The Syrian army has left Lebanon, after popular protests forcing them out. Muammar Gaddafi is desperately sucking up to the west. Free elections have been held in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are to be held soon in Egypt and in Lebanon. The Palestinian Authority held free elections, put together a cease-fire and called a so-far mostly successful moratorium against attacks on Israel.
Arab and Muslim absolutism is slowly being replaced with western ideas of freedom. Peace is breaking out in the Middle East - and I mean real peace: peace with freedom. It's almost like watching the Berlin Wall fall all over again and freedom take hold across Eastern Europe.
Who could possibly object to the latest developments in the Middle East? Well, there's Al-Qaeda’s Dr. Ayman Zawahiri of course; and (Abu Musab) al-Zarqawi and the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars. And Saddam’s remaining Baathists. And the entire unwashed anti-war movement across the west. And Robert Fisk.
Turns out, the critics - liberal and cynical and peacenik and 'realist' - were wrong, just as they were wrong about the Cold War. The critics got Reagan wrong and the Soviets wrong, and now they've got Bush wrong and the 'Arab street' wrong. Time for them to 'fess up on both.
When the Soviets fell it was chiefly due to the Reagan Doctrine which was crafted not to contain the Soviet Empire, but to destroy it. So too with the 'Bush Doctrine,' which seeks not to contain Islamic terrorism but to hunt it down and destroy it,and destroy those who support it.
When the Arab street finally got to speak and say what they thought about this doctrine, they called - not for American blood - but for freedom and dignity and prosperity. For something we take for granted called 'normality.' The 'Bush Doctrine offered them a chance at liberation, and they're grabbing it with both hands. As one commentator has suggested, "the two central propositions of the Bush doctrine have been vindicated: 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."
Back in March even the New York Times had to admit that maybe Bush's foreign policy was ... um, well.. probably justified by events, and things have only got better since then: "It's not even spring yet [in the Northern Hemisphere], but a long-frozen political order seems to be cracking all over the Middle East. Cautious hopes for something new and better are stirring along the Tigris and the Nile, the elegant boulevards of Beirut, and the impoverished towns of the Gaza Strip....
"[T]his has so far been a year of heartening surprises -- each one remarkable in itself, and taken together truly astonishing. The Bush administration is entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these advances. It boldly proclaimed the cause of Middle East democracy at a time when few in the West thought it had any realistic chance. And for all the negative consequences that flowed from the American invasion of Iraq, there could have been no democratic elections there this January if Saddam Hussein had still been in power."
If even the New York Times can almost admit the truth, then perhaps it's time we heard this from further afield: Bush was right.