Always worth reading - Paul Berman, on Western intellectuals, the Arab Spring, and comparisons with 1989 (via):
In the intellectual world, the Islamists, like the pan-Arabists before them, have won an amazing number of debates. The universities and some of the magazines are, even now, filled with people who think that, if Arabs are oppressed, Zionism must be the principal culprit within the region, and Western Islamophobia must be the principal culprit abroad. The crowds chanting “The people want to topple the regime” in one country after another have altered these stubborn highbrow Western assumptions not at all. In a school where I teach a course, I discover in my mail slot a petition signed by university luminaries demanding action against Israel, but not a single manifesto or call for solidarity with the people of Libya, Syria, Bahrain, and other places.
The Middle East studies departments remind me of Latin American studies departments that I used to know in the 1980s, which radiated an influence from the reigning Fidelista Marxism of the Latin American universities of the time—except that in the Middle East studies departments of our day, the tendency leans toward Islamist apologetics....
In the intellectual and cultural worlds of the West, Islamism itself, the doctrine, has won these victories, which has deprived the Arab liberals of the kind of support that ought to be theirs—Islamism, together with the broader, radical anti-imperialism of which Islamism is a part.
But really, read the whole thing.