It was something of a momentous weekend in Arab League history. For the first time ever, the League imposed serious sanctions on one of its own and not for anything related to Israel. Rather, the Arab League voted to impose sanctions on Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria for its continued campaign of repression and murder. (Notably, for the second time in recent months, the Arab League has made the Obama administration look weak and indecisive, imposing more serious sanctions on Syria than the Obama administration was willing to impose on Iran.)
As you follow the news this week, look for two types of reactions: the first will be ill-placed triumphalism from the White House, which continues to believe it’s leading from behind, but which continues to be… merely behind. And look for more hand wringing from the erstwhile pro-democracy crowd in Washington, which frets that the Arab Spring is going to lead to an Islamist spring and little more. While they may be right that the initial transformation of the Arab world will lead to better results for Islamists, the bottom line is that last time I checked, time moves forward, not backwards. That means that even if we’re not happy with the results of the Arab Spring, it has happened. Time to try to manage it.
Danielle Pletka is vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at AEI