By Robert D. Kaplan, Stratfor
Robert D. Kaplan is chief geopolitical analyst at Stratfor, a global intelligence company, and author of the bestselling new book ‘The Revenge of Geography.’ You can read his regular column on global affairs here. The views expressed are his own.
The easy part of the Arab Spring – the part that brought instant gratification to Western elites – is over. That part was about the overthrow of tyrannical regimes in some places and the weakening of them in others. Because the object was only humbling the dictator, it was essentially a liberal affair, an attack on the overcentralization of power. The United States and Israel were not relevant to this initial phase.
The second phase now upon us is about who gets to rule in the streets and in the palace. It is about defining society from the ground up. This part is about political values, and because Islamism is somewhat shaped by views toward the United States and Israel, the United States has been the object of mob fury. Israel is, for the moment, spared. That is only because the anti-Islamic video happened to have originated in the United States. Sooner or later, the mob will vent its anger against Israel directly. After all, frustration with the United States is, in significant measure, due to its support for Israel and Israel's refusal to stop settlement building.