Now that the so-called Arab Spring has sprung, we are beginning to feel the recoil, and it hurts. Who knows how much more it's going to hurt in the next few months or so?
All of the countries that sprang up against their leaders, which resulted in thousands of deaths, subsequent chaos, and geopolitical upheaval, are now trying to figure out what their next move will be. And what are the implications for the United States in this aftermath of the Arab Spring?
Initially portrayed as a beautiful and much-needed change in the political landscape of the so-called "middle east," the Arab Spring conjured up notions of springtime, a new beginning and roadmap to nirvana in nations that have suffered under corrupt, evil, greedy despots for decades. Now, with the latest news of uprisings, bombings, riots, and assassinations of Americans, even a diplomat, many are wondering what the "spring" was all about. We forgot about the recoil.
In full context, the touting of the Arab Spring made some folks feel that the lockdown of the "middle east" was coming to an end. Democracy would take hold and relations between the West and its long-time enemies, even though we had financially supported most of them, would be changed forever. So much for that scenario.
Now that the recoil has come, this nation is faced with even more of our young people dying on battlefields with no victory in sight. We are entertaining doomsday predictions of more wars, even nuclear wars. There is the very real probability that our "best friend" in that part of the world, Israel, will launch a strike against the "evil empire" of the east, Iran, which may start world war III. At a minimum, it will cause a spike in gas prices the likes of which we have never seen. Talk about the tail wagging the dog.
Russia, China and the U.S. are at odds over the whole mess, and who knows where that relationship will go? Embassies are closing, diplomats are on alert, religious doctrines are at odds with one another, even to the point of non-believing "infidels" being killed; cartoons and films are being promoted, no doubt to incite more unrest and chaos, and all the while we are sinking further in debt and facing hyperinflation. This gives new meaning to the old school refrain, "Party over here!"
Less than two months from the presidential election, our candidates are spending more time raising money at swank venues, hobnobbing with those who can afford to pay the $50,000 per plate for the privilege of exchanging a few words and shaking a few hands. We see them on various TV shows talking about the most ridiculous things, laughing and hamming it up with hosts who want to know what the candidates wear when they go to bed, or how their dogs are doing, or what their favorite food is, or who their favorite TV personality is, while never mentioning the war in Afghanistan and soldiers who are being killed by folks who are supposed to be their friends. As a citizen of first century Rome must have said, "I smell smoke."
How much more do we have to see before we realize that this country, this world, is on an economic kamikaze mission? Even more serious is the ever-present danger of all-out war, started by Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu's concern over Iran developing a nuclear weapon, despite the fact that Israel and other countries have nukes. And Pakistan's nukes may soon find their way into the hands of its young U.S.-hating rioters.
Get your wheelbarrows ready; you'll need them to carry all of the dollars it will take to buy a loaf of bread.
Practically speaking, young people are being gunned down and murdered in the streets of Chicago at record rates; some parts of Detroit have become ghost towns; folks on the West Coast are paying more than $4 for a gallon of gasoline; several cities have filed bankruptcy and others are on the verge of doing so; veterans are not treated fairly when they return home; and poor people are so far off the political radar screen they may as well not even exist.
With all of that going for us, the final result from the Arab Spring will be a recoil that impacts and exacerbates oil prices, foreign aid, diplomatic relations and, most important, more young people dying in vain in wars that will never lead to victory. Economically, the recoil from the Arab Spring will propel us into the ionosphere of higher prices, national debt, and even more poverty.
(NNPA columnist James Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached blackonomics.com.)