Unashamed analysts

In his recent Bloomberg column, Jeffrey Goldberg wonders if the so-called “Arab Spring” was “a victory for extremism.” Working his way through to his conclusion that for the next 10-30 years we should expect “experiments in theocratic rule” or “other forms of authoritarianism”, Goldberg notes the failure of analysts and the commentariat to anticipate the uprisings and their consequences:

It is also a shame — a lesser shame, a shame of poor analysis — that the Arab Uprising went entirely unpredicted in Washington and elsewhere. To compound the shame, few people, even in the midst of the uprisings, forecast the rise of Islamist parties to power not only in Egypt but also in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, and coming soon, in Syria, when the Assad regime finally falls.

As Goldberg probably knows, there is one place in the world where actually quite a few people – from greengrocers to analysts to the prime minister – had no illusions about where the region was heading. Instead of providing a long list of examples, I’ll just link to Karl Vick’s aptly entitled “Israel on the Islamist Surge in Egypt: Told You So.”

And it’s easy to make another prediction: none of the analysts and pundits who failed to see what was coming will be in any way ashamed – and no matter how often Israeli assessments turn out to be spot-on, there will always be a chorus of commentators who will dismiss them as “hard-line,” “right-wing” and “intransigent.”

 

One response to “Unashamed analysts

  1. Petra,

    Goldberg writes: “It is also a shame — a lesser shame, a shame of poor analysis — that the Arab Uprising went entirely unpredicted in Washington and elsewhere.” Except, of course, for those (e.g. Walid Phares) who did predict revolution was coming and those who saw that revolution as likely not to be a force for great good.

    I think this is all quite a scandal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s