At the pro-democracy demonstrations on the streets of Cairo and elsewhere, references to the United States have been conspicuously absent, a sign of what some analysts are already calling a "post-American Middle East" of diminished U.S. influence and far greater uncertainty about America's role.
For just as burning flags are not part of the current repertoire, neither are demonstrators carrying around models of the Statue of Liberty, as Chinese activists brought to Tiananmen Square in 1989. Middle East activists say they avoid references to the United States as a political role model for fear of alienating potential supporters, said Toujan Faisal, a veteran democracy campaigner in Jordan who has been advising young protesters in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
"I don't think America appeals to the younger generation," she said. "I'm cautious not to present them with the American example because there's a negative attitude to America, a disappointment."
No one yet knows what kind of Middle East will emerge from Cairo's embattled streets: a newly democratic one, an increasingly radicalized one, or perhaps one in which authoritarian regimes tighten their grip. Events in Cairo are unfolding too rapidly to predict, but one possible outcome could be a more visibly anti-American drift.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Disappointment with America
This ain't good (but it's not really surprising either):