By Rami G. Khouri
The Daily Star, Lebanon
Well, reviewing events in Syria this week, I guess the unipolar world, the looming American century, and the end of history that were simultaneously announced by assorted American chauvinists and crackpots at the end of the Cold War around 1990 can be discarded for now. The continuing killings in Syria, and the energized global diplomacy that is seeking to wind the down or evict President Bashar Assad and his family from power, or both, should be seen as two distinct dynamics that are converging for a moment.
One dynamic is the imminent end of Arab police states and personalized family rule that are being rejected by Arab populations across the region in a spectacular series of uprisings and revolutions. This process includes both removing dictators and then reconfiguring governance systems along new lines to be shaped by Arab citizens themselves. In this dynamic, the Assad family enterprise is on its way out and Syria will soon find itself resuming its historical role and development under more normal circumstances.
The second, and totally separate, dynamic is the assertion of power by a series of global and regional actors – notably Russia, China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran – that is a logical correction to two recent realities, a sort of correction of history, rather than its end.
First was the misuse of political and diplomatic power in the Middle East by the American-led group of Western countries that has long backed Arab dictators, acted with criminal audacity in waging war in Iraq and leaving it in a shambles today, applied maximum hypocrisy in its dealings with the nuclear issue in Iran, and caved in consistently and shamelessly to Israeli colonialism. Local and global powers alike are now pushing back against the wreckage of American-led policies.
Second is that as the U.S. and other Western powers abdicate some of their roles in the Middle East and withdraw partially and gradually, the laws of physics dictate that others will step in to redress the imbalances and fill the void emerging from this retreat.
So as Russia, China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran step up their direct involvement in Syria-centered regional diplomacy, we are also likely to see fresh activism by other players. Notice, for example, how the Libyan and Tunisian governments formally recognized the Syrian National Council as the representative of the Syrian people, which opens the door for others to do the same and heap new pressure on the Assad regime.
Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2012/Feb-08/162546-arab-history-has-been-correcting-itself.ashx#ixzz1lyMKTqTp
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)