President Obama’s mishandling of the mass uprisings in the Arab Spring is spurious nonsense. The choice for any American president confronted with a popular uprising anywhere in the world is whether to practice what we preach regarding the virtues of democracy and support the popular movement, or lose all credibility with freedom loving peoples by supporting murderous autocrats who rule by police state tactics.

When we consider what John McCain and Mitt Romney has had to say about the Middle East region, with McCain ready to wage war everywhere and Romney anywhere, it doesn’t take a foreign policy wonk to conclude that we would be in perpetual warfare all over the Muslim world.

Hence we should view what these jokers say about the present eruptions in the Middle-East with extreme suspicion…if not `horror.  When future historians look back on this era, I am certain that will agree with me: Barack Obama has handled the complex combustible events in the Middle East with Solomonic wisdom.  That’s why he is hated by right-wing warmongers, here and in Israel.


Playthell Benjamin

Harlem New York

Swptember 17, 2012

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