Saturday, February 26, 2011

Asking the wrong question

The New York Times debates Why didn't the US foresee the Arab revolts?

Why would this fact be a surprise? Mubarak, Ben Ali and Gaddafi failed to foresee the same revolts despite committing far greater resources to the task.

How do we even know if the premise of the question is correct? I am not on the President's reading list for Top Secret intelligence and neither is the New York Times. If the intelligence services had been predicting the collapse of these miserable dictatorships I would hope that they would keep it to themselves.

All six of the 'experts' asked to comment on the question assume that its premise must be correct and that had the US predicted the revolts they should have somehow acted to prevent them.

That was certainly the old model of US foreign policy: Propping up dictators in the name of 'stability'.

As the past four weeks proved, it didn't work.


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