AGAINST ILLUSIONS. To...

AGAINST ILLUSIONS. To continue with the theme of the day, I´┐Żll point out that the absolute most dangerous thing that can happen to a country is for it to fall prey to pleasing delusions. It would be nice if Lebanese people regarded Israel's military action as a nice way to help them build democracy, but it simply isn't the case. Meanwhile, to make things worse, here comes The New York Sun with a Youssef Ibrahim op-ed arguing that Arabs everywhere are supporting Israeli action:

Rarely have I seen such an uprising, indeed an intifada, against those little turbaned, bearded men across the Muslim landscape as the one that took place last week. The leader of Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, received a resounding "no" to pulling 350 million Arabs into a war with Israel on his clerical coattails.

The collective "nyet" was spoken by presidents, emirs, and kings at the highest level of government in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco, and at the Arab League's meeting of 22 foreign ministers in Cairo on Saturday. But it was even louder from pundits and ordinary people.

The implication that ordinary Arabs have turned against Hezbollah is simply false. The only evidence Ibrahim sites for this idea is statements made in that sector of the Arab press that's owned by the government of Saudi Arabia. Somewhat along the same lines, the opening of The New Republic's latest editorial elides the difference between the views expressed by America's local client-dictators and the views of the Sunni Arab public. What's going on in the world right now is a serious business and it needs to be viewed clearly and without these kinds of illusions.

--Matthew Yglesias

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