Well, as “The Arab Spring” extends itself into October, we see just how well it’s turning out. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is claiming more and more power, they’re making more and more aggressive noises towards Israel, and cracking down brutally on their Coptic Christians. And in Libya, they’ve just announced that they’re going to be implementing Shariah law in the wake of the death of Muamar K-Daffy.
Gosh, ain’t things just going swimmingly?
It makes me think that those who rejoiced and blindly embraced the “Arab Spring” never listened to Bill Cosby. More specifically, his “Bill Cosby Fights Back” routine from his Vegas show.
You should never challenge “worse.” Don’t ever say, “Things couldn’t get worse.” Worse is rough … I was down to my last two hundred dollars. I mean, not to my name, but I lost all I could sign for. And I said, “I’m gonna win something! It can’t get worse!”
I went over to the roulette wheel. And got two hundred dollars’ worth of quarter chips. Covered the table–I mean, covered the table! Red and black, even up. I’m going to win something before I go to sleep. And the guy spun the ball and it fell on the floor.
Now, I’m not saying that Mubarak and K-Daffy were good guys. They were both dictators who kept their people oppressed. And K-Daffy was even worse — he’d spent decades supporting and propagating terrorism around the world. But in the big picture, they were actually stabilizing influences on the region. K-Daffy wasn’t just contained, he’d been tamed. After the US invaded Iraq, he’d come clean and started flying straight and stopped being a rogue state that threatened other nations.
That’s not to defend them, but to bring up a point: when both dictators’ regimes were threatened, the Obama administration — and a lot of other folks — cheered and piled on, wanting to be seen as opposing the dictators. And there’s nothing overtly wrong with that.
But what they did — where they failed to observe the Cosby Doctrine — was they didn’t look beyond getting rid of the dictator. They didn’t ask themselves the most important question: will this make things better? As bad as these dictators are, are we saying that any change would be an improvement?
In brief, they said “things can’t get worse.”
And worse said “oh, yeah?” Next thing you know, Coptic Christians in Egypt are getting run over by tanks and Libyans are looking at each other and saying “Shariah law? Who the hell wanted that?”
Some of us actually foresaw this possibility. Some of us said “hang on, before we go all in with the rebels, we ought to know a bit more about them, what they want. Let’s at least have an idea that this change will actually make things better. before we commit ourselves. Yeah, these dictators are bad, but are we actually going to help make things better?”
Naturally, we were accused of being racist haters who just wanted to side with the dictators. And now we’re facing situations that no one — absolutely no one — but us racist haters could have foreseen.
It’s pretty much too late in Egypt and Libya. But before the next revolution kicks in (my hunch says Syria, but I ain’t betting on it), we ought to take a good look at the rebels before we commit. In Syria’s case, Bashar Assad (“The Dorktator,” as Meryl Yourish dubbed him) is pretty much at least as bad as K-Daffy was at his worst, so the standard’s a bit lower, but I can still think of plenty of ways that his downfall could make the situation worse.