Fareed's Take: Vivid protest images do not tell whole story
Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia on Wednesday.
September 14th, 2012
05:39 PM ET

Fareed's Take: Vivid protest images do not tell whole story

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS" Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

By Fareed Zakaria

The images of the American embassy burning in Benghazi might have conjured up memories of Tehran in 1979 but the analogy is false.

In Libya, the government is not fomenting Anti-Americanism, it is fighting it, openly declaring America an ally and friend. The country is pro-American by a 2-to-1 margin, and the violence there appears to have been the work of small, extremist elements that lack much popular support. But the storm has spread from Libya.

Across the Middle East, there have been protests railing against the United States and the West in general. Even in these places, however, keep in mind that these crowds number in the hundreds - perhaps thousands - in countries with tens of millions of people. They make for vivid images, but they do not tell the whole story.

What can we say about these places and protests? First, in many of these countries - particularly those that have toppled dictatorships - the most important reality is not of bad government but of weak government.

In Libya, Yemen and even Egypt, the state has lost its ability to control its public. In a sense this might be progress. Egypt didn't see protests like this before because Hosni Mubarak's regime would arrest or even shoot protesters. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy is an elected politician, and he is trying to pander, appease, direct and guide people. I wish he were bolder and fought the extremist elements in his society head-on. But let's face it, he's behaving like an elected politician.

Second, what we are witnessing is indeed the consequence of the Arab Spring. Arab societies were locked down for 50 years. The lid has come off them and we're seeing what's inside.

Q&A: What the protests reveal

There are some good elements - moderates, liberals, pragmatists - and there are some very nasty elements - extremists, jihadis. And let's be honest, there is a cancer of extremism in the Arab world, one that was diagnosed extensively after 9/11 by many, including me. That cancer has not been cured; most of the forces that produced it still remain. We should be honest that it exists, we should be honest that moderates in the region tend to be weak and often cowardly, but we should try to help them. If the United States pulls out, the crazies will only get stronger.

The clash of civilizations exists between those who want to burn American embassies and those who want to partner with them in building modern societies. We have a stake in who wins that struggle.

Post by:
Topics: Fareed's Take • Libya • Middle East

soundoff (823 Responses)
  1. Fgrsalkat

    chewing gum viagra viagra australia buy viagra 50mg

    December 13, 2020 at 6:45 pm |
  2. Fsfgalkat

    buy viagra in canada viagra usage buying viagra without a prescription

    December 13, 2020 at 9:42 pm |
  3. JgsvEndut

    in singapore where to buy viagra buy viagra online prescription viagra cost

    December 14, 2020 at 10:29 am |
  4. Dvnjwhilk

    free viagra samples by mail wholesale generic viagra buying generic viagra online

    December 15, 2020 at 8:55 am |
  5. Dvnjwhilk

    where to buy viagra singapore how can i get free viagra viagra wiki

    December 15, 2020 at 3:42 pm |
  6. Fhsnwhilk

    viagra mit paypal zahlen viagra greece buy viagra that takes paypal

    December 16, 2020 at 2:23 am |
  7. Fhsnwhilk

    ordering generic viagra online buy viagra pills viagra wiki

    December 17, 2020 at 2:49 pm |
  8. Toi Forlani

    very interesting info ! .

    Proxyti.com/buy/500-private-proxies/

    December 31, 2020 at 5:07 pm |
  9. JlloEndut

    24 hour drug store near me ed treatment canada drug pharmacy

    January 9, 2021 at 6:01 pm |
  10. Lokualkat

    24 hour pharmacy near me express scripts pharmacy canadian mail order pharmacy

    January 9, 2021 at 7:05 pm |
  11. Edra Chartraw

    I gotta favorite this website it seems invaluable invaluable

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    January 10, 2021 at 7:16 am |
  12. Aqwsalkat

    best canadian pharmacy online pharmacy reviews dysfunction

    January 10, 2021 at 7:46 pm |
  13. Khthweep

    ed pills that work quickly best drugstore foundation drugstore makeup

    January 11, 2021 at 9:13 am |
  14. Jtmfalkat

    approved canadian online pharmacies canadian pharcharmy cheap rx

    January 11, 2021 at 4:26 pm |
  15. Nllpwhilk

    best drugstore foundation best drugstore setting powder online pharmacy no prescription

    January 11, 2021 at 5:04 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.