Tonawanda News

Web Extras

October 4, 2012

Muslim protests could have a silver lining

(Continued)

Although perhaps much harder to envision, it is possible that the anti-American protests in Egypt, too, will constitute a turning point. President Mohammed Morsi's slow but eventual condemnation of the attacks against the U.S. Embassy in Cairo could be the first stage in driving a wedge between his Muslim Brotherhood and the more extremist Salafi groups. Morsi's initial reluctance to speak against the violence in part reflected his reluctance to position himself against more extremist elements, and that he overcame it is very significant.

This single instance of Morsi's condemning anti-Americanism might not prove he is looking for more moderate political partners. But he has a bigger hurdle coming soon: negotiating a $4.8 billion loan with the International Monetary Fund. Not only will the loan come with stringent conditions on government spending that are opposed by many politicians, but some Salafis believe that paying interest to a non-Islamic entity such as the IMF is a violation of religious principles. Morsi, and Egypt, desperately needs the loan, and building on his denouncement of the protests, he might find himself forced to break publicly with his most conservative allies.

Although shifts in Libyan or Egyptian politics would be significant, a more important legacy of the violence will be how it affects U.S. commitment to the Middle East. Understandably, the first reaction of many Americans was to throw their hands up in dismay, and to ask why we should continue to spend money and political capital on a part of the world that is so clearly dysfunctional and anti-American.

This is exactly the wrong response. The problem isn't that the U.S. has done too much for these countries in transition; it is that the U.S. hasn't yet done enough. A fear of seeming heavy-handed has led us to be nearly hands-off. Closer engagement doesn't mean smothering governments that want and need to keep their political distance from Washington in order to maintain public support, nor does it entail a greater military presence. But it does mean a more systematic strategy toward the region, one that recognizes the tentative nature of every achievement made since the Arab revolutions began and seeks to bolster the fortunes of those looking to build moderate, economically open societies — even if they have conservative and Islamic leanings.

Text Only
Web Extras
  • Screen shot 2013-08-08 at 10.10.12 AM.png VIDEO: Dead shark found in New York subway train

    A dead shark was spotted on a train headed to Queens. It was still wet and had blood in its mouth. The sighting coincides with Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

    August 8, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • 0805-bees.jpg Ga. man survives more than 1,000 bee stings

    A Georgia man survived being stung more than 1,000 times by bees, which then attacked emergency responders who came to help, according to the man’s stepson.

    August 7, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • county-clean-fatberg-image.jpg Gross! 16.5-ton glob of fat removed from sewer system

    If you've ever wondered what happens when you ignore those warnings about pouring grease down the drain, residents of one London suburb have found the disgusting answer. It's a 16.5-ton, bus-sized glob of fat, known as a "fatberg."

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • 0805-fiery-truck-crash.jpg Video shows semi truck going airborne, bursting into flames

    Amateur video captured a fiery crash in this Indiana town, when a semi truck went airborne over a highway interchange and burst into flames.

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • iStock_000007205767XSmall.jpg Are growing pains real?

    Are growing pains real? If so, what causes them? And how do I make sure my kid never has them, because I really don't need another reason for screamy 3 a.m. wake-ups?

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • screenshot best man.jpg VIDEO: Dying boy plays best man at parents' wedding

    Looking dapper in a tiny tan pinstripe suit and orange shirt, a 2-year-old boy with only weeks to live served as the best man for his parents' Pennsylvania wedding.

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Screen shot 2012-12-05 at 4.31.28 PM.png VIDEO: According to trainers dogs can drive too

    Three dogs in New Zealand have been taught to drive a car. After weeks of indoor training in how to change gear, brake and steer, the canines have finally been allowed behind the wheel of a real car - with a little help from their handlers.

    December 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • HEALTH EXERCISE51.jpg Compression garments: So, does tight mean right?

    It seems that you can't head to a gym or run down your favorite trail these days without finding someone wearing compression garments.

    December 6, 2012 1 Photo

  • earth-at-night.jpg VIDEO: NASA's night view of Earth

    Weeks of work went into collecting pictures of the entire planet to create a remarkable look at night on Earth.

    December 6, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1376693_51096520.jpg Hospital incentives help babies determine own birth dates

    The evidence has been in for some time. Scheduling births may be convenient for physicians, hospitals and expectant parents, but it generally isn't good for the health of mothers and children.

    December 6, 2012 1 Photo