Domino Theory Revisited

“Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount.  And the tigers are getting hungry.” – Winston Churchill

The news was grim from Syria this week.  Dozens were killed, including two children, during security force clashes with protesters.  “We do not want your bread,” the people chanted in their marches. “We want dignity.”

Daily, the news continues from throughout the Middle East.  The reports, the photos, and videos are all similar in their horrible splendor.

In Egypt this week, after last month’s topple of 30-year President Mubarik, the police burned the Egyptian Interior Ministry building, a long-hated symbol of repression.  In Jordan, hundreds of Jordanians set up protest camps demanding broader freedoms and the ouster of the Prime Minister. In Yemen, white-collar professionals and students alike demanded the ouster of their President.  In Libya, multi-national government forces are are stepping in to protect the Libyan rebels from attacks by their own government’s troops.

Domino Theory updated

Throughout the Mideast protests and revolutions continue as more people in more countries step forth.  Spurred on by the internet, and by long-lived oppression, everyday folk are raising their fists and voices in defiance.  “We want dignity.”

In the mid-20th century, the United States government spoke often of the Domino Theory. This was the era of Communism and the Cold War. On news shows, in books, magazines, and news articles, reporters, writers, and talking heads speculated.  If one country fell to Communism, the next country would fall, then the next, and the next.  This Domino Theory was used to justify the war in South Vietnam and America’s intervention in other governments.  North Vietnam was a Communist country.  We could not allow South Vietnam to follow.

This year, the news from the Middle East has been volatile.  Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Oman, Morocco, Libya, Kuwait, Syria . . . the dictators, like dominoes, are falling.  But they are not falling to Communism.  They are falling instead to the innate desire for free speech, and the freedom to live a more meaningful life.  It is a reverse sort of Domino Theory.

I write historical romance. I believe in the importance of studying history, and of happily-ever-after endings.  May the people who live in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean experience such an ending.  By raising their arms in protest they have already found dignity.  May they find freedom as well.

6 thoughts on “Domino Theory Revisited

  1. Really liked your blog. My son and his family live in Morocco. We talk most weeks and it’s been very interesting to hear his perspective on some of the changes from the inside.

    Like the Chinese curse says: May we live in interesting times.

  2. Judi, so good to hear from you. I like your website! Smiled when I saw the tree tapping. Just yesterday my husband shared a fun link with me from NPR about maple syrup. Great broadcast…you’ve probably heard it but if not let me know.

    The thoughts in my post occurred to me this winter as I watched country after country break onto the news stories. When I found the map from the Washington Post (link in paragraph starting “Throughout…”) I realized it has virtually hit every one over there.

    Good thoughts and prayers for the continued safety of your son and his family. Thank you for stopping in. 🙂

  3. Deb,

    I remember having bomb drills when I was in grade school eons ago during the height of the communist scare and Cold War. The drill was to duck under our desks to save us from a potential bomb dropping on the school…Yeah, right…

    What’s frightening today is school-age children in far too many countries have no “security” blanket like crawling under a desk to save themselves. The world around them is dangerous on so many different fronts.

    A very good post as it produces deep thought and while I don’t write historicals, I am an historian, and my bent was always the effects of events on the average citizen.

    Have a good week.

  4. I remember disaster drills. We filed into the school hallways and knelt down, face to lockers, hands over back of head. Good for either a tornado, or a nuclear blast. Sure. The world was a scary place then. Still is, but I believe in hope. Hope lets a person survive.

    I think the United States from our infancy onward has brought hope to the world, despite a few mis-steps and stumbles along the way. We’ve shown how a nation can function and thrive with freedom. Radio, then television began to broadcast the message and suddenly we have computers, and the internet. Remarkable events occurring.

    And yes, MJ, I’m with you — my bent has also been toward the effects on the average person. 🙂 Its easier to relate to that, and makes a better story.

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