The Idiom

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Saturday, March 05, 2005

...Because The Revolution's Here. And You Know It's Right, Cont'd.

Just in case readers of The Idiom haven't checked out Instapundit lately, here's some more on American meddling the Middle East.
"All right, all right. But apart from liberating 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan, undermining dictatorships throughout the Arab world, spreading freedom and self-determination in the broader Middle East and moving the Palestinians and the Israelis towards a real chance of ending their centuries-long war, what have the Americans ever done for
Nod to MontyPython, and one of The Kid's favourite bits.

However, as The Kid has mentioned before, it's important to remain on an even keel. Ralph Peters agrees:
FOR three years, this column has shot down the pessimists who warned we were bound to fail in the Middle East. Now those of us who see our confidence vindicated must beware a premature euphoria.

There's plenty of work ahead.

Our successes have been remarkable. In the past six weeks, we've seen more positive movement in the region than we saw in the preceding six decades. The political landscape of the old Islamic heartlands has changed breathtakingly since our first special-operations team went to work in the wake of 9/11.

Afghanistan's finding its footing as a democracy. Iraq welcomed its first free elections with an enthusiasm and valor that should shame apathetic Western voters. Inspired, the people of Lebanon took to the streets to demand freedom from Syrian occupation. Palestinians voted, too - and their new government is resisting the terrorists who want to frustrate peace efforts.

From Iran through Saudi Arabia to Egypt, the first breezes of change are beginning to blow.

But they're not gale-force winds just yet. We would be almost as foolish as the eternal naysayers were we to imagine that our mission is nearing completion.

Excessive euphoria would only play into the hands of those who wanted freedom's campaign to fail all along. If our rhetoric becomes too exuberant, even positive events on the ground could be dismissed as falling short of our promises.

He's absolutely right. We have to understand that although the events of the past few weeks have been astounding, things can and probably will swing the other way. And all the media pundits, left wing politicos and foreign governments that have so recently been positioning themselves to jump on the train will go back to spouting prophecies of doom and destruction. We are on the right track, never doubt that, but we have to be prepared for ups and downs.

That said, Max Boot's column is a bit too triumphalistic. But Boot, the very wise author of "The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and America's Rise to Power" definitely is saying the right things about the people who habitually misunderestimate President Bush.

"In 2003, more than a month before the invasion of Iraq, I wrote in the Weekly Standard that the forthcoming fall of Baghdad "may turn out to be one of those hinge moments in history - events like the storming of the Bastille or the fall of the Berlin Wall - after which everything is different. If the occupation goes well (admittedly a big if), it may mark the moment when the powerful antibiotic known as democracy was introduced into the diseased environment of the Middle East, and began to transform the region for the better."

At the time, this kind of talk was dismissed by pretty much everyone not employed by the White House as neocon nuttiness. Democracy in the Middle East? Introduced by way of Iraq? You've got to be kidding! The only real debate in sophisticated circles was whether those who talked of democracy were simply naive fools or whether their risible rhetoric was meant to hide some sinister motive.

Well, who's the simpleton now?"

Krauthammer, also jumping the gun too much, says we have to continue pushing:

Revolutions do not stand still. They either move forward or die. We are at the
dawn of a glorious, delicate, revolutionary moment in the Middle East. It was
triggered by the invasion of Iraq, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and televised
images of 8 million Iraqis voting in a free election. Which led to the obvious
question throughout the Middle East: Why the Iraqis and not us?

Even Bush trasher Fred Kaplan has to admit something is going on:

A question is haunting the blue states of America: Could George W. Bush be right? Is freedom indeed "on the march"? Did the war in Iraq uncork a white tornado that's whooshing democracy across the region and beyond?

In just the past two months, free elections were held in Palestine and Iraq; a rigged election was overturned and an honest one re-held in Ukraine; the Egyptian president pledged to hold competitive elections soon, too; and a popular uprising against Syria's occupation of Lebanon forced Beirut's puppet government to resign-all this, amid President Bush's proclamation that the main aim of American foreign policy is to advance the cause of global freedom.
Dance, monkey, dance.

Look quickly for the arguments to begin about how the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with the wave of freedom that will sweep this area, or if it did, it was totally an unintended by-product. (when in fact, if you read the statements, it was the penultimate reason for the war all along.)

But still, guard against over-optimism. This is something that is fragile. It can go the other way. Just remember, the eventual outcome, the liberation of the 300 million people of the Arab world is inevitable if we have the courage to see it through.


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