Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Domino Theory Redux

One of the benefits of being older is having some historical perspective when observing current events.  This definitely is the case for me while I watch the political and social upheaval in the Middle East and Africa. Seeing the long-term autocratic regimes of Egypt and Libya toppling in favor of grass-roots coalitions, supported by the armed forces, I can't help but wonder whether the same thing might have occurred in Iraq, if we hadn't invaded back in '03.  Food for thought, anyway...
I'm also fascinated by the diplomatic strategy my country is employing with the various governments and their respective opposition groups. When I was in elementary school, and read about the Hungarian Revolution in the 1950s, I wondered why President Eisenhower hadn't helped the Hungarians overthrow their Soviet occupiers. Of course I later understood that such a response would very likely have triggered a nuclear war with the USSR, and world history would have been substantially different! (Thanks, Ike!) Now it appears that our government is successfully influencing these regime changes without overt action, though I have absolutely no clue what is going on behind the scenes...assuming that WikiLeaks doesn't broadcast the details in a few months.
The final revelation here has to do with the theory that social networking media such as FaceBook and Twitter largely facilitated the synergy which knocked over the governments in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, and perhaps others to follow. I called an old friend this afternoon, who is an adept historian, and we ended up talking about FaceBook. My friend mentioned that he will never join FB, as he sees it to be petty and divisive, especially in his academic work environment. We didn't get a chance to fully-explore the topic, but I wonder if my friend would be so resistant to "embracing the FaceBook" if he thought about using it to  further his own activist leanings...(My friend is a union leader and fights for good, instead of evil, just in case you thought I was buddies with the UnaBomber or some other schmuck like that!)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Dave,

    I am so glad we had lunch the day after you posted it--thoughtful as always and right in my "wheelhouse." I'll forward you some articles tomorrow on FACEBOOK tomorrow that I think you'll like!