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Watching the news it just feels like 1989 all over again - old dictatorships falling left and right to popular revolutions. I assume it'll keep picking up steam after Libya falls to pieces. Maybe even spread to Central Asia. So whats the big revolution that caps this off?

Iran? Saudi Arabia? China? Curious to see where people here see this going.
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Koldfoot wrote:

I think that in 20 years, historians will look back upon the US liberation of Iraq as the starting point in the history of middle eastern democracies.


Correlation does not equal causation.

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Octavian wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:

I think that in 20 years, historians will look back upon the US liberation of Iraq as the starting point in the history of middle eastern democracies.


Correlation does not equal causation.



In fact, there's not even really great correlation.
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"I think in 20 years, historians will look back at Obama's speech in Cairo as the starting point in the history of middle eastern democracies" is about equally as valid a conclusion to come up with (ie, not a particularly valid one at all).

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I'd credit Reagan with speeding up the inevitable by making the Soviet Union try to keep up with insane levels of defense spending.

Was speeding up the inevitable worth what he did to the national debt?

The very very very best Bush could hope for is that someone somewhere somehow thinks he sped up the inevitable. His link is far more tenuous. The same follow up question applies, however.

-MMM

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dtolman wrote:
Watching the news it just feels like 1989 all over again - old dictatorships falling left and right to popular revolutions. I assume it'll keep picking up steam after Libya falls to pieces. Maybe even spread to Central Asia. So whats the big revolution that caps this off?

Iran? Saudi Arabia? China? Curious to see where people here see this going.


The Chinese government is too strong. I definitely see Iran falling though. The 2009 protests were very significant.

One thing about Persian culture that led to the 1979 overthrow was that every time a civilian was murdered by the Shah's security forces, his family entered a 40 day mourning period. On day 40, relatives would break silence and scream and cry through the streets, prompting more mass killings. Eventually the army defected after killing too many of its own people.

Check out the book Shah of Shahs and it shows you why a radical Islamic government didn't seem so bad compared to what they had before it.
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The Chinese dictatorship will definitely survive this time. 300 activists gathered in Beijing yesterday, and the same second, there were just as many policemen. It's a highly advanced and effective administration. They're learning the lessons from the revolutions now underway. They will not tolerate crowds of any kind. The economy is at full speed. The discontent are those evicted from their farmland and suffering from corrupt local government, and those are provinces away from the big cities and don't use Internet a lot. I give it 20 more years.

The more generic dictatorships all over Africa/Asia though ... have it coming.

I would love to see the emergent democracies export their democracy devil

And with EU blocked by the Italian fascists, I wish at least Sweden could be a bit vocal and supportive. But we'll have to wait to 2014 for that arrrh
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Koldfoot wrote:
Inevitable? The fall of the Soviet Union was by no means inevitable. And Star Wars is a red herring. Reagan defeated the SU by standing firm (with Thatcher) when every other pansy European and previous American President rolled over and wet themselves whenever the Soviets farted.
The economy had stagnated for decades and it was obvious to the average Russian through the goods they could get on the black market that their system was shit compared to the world outside. Couple that with Gorbachev and his reforms and crediting Reagan for it all comes across as a bit ... reaganist.
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Koldfoot wrote:
Question. Who was most responsible for the fall of the Soviet Union? Reagan? Gorbachev? Someone else?


Internal economic and social issues within the USSR. There's a few books on this topic. Reagan getting credit is serious revisionist history, like saying Cortes easily defeated the Aztec Empire due to the awesomeness of Cortes and the fact that Cortes smiled a lot and loved Spain more than any other Spanish general had ever loved Spain.
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Koldfoot wrote:
Octavian wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:

I think that in 20 years, historians will look back upon the US liberation of Iraq as the starting point in the history of middle eastern democracies.


Correlation does not equal causation.

At this point there is nothing to correlate, nor to credit. Still, it would annoy the hell out of you to give Bush any credit, wouldn't it?

Question. Who was most responsible for the fall of the Soviet Union? Reagan? Gorbachev? Someone else?

