Mideast bowling for tyrants

As the Dude, Donny or any “Big Lebowski” fan can tell you, it is a blast smashing bowling pins to the hardwood; and right now, millions in the Middle East are enjoying a similar sport called bowling for tyrants.

Usually only one King Pin is targeted, but it can take a lot of balls to knock him down. And yet, angry mobs there are rolling strike after strike in the name of freedom and democracy.

It is a triumph for the White House, which was savaged for playing it so safe on engagement that a gutter ball seemed certain. It is inspiring for many young Americans who enjoy a Facebook-Koolaid kinship with young folks the world over, especially when it comes to pushing the Old Guard off to the nursing home or a war crimes trial.

But the pin-setting machine is whirring even as the protestors are posting their victorious profile pics, and you can bet your league shirt new King Pins are preparing to take a stand. Why?

Many of these countries have one key industry and are wracked by joblessness. That equation has always made it easy for tyrants to arise: Control that one resource, and you control the wealth and power of the nation.

The protestors seem to lack any clear strategy for what they will do with their newfound power. Sure, they’ll hold elections — but absent rapid economic improvements, this too can leave the door wide open for new dictators to hijack their revolutions.

And lastly, women still have limited influence and rights in many of these communities. Here is a simple test for whether a country can be truly Democratic. If women are relegated primarily to child-bearing and family-caring, it is usually a sign of an economy and health system that can’t survive without half the population in this role. And when that many people are forced to respect such an imposed foul line, tyrants know that much of their work is already done.

I’m not saying there is no cause for celebration. What I am saying is that even though some of the King Pins are gone, the circumstances that brought them to the front of the pin set remain; and in a long tournament, even a string of strikes does not necessarily take the trophy.

– CNN’s Tom Foreman is a regular on “AC360°”/ www.ac360.com and “The Situation Room.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Local

MAP: New York City street closures, September 19,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on September 19, 20 and 21. There will be many streets and…

Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Television

'Outlander' Season 1, Episode 7: 'The Wedding'

Claire and Jamie are man and wife!!! Like, ALL THE WAY, if you know what we mean. (Twice.)

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…