Washington Needs to Provide Some Diplomatic Cover for Exposed Middle-Eastern Protesters

At Other Words, Adotei Akwei writes:

The world is transfixed as the unprecedented events in the Middle East and North Africa unfold. And foreign policy aficionados are equally transfixed as the U.S. government maneuvers between its stated values and sometimes short-sighted security policies. With targeted airstrikes and lofty rhetoric supporting some, but not all, of the brave activists seeking respect for their rights, Washington’s relations and approach with the region are inconsistent and off the mark.

This is a seminal opportunity that the United States can’t afford to miss. The Arab Spring requires a consistent approach to the shared clarion call of freedom from the 300 million-plus people in the 11 countries where significant protests are unfolding. With the escalation of the drone strikes in Pakistan and especially in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s killing, Washington must place itself on the right side of history by unequivocally supporting popular protests with strategic, human rights-centered policies.

The U.S. government has a critical role to play in protecting the virtual town square. Access to Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and the Internet fueled and documented the Arab Spring. But since January, the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Syria, and United Arab Emirates have either tried to restrict Internet access or have detained bloggers. The Obama administration should step up its efforts to promote expanded and unrestricted Internet access and forcefully condemn efforts by other governments to undermine this freedom.

Read the rest at Other Words.