David Ignatius is happy with developments in the Middle East, but he notes that the road ahead is slippery. The Iranians and the Syrians thought they were going to squeeze Iraq, it turns out they are being squeezed by just about everybody. But also note his reference to the possible new role of Hezbollah in the new democratic Lebanon. Still, Syria is sweating bullets (so to speak), at least for now. Also note this Austin Bay op-ed on Syria and the "pragmatism of American idealism."
I believe 1-30-05 will be looked back in time (say 20 or 30 years from now) as the tipping point of the middle east...when history will proclaim the region began its march toward freedom. All the rules and predictions of what would happen have not happened. Iraq is not in civil war, the middle east is not rising up against the US, and arab people all over are choosing freedom over tyrany on a daily basis.
I wonder, will any credit, any at all, be given to the men and women of the US for at least bringing around this chance for freedom to the middle east? That credit being from the liberal left of this country that have demeaned and ridiculed this effort from the beggining.
Here is some ridicule from the right (me): this effort isnt over yet.
And, to be honest with you, in some way I hope it does fail. Im a little less worldly than all of you and care more about the United States than I do about Iraq. Id hate to see us get involved in any more wars - a temptation if this one suceeds.
It feels weird to write that Id prefer the U.S. preserve the rights and lives of its own citizens first. It almost feels like something I learned as an Ashbrook Scholar. Well, I cant remember... my brain is locked at the moment.
Dan, I dont doubt your sincerity, but what you are saying strikes me as not only odd but also as not a very powerful line of analysis. I found myself thinking, "Well, according to this type of reasoning, if wed have lost the War of Independence (as we very nearly did in the 2nd half of 1776), thered probably have been no Mexican War, Civil War, or Spanish-American War--to name two of our more imperialistic wars sandwiched around our bloodiest war."
But this kind of counterfactual historical thinking strikes me as leading nowhere determinate--after all, might someone else not reason that even worse things would have happened absent the event that you regret for allegedly causing some bad consequences?
As for your distinction between things Iraqi and things American in this context, I will only restate the observation that the project which the US has begun in the MidEast, while obviously not without its risks (what course of action or inaction is?) also offers a rewarding prospect of going a long way toward drying up much if not perhaps all of the "swamp" of deep-seated sociopolitical pathologies that formed an important part of the causal substrate of 9/11, which IIRC was a sudden series of massive atrocities that happened right here in the USA.