The Arab Spring rebellions this year have revealed an ancient problem; the many tribal, ethnic, religious and political divisions in Arab countries. The monarchies or dictators being overthrown had gained power by manipulating these divisions, to divide and rule, as it were. But one point that is being missed here is the fact these divisions are the norm, not the exception, in most nations. It’s an old problem that the largely homogeneous Western nations tend to ignore or play down.
But for decades, peacekeeping and diplomatic efforts have been running into a wall called multiculturalism, and the wall has been winning. Trying to get an effective government out of these Arab Spring revolutions requires overcoming the curse of multiculturalism. It’s dangerous stuff. For the past few thousand years, the majority of little wars have been caused by different ethnic or religious groups not getting along. Today, this is generally dismissed as primitive tribes squabbling over women or livestock. Well, that was often the case, but there are still thousands of tribes out there. And you don’t have to belong to a tribe to get agitated about rustling or who’s dating your sister. The fact is that nearly all the wars peacekeepers and diplomats are trying to end are ethnic conflicts.