Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Charles Krauthammer may be crippled down below, but he makes up for it on top. Read his latest on the recent developments in the Middle East. Seriously, read it. A snippet:
What really changed in the Middle East? The Iraqi elections vindicated the two central propositions of the Bush doctrine. First, that the will to freedom is indeed universal and not the private preserve of Westerners. And second, that American intentions were sincere. Contrary to the cynics, Arab and European and American, the U.S. did not go into Iraq for oil or hegemony, after all, but for liberation--a truth that on Jan. 31 even al-Jazeera had to televise.

This was the critical event because Arabs have had good reason to doubt American sincerity: six decades of U.S. support for Arab dictators, a cynical "realism" that began with F.D.R.'s deal with Ibn Saud and reached its apogee with the 1991 betrayal of the anti-Saddam uprising that Bush 41 had encouraged in Iraq. Today, however, they see a different Bush and a different doctrine. What changed the climate in the Middle East was not just the U.S. invasion and show of arms. It was U.S. determination and staying power, and the refusal of its people last November to turn out a President who rejected an "exit strategy" but pledged instead to remain until Iraqi self-governance was secure.

It took this marriage of power, will and principle to produce the astonishing developments in the Middle East today. This is not to say that this spring cannot be extinguished. Of course it can. The dictators can still strike back, and we may flinch in defense of those they strike. History has yet to yield a verdict on the final outcome. But it has yielded one unmistakable verdict thus far: the idea that Arabs are not fit for or inclined toward freedom--the underlying assumption of those who denounced, ridiculed and otherwise opposed the democracy project--is wrong. Embarrassingly, scandalously, blessedly wrong.

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