Imagine a Battle of Lexington leading to a War of Independence that went horribly, horribly wrong. That wouldn't be hard if you could conceive of a leadership that decided to "lead from behind". Sohrab Ahmari, writing in the Wall Street Journal, says that when the old order collapsed an Islamism waiting in the wings came out to fill the vacuum left by a distant Barack Obama. "Good Guys" who were without guns found themselves abandoned by Western governments to bloodthirsty Mustache Petes in the cynical belief that it was easier to make a deal with political Islam or dictators than build a region on new democratic principles.Another perspective comes to a similar conclusion:
This was for some reason regarded as smart.
The Arab Spring, to the extent that the term is not now entirely a misnomer, was understood in its early days as a reiteration of the Prague Spring of 1968. That flowering of Soviet-era constitutional and democratic reform ended up crushed by Kremlin-directed Warsaw Pact tanks, troops and intrigues after a few months. It has taken only a little while longer for the hopes of most of the long-oppressed Arab masses to be broken between the grindstones of authoritarian police-state reaction and Islamist counter-revolutionary terror....
It was perhaps the Arab democrats’ greatest misfortune that their big moment came at a time when it was Obama holding the title that used to be called “the leader of the free world.” Obama’s strategic response to all the revolutionary tumult across the region has been distinguished by colossal hubris, capitulation to the expansionist Khomeinist regime in Tehran, hollow threats and a strange disregard for the growing sense of hopelessness that has descended across the political spectrum in Israel, traditionally the key American ally in the region.