US and its allies assist will be using neoliberal economic policies to make sure new Arab governments stay in line.
For decades during the Cold War, the rhetoric of US and Western European imperial power was one of promoting democracy around the world. Indeed, as the Soviet model became attractive to many countries in Asia and Africa (not to mention Latin America) ridding themselves of the yoke of West European colonialism, the US system of apartheid, known as Jim Crow Laws or racial segregation, was less than a shining example for people who just liberated themselves from European racial supremacy that was used to justify colonial rule. As is well known, it is this that prompted the United States to begin the road to end its apartheid system, signaled by the famous legal case of “Brown vs the Board of Education” in 1954, which set the stage to desegregate schools in the American South.
But as US action around the world aimed at eliminating the recently won right to self-determination for the peoples of Asia and Africa under the guise of “Western democracy” fighting “totalitarian communism”, which left a trail of millions murdered by the US and its allies (starting with Korea and moving to the Congo, to Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and from Guatemala to Brazil to Argentina, Uruguay, El Salvador, and Chile, to Southern Africa and the Middle East), the cruel US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade have hardly changed this anti-democratic trend. Yet two important victories are always touted by supporters of US foreign policy on the democratic front: namely, the fall of the Soviet Union and the ensuing “democratisation” of Eastern Europe, and the end of Apartheid in South Africa. The US hopes that its policies in both places will guide it to achieve similar ends for those uprisings of the Arab world that it cannot crush.
Profits and impoverishment
The people of the Eastern bloc wanted to maintain all the economic gains of the Communist period while calling for democratisation. The US, however, sold them the illusion of “Western democracy” as a cover for their massive US-imposed impoverishment and the dismantling of the entire structure of social welfare of which they had been beneficiaries for decades. Thus in a few short years, and through what Naomi Klein has dubbed the “Shock Doctrine”, Russia went from a country which had less than 2 million people living under the international poverty level to one with 74 million people languishing in poverty. Poland and Bulgaria followed suit. As billionaires increased and the margin of profit for US corporations skyrocketed in the former Eastern bloc, with the help of illustrious imperial organisations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the US, under international pressure, moved steadily to conclude a deal to end political apartheid in South Africa.