Middle East Notes and Comment: Arab Decision 2007
November 16, 2006
While it was U.S. voters who cast their ballots in last week’s elections, Arabs may feel the election’s most profound effects. For five years, the Bush Administration has dedicated itself to healing the Middle East so as to provide security at home. While U.S. voters did not directly repudiate the vision, they showed little support for the zeal with which the administration pursued it. With the U.S. push toward Arab reform stalled, Arabs—governments and publics—will find themselves facing harder choices, not easier ones. They took it for granted that the Bush Administration could not solve their problems, but they grew comfortable lining up in opposition to the long arm of U.S. intervention. In the aftermath of U.S. elections, the problems they face are as acute as ever, their awareness of those problems is higher, and they have lost their ability to tar reformists as American stooges. Their choices have become harder, not easier.