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Bush, The Middle East, and Churlishness
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TNR editor-in-chief Martin Peretz has a great piece on Bush's Middle East policy.

He notes the standard Republican policy of the past, fighting proxy wars, propping up strongmen, and most of all keeping the Arabs happy so the oil would keep flowing, and how initially there were no signs that Bush would deviate from the script.

But then there was 9/11. And the liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban. And the invasion and liberation of Iraq. And now those countries are on their way to functioning nascent democracies, and others are marching and demanding democracy of their own, in places like Lebananon.

And why?

None of this happened by spontaneous generation. Yes, there were lucky breaks: Yasir Arafat died, Syria conspired somehow to have former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri assassinated. And yes, the new directions are young, and the autocratic-theocratic political culture of the Middle East is old, and it is once again too early to proclaim that the mission has been accomplished. As the ancient Israelite king observed, let he who girds his harness not boast as he who takes it off. But the mission is nonetheless real, and far along, and it is showing thrilling accomplishments. It is simply stupid, empirically and philosophically, to deny that all or any of this would have happened without the deeply unpopular but historically grand initiative of Bush.

Yes. As I said, go read the whole thing.

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