This past week a senior official at the U.S. State Department stated that “the war on terror is over” and later continued in saying “Now that we have killed most of al Qaida, now that people have come to see legitimate means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaida see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism.”
It appears that the recent reforms in the Middle East have eliminated some of the major motivations individuals had for joining al Qaida and other terrorist groups. It is interesting to consider how much the presence and actions of the U.S. in the Middle East affected the Arab Spring, or did the U.S. have little influence on it at all? An even better question is, did the direction that the Middle Eastern nations change prove beneficial to the United States? Or even, have we moved the terrorist organizations from their hideouts and into the capitols of various Middle Eastern nations?
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed the changes in the Middle East, particularly in Egypt; the Egyptians are forming a democratic government just like the U.S. has wanted to promote in the Middle East since the Bush administration however the WSJ also predicted that an Islamist will be elected president of Egypt and that in the near future, the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty would likely be eliminated. In his book The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, Fareed Zakaria discusses the idea that some nations are best with non-democratic forms of government as well as the fact that other nations such as the U.S. are also better off if those government remain in their non-democratic form. It appears that in the case of Egypt that Mr. Zakaria was right, if tensions between Israel and Egypt increase because of Egypt’s newfound democracy, the U.S. will also be force to become involved and would be better off with a non-democratic Egypt, and while al Qaida will cease to be a threat soon the U.S. will just find itself at a different end of the sandbox that is the Middle East.
Sources and additional reading: