Democratic movements are trying to change the power structure and the shape of government in the Arab world.
Will the US do the right thing and support these movements for change or, instead, will the US continue to back the dictatorships as it has in past and continues to do in the present? As in 1953 in Guatemala when the US opposed Arbenz and Iran when the US opposed Mossadeq and supported the Shah’s dictatorship, as in Chile in 1973 when the US opposed Allende and supported the dictator Pinochet, as in Vietnam, as in the 1980s when the US supported the brutal regime in Salvador, as in the past when the US supportedf Suharto in Indonesia against the popular revolution in East Timor and the US support of Marcos or the US support of the Somoza family in Nicaragua?
As illustrated in Oliver Stone’s new film, South of the Border, democratic change is occurring in South America in spite of past US support for dictators. Hugo Chavez, Eban Morales, and many other new leaders are doing the bidding of the people, not of the corporate oligarchy. It’s called socialism or a variant of socialism. And that is a dirty word in the US were democracy equals Capitalism even though Capitalism has nothing to do with democracy per se and, in fact, modern corporations are like little dictatorial fifedoms now backed by the Supreme Court as being citizens where it is one dollar one vote instead of one person one vote.
The tumult in the Arab world is a good thing. The call for change is being made by the educated middle classes not under control of fundamentalists. It will be interesting to watch how the US reacts especially since many calls for change will be by people who are not afraid to be called socialists. Will the US react, as in the past, by supporting the status quo and the dictators in order to protect “our oil” and the interests of our wealthy plutocrats?