In the immediate aftermath of the Iraq intervention it was striking that the Jacobin neocon crowd were of the opinion that traditional (dare I say classic) Middle Eastern and Islamic culture was of little or no value in humanist terms and, in fact, is a barrier to the emergence of "modern" man and "modern" societies. Social revolution was their goal throughout the region. Some of this sentiment had its roots in their strange, shared educational background. Some of it was clearly rooted in a desire to provide a friendly environment for Israel.
By 2006, the application of their ideas had nearly led to disaster as the Iraq Project foundered on the shoals of resistance provided by the very culture that the neocons so despised and feared.
Now that the situation has improved, the same people are busy revising history to justify future application of the notion of coerced social revolution in the region. Anyone who thinks that Jacobin neoconism is in retreat is deceived. The Iraq war situation has been ameliorated (from the American point of view) through the use of methods traditional to Middle Eastern and colonial history. Divide and rule works as well today as it has always worked, regardless of whom is doing the dividing and who is being divided. Humans are easily divided on the basis of their perceived group interests. There is no evidence that they will ever be any different. Anything else is merely wishful thinking.
The local cultures in the Middle East and Islamic "worlds" are very strong. They are likely to change at their own pace, influenced by the flood tides of information in the world today, but they will strongly resist change at anyone else’s pace.
The belief that outsiders can "manage" that change is as destructive today as it has always been.
Strike up the band!
With respect Spider Rider; "What DOES it really take to establish some sort of democracy in the Middle East?" "But how do we play off of this, and establish the middle east, so the middle easterners WANT a democratic type system, so it emerges, and grows, through sound policy, and not corrupt business?" You are making the fatal assumption that in the Middle East democracy is automatically seen by all as a good thing. The reality is that only a tiny Western educated elite in most Middle Eastern countries have any liking for democracy, and the general population views them with great suspicion. Then you make the assumption that it is somehow our right to overturn their culture and social structures and force them into adopting a political system that is alien to them. ….And then we get all upset when they push back? To put it another way, what would your reaction be if Saudi Arabia decided that sharia law is what America needs and proceeded to do everything in it’s power(missionaries, economic aid, mosques, financial inducements, let alone withholding oil supplies) to ram it down your throat? The first requirement is to understand the societies concerned and then do what is possible within the structures of Tribe, Clan, Family and Religious belief to advance the causes of Peace, Free Markets and human Rights as laid out in the U.N. declaration on the subject… ….Oh Wait! We don’t have no time for them liberals in the U.N.!