Some follow-up to yesterday’s post on free societies. There is a lot of noise about some of the events I listed. The only thing that’s making me nervous here is that Thomas Friedman can see the same point.
I do not disagree with Friedman about the importance of the elections in Iraq, but I cannot help but think he has dismissed all the other items on the list I gave yesterday. Would he still see the Iraqi elections as a seminal moment without the other successes? More importantly, could those elections have been successful if the rest had not occurred?
I doubt it.
I think the thousands of people demonstrating in Lebanon and Egypt do agree with his point of departure for a “tipping point”, but it was clear even without those elections. How fickle, then, are these demonstrators?
We hold the key to that.
The German concession that Bush may be right is a far greater encouragement, even if it is stolidly (what else?) qualified.
In any case these are all examples that the weight of the list is tipping the balance.
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on Nightline:
Now, this [Iraqi voters] majority’s going to have to fight or negotiate to see that its will is sustained for Iraq to really have that outcome we want. And so, in that sense, I always had my own criteria for a tipping point. And the reason I jumped on it in my own column, these elections, is because I started to see it play out in the real world.
Free at Last?
Some Arabs welcome American democratic browbeating
Michael Young, Reason
On the same day as the demonstration in Beirut, George W. Bush delivered a speech in Brussels where he again demanded that the Syrians remove their army and intelligence agents from Lebanon. He also, more broadly, declared: “A status quo of tyranny and hopelessness in the Middle East—the false stability of dictatorship and stagnation—can only lead to deeper resentment in a troubled region, and further tragedy in free nations. The future of our nations, and the future of the Middle East, are linked—and our peace depends on their hope and development and freedom.”
Could George W. Bush Be Right?
Claus Christian Malzahn, Der Spiegel
And the Germany Reagan was traveling in, much like today’s Germany, was very skeptical of the American president and his foreign policy. When Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate — and the Berlin Wall — and demanded that Gorbachev “tear down this Wall,” he was lampooned the next day on the editorial pages. He is a dreamer, wrote commentators. Realpolitik looks different.
Europeans today — just like the Europeans of 1987 — cannot imagine that the world might change.
I think the world has changed and, if we can summon the moral clarity to stay the course, it can be made to continue to change.
The question becomes; how much extreme-left propagandizing portraying success as failure, more often than not moral failure, can the American public be depended upon to ignore?
We were told this would be a long war as early as September of 2001. We can win it only if we have not become as decadent, or complacent, as our home-grown anti-Americans would desire.