Skipping ahead:

And why do you refuse to give Reagan the credit he so clearly deserves?


I like quite a bit of what Reagan did. Among many things, I believe his position towards Soviet Union was clear-headed and correct one. He also reacted extremely well to the events and was generally a right man in a right job at the time.

That said - it is beyond ridiculous to claim that he somehow caused the dawnfall of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev facilitated it and made it *way* less bloody then it could have been but even he (and he has much more to do with it then Reagan) did not cause it. Russia simply did not have resources to maintain control over its possessions. Reagan no more brought down the Soviet Empire then FDR brought down the British Empire.
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Bojan Ramadanovic
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Koldfoot wrote:
Fact of the matter is that the western liberal political parties were lined up against Reagan in support of the Soviet Union. Huge crowds in Germany, and England, as I specifically recall, and probably France and Sweden, protested against Reagan and his plan to put missiles on European soil .

Reagan stood firm on the issue.

Reagan stood firm at the summit in Iceland when the whole world was hysterically calling him cowboy and the biggest threat to world peace, because he was portrayed as antagonizing the Soviets.

American democrats sent delegations to Nicaragua and communist groups in central America to assure them Reagan was all bark and no bite, because they (the pansies that they were) were scared shitless that the tinhorn dictators in central america wouldn't like us.

Leftists around the world were openly protesting Reagan if they weren't supporting the Soviets overtly. Reagan's leadership caused the Soviet Union to fall, despite their efforts. Had the leftists in the west had their way, the Soviet Union would have never fallen. The leadership there would not have allowed a collapse without going to war to seize more capital and plunder the west to sustain their failed system.


All you are saying about the left wing parties in the west is correct and yet Reagan still did not bring down Soviet Union. Western Europe - pinko lefty as they may have been - could not and would not finance the existence of the Soviet Empire in Poland and elsewhere and even Soviet leaders were not stupid enough to think that they can finance an empire out of fresh conquest - that idea was known to be factually wrong at least since Napoleon.

One wishes that US sent Reagan and not FDR to Yalta in 1945 because if they did - perhaps half a Europe would not have lost 50 years - but in 1989 game was up one way or another.
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It's an interesting time in a part of the world I don't really understand.

One possible end game in this is a free Palestine, mostly because Egypt has tacitly supported Israel by having a closed border with Palestine, I'm not sure what/how much relevance other arabic countries revolutions might have on Palestine though.

Saudia Arabians have demonstrations on the 25th march iirc, UAE also have some coming up in March.
Hopefully Libya will sort itself out assuming the stories coming out from there are true.

I can see the possibility of almost every north african/arabian country having democracy. It'll be interesting to see what happens with the military in Egypt, and whether that turns out to be a military coup with another dictatorship. I think possibly more than Tunisia, other places are looking to Egypt, and if they succeed in establishing democracy there, then it'll embolden other arabic countries to strive for the same.



 
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I think the oil-rich states in the middle-east will react similarly to Libya. Because they can afford to.

The cold-war thugs that were being propped up by basically NATO, are finding, that now that their benefactors don't have the means/desire to help them maintain their grip on their second-tier-strategic-importance countries any longer, they're one gentle shove away from being deposed.

Edit: endgame? Almost impossible to predict, I'd say. We live in interesting times.
 
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Daniel Eig
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Koldfoot wrote:
'89 was a lot different. Then there was the collapse of a Russia which lead to a chain reaction amongst subservient states most of which had some history of democracy.

What we are seeing now is a chain reaction of states not related with a common oppressor which is losing it's grip, and do not have a strong tradition nor history of democracy.


Not to quibble, but you have that reversed. There was a collapse of the subservient states, followed years later by the USSR itself splintering. And the history of democracy was generations in the past... but they did have a history of rule of law (or "law" if you're cynical) and shared institutions.

Also - I do see a common culture here - a governing culture of nepotism, autocracy, and corruption whitewashed by lip service to Islamic rule (or Democratic rule). Vast underclasses burdened by overeducation and underemployment. Nations held together by fear and fatalism. The parallels just jump out at me.

This has been brewing for a long time.
 
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