February 9, 2012 | Quote
CPAC panel debates how the Arab Spring affects the U.S.
Moderator Cliff May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, began by asking the panelists if the Arab Spring was a good thing for America. Even the most optimistic participant about the downfall of authoritarian regimes, former deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams, was cautious. For starters, he explained, “We didn’t create it.” He reminded the audience that the revolutions “happened in these fake republics” and not in traditional monarchies that “have a good deal of legitimacy.” However, one positive outcome, he argued, would be “getting rid of [Bashar al] Assad.” He noted that China, Russia, Iran and other regimes “understand how critical it is to keep him.” We therefore need to be equally serious about the importance of getting rid of him. He later noted dryly, “The Arab Spring is a misnomer. It happened in winter.” But he acknowledged, “We know they are against these phony presidents. But we don’t know what they are for.” It’s just “too soon to tell” if on balance this is a positive development.