Calling the Mideast a “powder keg” is to pervert the meaning of the term. “Powder keg,” after all, usually refers to an explosive situation that hasn’t yet exploded.
The term comes too late for the Mideast, some of which is already ablaze at the start of what looks to be a combustible summer. Syria is in ruin and spreading its ills, Iran is fueling the fires everywhere it can, and Egypt is a monster-sized pressure cooker threatening to explode.
The reality on the ground is quite a contrast to the hopeful headlines this week after the
latest round of diplomacy by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. News sites blared with words such as “progress” and “upbeat” and “optimism.”
Of course, in that neighborhood optimism is a slight chance of a new start to talks about peace – which is all Mr. Kerry comes bearing.
We wish him Godspeed, naturally. But we also must be realistic.
His tidings are of mere talk of talks, and on only one of the Mideast’s flashpoints, the so-called “Palestinian issue.” Granted, it’s the major flashpoint. But you know you’ve got problems when the most hopeful signs coming out of the Mideast revolve around the Palestinian issue – the most intractable, interminable, insidious problem in the most problematic place in the world.
“As anyone not named John Kerry could tell you, the conditions on the ground aren’t exactly optimal for achieving a lasting peace,” writes DailyCaller.com senior editor Jaime Weinstein.
Egypt is in near-chaos, with millions of Egyptians taking to the streets to demand the ouster of radical Muslim President Mohammed Morsi a year after his taking office.
Morsi, once head of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood faction in Eygpt, has lost control of the country. In fact, protesters saw it as a hopeful sign that the Egyptian army gave the government and the protesters two days to end the standoff; many Egyptians concluded from that that the army was on their side and might stage a coup to remove Morsi.
You can see why they think that:
“If the demands of the people are not met within this period,” the army said ominously – or promisingly – “it will be incumbent upon us to announce a road map for the future and oversee measures to implement it.”
We’ve never experienced a coup before, but that has all the earmarks of one.
Honestly, it might be the best thing anyway for Egypt and the U.S., particularly if it’s relatively bloodless. Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood minions are bad news. They wield radical Islam in one hand and a cudgel in the other. They’ve never heard the word “coexist,” and if they’re allowed to remain in power in Egypt, the future of Israel and the uneasy peace it’s enjoyed for decades with much of the Arab world would be in serious jeopardy.
The Obama administration has us on the wrong side in this dispute – if not officially, then certainly practically. The administration has been rewarding a most belligerent Morsi government with the fatted calf of American taxpayers’ dollars and some of the U.S.’s finest fighter aircraft.
The Obama coziness with Morsi has not gone unnoticed in Egypt, and has not improved U.S. standing with rank-and-file Egyptians.
“A large piece of opposition activists’ anger is being directed at the U.S. and its perceived support for Egypt’s ruling Islamists,” the Wall Street Journal reported last week. “A flurry of newspaper articles, talk shows and public statements over the past few weeks have singled out the U.S. for particular scorn while accusing America’s diplomatic mission in Cairo of acting as a sort of puppet master behind Mr. Morsi’s administration.”
How does an American administration get to the point where it’s seen as being on the radical Muslims’ side?