Chaos: The new ‘status quo’

...As Oskar Svadkovsky pointed out to me, the United States could no more have saved Mubarak than President Nicolas Sarkozy could have saved the former Tunisian dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, whom the French government was eager to see retain power even as mass protests erupted in Tunisia. By promulgating the notion that the Obama administration threw Mubarak "under the bus," Kramer was inadvertently echoing the thoughts and intellectual legacy of a scholar whom he rightly took to task in his book "Ivory Towers on Sand": Edward Said.

The writings of Said - especially his best-known book, "Orientalism" - have unfortunately disseminated a patronizing view that in the Arab world, responsibility both for what goes wrong and for setting things right rests on the shoulders of Western powers.

What led to Mubarak's resignation in Egypt was not that the U.S. government had somehow abandoned him, but rather that the military, feeling the heat of mass protests, carried out a de facto coup. The same is true of Ben Ali in Tunisia, although there the military has now chosen to withdraw from politics....

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Chaos: The new ‘status quo’

...As Oskar Svadkovsky pointed out to me, the United States could no more have saved Mubarak than President Nicolas Sarkozy could have saved the former Tunisian dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, whom the French government was eager to see retain power even as mass protests erupted in Tunisia. By promulgating the notion that the Obama administration threw Mubarak "under the bus," Kramer was inadvertently echoing the thoughts and intellectual legacy of a scholar whom he rightly took to task in his book "Ivory Towers on Sand": Edward Said.

The writings of Said - especially his best-known book, "Orientalism" - have unfortunately disseminated a patronizing view that in the Arab world, responsibility both for what goes wrong and for setting things right rests on the shoulders of Western powers.

What led to Mubarak's resignation in Egypt was not that the U.S. government had somehow abandoned him, but rather that the military, feeling the heat of mass protests, carried out a de facto coup. The same is true of Ben Ali in Tunisia, although there the military has now chosen to withdraw from politics....

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