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Posted by on Feb 25, 2011 in International, War | 0 comments

Middle East Tyranny’s Unexpected Expiration Dates: What Do We Do Now?

As decades-long dictatorships teeter and fall, is it unreasonable to ask whether anyone in or out of our government really knows what’s going on and why?

TV screens fill up with talking heads of politicians, academics and think-tank denizens whose combined wisdom comes down to admitting they don’t know why this is happening now and can’t tell how and when it will end.

A New York Times panel of experts ponders the question, “Why Didn’t the U.S. Foresee the Arab Revolts?” and is reduced to citing “group think,” preoccupation with minutae and the ultimate platitude that “revolutions are unpredictable.”

Instead of scoffing at all this confusion, a more constructive response might combine humility about predictions with a broad and deep reassessment of how far, in a time of its own economic crisis, the U.S. should go in trying to control what happens in turbulent countries far from home.

Afghanistan, for one example. In all the hubbub about Egypt, Tunisia, Libya et al, overlooked is the growing unease among even gung-ho Republicans, typified by former Reagan Defense official Bing West with a new book, “The Wrong War,” over shoring up Hamid Karzai with American blood and money.

Iraq, for another, as crowds resembling those that have dominated the news elsewhere for weeks, rally in protest…