Monday, February 14, 2011

Ferguson on Obama's Egypt Policy--or Lack Thereof

Niall Ferguson has apparently taken up a column at Newsweek, which is good news. He's a first-rate historian and a very much a controversialist. I don't always agree with him, but I think that one has to take his arguments seriously. In his first column, he skewers the Obama administration for remaining behind events in Egypt, thereby alienating both the powers that be (or were) and the protesters. It does give me a scary reminder of the U.S. and Iran in 1979, a very bad precedent indeed. Jimmy Carter's policies and actions addressing the fall of the Shah were not a success. I think that Ferguson, according to other sources that I've heard, may be overestimating the sway of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, I'm not certain that democracy will prevail, by any means. Also, while Kissinger isn't necessarily the best role model, he does think in terms of global strategy, and that's a must for foreign policy. I don't know that Obama has that instinct, and the voters were looking at someone to address the economy, not foreign policy in the grand scheme.

1 comment:

Stephen N. Greenleaf, Esq. said...

An interesting & I think fairly considered defense to Ferguson's critique can be found here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/14/944436/-Niall-Ferguson,-Political-Analyst-for-the-19th-Century. Indeed, as Ferguson has written in his book Virtual History, society amounts to a complex system that makes forecasting very dicey, indeed.