Time will tell, but Obama’s luck may have run out, both in Egypt and in Syria. His pals in the Brotherhood — and their Salafist fellow travellers — may crash and burn, and Bashar Assad — best thought of as the factotum of the Russian and Iranian tyrannical counter revolutionaries — may prevail over the “Syrian opposition.” And for extras, Obama’s close friend and advisor, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, is facing demonstrators against his Islamist government, which is increasingly stressed by economic and demographic stresses and strains.
Claire Berlinsky, who writes from Istanbul, should get a Pulitzer for her wonderfully informative and delightfully written accounts of events in Turkey for City Journal. Take this one, for example, in which she reports that “during the initial days of the crackdown, CNN Turkey aired a documentary about penguins precisely as the international media showed the chaos on Istanbul’s streets to the rest of the world.” Isn’t that terrific? And she goes on to compare it with the weak performance of the U.S. ambassdor in Ankara. Read the whole thing.
With all the excitement, it’s hard to tell who’s winning, even with a good score card, so let’s do a preliminary tally. In Syria, Obama’s supporting the largely Islamist opposition, and says “Assad must go.” In Egypt, he’s with the Islamist Morsi and the Brothers. In Turkey, he’s with the Islamist Erdogan. Can you spot a trend? They’re all radical ideologues who condemn the United States as a force for evil. (To be sure, the Syrian case offers no attractive “solution,” but that is largely because Obama failed to support the opposition when it was seemingly politically and religiously moderate). His guys are under siege, as is Obama himself, and not just in the Middle East.