“We and the E.U. together have got to think about how to create safe places in Libya and Syria to stem the refugee tide before it breaks the E.U. History will not be kind to Obama if he just turns away.At the same time, Obama has an opportunity that no U.S. president ever had before. Two fledgling democracies have emerged in the Middle East — on their own. One is in Tunisia, whose civil society leaders won the Nobel Peace Prize, after writing the most democratic constitution ever in the region. But today guns, refugees and Islamist terrorists coming from Libya, which we recklessly uncorked, are helping destabilize the Tunisian experiment.The West should be all over Tunisia with economic, technical and military assistance. “Tunisia is a start-up democracy,” its former Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa told me. “It may be small, but its leverage for the future of the region is enormous. I can’t imagine any stability in the region if Tunisia doesn’t succeed.”
The other self-ignited democracy experiment is Iraqi Kurdistan, where the Kurds on their own built an American-style university in Sulaimaniya, because they want to emulate our liberal arts, and just opened a second American University, in Dohuk. But tiny Kurdistan today is hosting 1.8 million refugees from other parts of Iraq and from Syria, and with low oil prices, it’s almost bankrupt.”
Friedman thinks Obama is failing to help the two fledgling democracies, when a little help could produce important dividends.
I wrote the following comment in the NYT: Perhaps Tom Friedman has a point, that a little support to Tunisia and the Kurds could pay political dividends. Obama is right, that we can’t afford to be the dumbest, richest kid at the poker table. Could someone at the NYT explain to me why Israel deserves three billion dollars a year of US support, when it is destroying any chance of peace through it policy of occupying Palastinian lands.
Perhaps we could cut off or wind down our support of Israel, while increasing our aid to Tunisia and the Kurds, and Detroit and Flint Michigan.