Former German FM: “The Bright Hope of a New Middle East Has Vanished”

March 6, 2013 1:59 pm 3 comments

Anti-government demonstrations during the 2010–2011 Tunisian uprising.

Germany’s former Foreign Minister sounded a sobering note on the Arab Spring in a recent opinion piece posted to the Project Syndicate website.

Joschka Fischer writes: “Given Syria’s bloody civil war, the rise to power of Islamist forces through free elections, the ever-deepening political and economic crises in Egypt and Tunisia, increasing instability in Iraq, uncertainty about the future of Jordan and Lebanon, and the threat of war over Iran’s nuclear program, the bright hope of a new Middle East has vanished.”

Fischer, who served as Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister in Gerhard Shroder’s government from 1998-2005 and currently serves on the board of the Arab Democracy Foundation, while not outright critical of the international community’s initial rush to anoint the revolutions of 2011 a success, more or less pointed to history as a warning that many failed to heed: “All of us tend to make the same mistake repeatedly: we think at the beginning of a revolution that freedom and justice have prevailed over dictatorship and cruelty. But history teaches us that what follows is usually nothing good.”

Fischer mostly expresses his concern with the West’s tunnel vision and its inability to evaluate the uprisings with anything beyond a dichotomous approach of good versus bad. “A revolution not only overthrows a repressive regime; it also destroys the old order, paving the way for a mostly brutal, if not bloody, fight for power,” he writes. “Indeed, exceptions to this pattern are rare: South Africa is one, owing to the genius of one of the century’s most outstanding statesmen, Nelson Mandela. The alternative option can be observed in Zimbabwe.”

Fischer dismisses the correlation between the Arab Spring and a post-communist Eastern Europe, saying it is “not an appropriate reference point” as nearly all of these [former communist] countries had a very clear idea about what they wanted: democracy, freedom, a market economy, and protection from the return of the Russian empire.”

Of course the most notable failure of the Arab Spring can perhaps be witnessed in Syria, a country Fischer fears will not only be reduced to a host of violent sectarian conflicts for years to come, but also a country whose ” disintegration could further balkanize the Middle East, potentially unleashing new violence. Frontline states like Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan will not manage to remain aloof from a disintegrating Syria.”

To conclude Fischer doesn’t outright reject the possibility that progress can be made, but the chances are slim, the light dim, and time a hindrance rather than a help. “Of course, even in the face of this misery, we should not lose hope in agreements reached by diplomatic means; but, realistically, the chances are dwindling every day,” he says, adding, “a new and stable order will take a long time to establish.”

3 Comments

  • another case of not studying history, therefore repeating it.

    sigh…I taught history at the high school level…most of the kids thought it was soooooooooo boreing, cuz it didn’t speak to them, about them…when, in reality, that’s exactly what history (the ‘story’ of mankind) does.

    ebeal

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    For God’s Sake what on earth did they think would happen? Hello. This is the Arab world.

  • I agree and so as is usually the case – all eyes will soon focus back to the collective Jew ie Israel.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.