In the WSJ Daniel Heninger says there are three models for stability in the Middle East:”the fist, militant Islam or economic modernity” and contends that the unions with their opposition to free trade agreements are now posing a threat to national security:
The outside world has a self-interest in pushing the Middle East’s economies toward the 21st century. Without economic upgrades, the underemployment bomb will tick and re-explode—there or here.
Rebuilding from economic failure isn’t easy, but it isn’t rocket science. One good, achievable idea suggested recently has been a free trade agreement between Egypt and the U.S. and Europe. But if the Obama team won’t complete a free trade deal with Colombia, a friend and ally, then Egypt and the rest really are hopeless. Barack Obama’s union base is looking like a national security issue.
Many people in U.S. public life don’t want to get involved with this Middle East tangle. Alas, the gods do not ordain a timeline for crises. These insurrections—now spread across 11 separate nations—are a big, historic moment, similar in some ways to what happened around Eastern Europe before the Berlin Wall fell. The U.S. didn’t blow that one. What’s needed now is an equivalent level of leadership and strategic thinking to ensure we don’t fall on the wrong side of this one.