Thursday, March 03, 2011

The end of the end of history

By Pepe Escobar

How does it feel to be on your own, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone, crisscrossing the desert sands, howling to the winds that the end of the end of history is now?

Western ideological categories lie mummified in a tomb. There's no dichotomy, or "clash" of civilizations, between Western parliamentary democracy and Islam.

Slovenian Slavoj Zizek, the Elvis of philosophy, told al-Jazeera a few weeks ago that the real tragedy of Arab nations was the disappearance of a strong, secular left. No wonder; all United States-backed dictators in MENA (Middle East/Northern Africa) killed or exiled the best and the brightest among progressive intellectuals.

Now, one may even dream that the notion of fighting incompetent/corrupt/unjust governments in the name of social justice in MENA is about to contaminate Europe and the US (as it already did; "from Cairo to Wisconsin") - and a new day is dawning for workers' movements that suffer from austerity and "structural adjustments" concocted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). New internationalist workers of the world, class of 2011, unite.

And how not to marvel that neo-liberalism applied to the Arab world also allowed the emergence of Islamist groups able to orient into political action the enormous collective anger provoked by horrible wealth distribution?

How does it feel to be laughing out loud at those silly neo-cons after they had peddled for years the notion that Arabs could be free, maybe, but they didn't really know that they wanted to be free, and they couldn't do it by themselves, so they needed the Pentagon to "shock and awe" them into the real thing?

Meanwhile, assorted Zionists and Zio-cons are left to pray for the emergence in Egypt of at least a moderate Islamist-tinged government that is willing to preserve the 1979 Camp David accords, without discussing the whole, ongoing, decades-long Palestinian tragedy. Fat chance.

How not to rejoice that the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions emerged within a secular and nationalist framework, thus debunking Tehran's revolution monopoly, according to which the US-backed Shah of Iran was dethroned by Islam as ideology?

So now it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for? The fight is for one, two, three, a million revolutions against not only the aging, resident Euro-American-empowered tyrant of choice but the whole US Treasury/IMF/World Bank-concocted architecture of "reality".

Arab nationalism, Arab nationalist solidarity, Arab nationalist al-Jazeera, Internet as a super al-Jazeera - it's all on, for all Arabs to see and do and practice themselves. And the West has no plan B - or any hint of Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton-style "orderly transition" for Bahrain, Yemen or Libya.

Yet the revolution has not even started.

The Sunni dynasty in Bahrain will keep playing an Arab Shakespearean drama. Following up on a 2009 WikiLeaks cable, King Hamad will keep "gradually shifting power" to his son, crown prince Salman, from the powerful Prime Minister Khalifa bin Sal Al-Khalifa. The prime minister is the king's uncle and the crown prince's great uncle. Meanwhile the Bahrain National Security Service, run by Sheik Khalifa bin Abdullah al-Khalifa, will keep getting its marching orders from the US Central Intelligence Agency.

The "strong tribal alliance" Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will use tanks, jets, mercenaries, whatever it takes, to prevent regime change in weak link Bahrain. After all the GCC - Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates - sits on 45% of global oil reserves, and they are not letting the loot go in the name of "democracy".

And even while al-Qaeda lies as moribund as Mubarak, and has absolutely no ideological or sociological influence over northern Africa, shrill imperial voices keep warning of Libya descending into the status of a giant Somalia. As if the "Egyptian doctor", Ayman al-Zawahiri, would materialize tomorrow in liberated eastern Libya and apply for a job as the new emir. Now that would be a real clash of civilizations.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at