"If we can strike a peace deal in the Holy Land by '08, stabilize Iraq under moderate Shi'a rule, integrate southeast Afghanistan under central government rule and moderate the behaviour of warlords like Dostum and Khan, begin to bring economic and political reforms, in collaborative fashion rather than at the barrel of a gun, to the Egypts and Saudis of the region--what massive progress this will portend in the conflict against radical Islam. And, yes, it's within grasp. There will be many setbacks--but I feel the broad direction of history is at our backs--at least at this juncture. These are exciting times indeed. A tad giddy, here? Perhaps. But if Asia and Europe could become largely democratic after the turbulence of communism, nationalism and fascism, well, why can't the Middle East after decades of authoritarianism? Yes, these are largely pre-Englightenment societies. But they instinctually hungered and were jubilant at the exercise of their newfound electoral freedoms--without having read their Montesquieu or Rousseau. It's called basic human dignity--and Bush's policies in Iraq just provided some to millions of heretofore disenfranchised Iraqis. Yes, there has been woeful carnage and suffering aplenty. But that is sometimes the price of large forward strides in history's evolution towards freer societies, alas."Isn't it a pity there's no HTML tag to "read out this text in a Gillette ad voiceover"? I especially like the "basic human dignity" bit, just after the "pre-Enlightenment societies" bit. And who knows, perhaps it was the broad direction of history at our backs that just blew the Hercules out of the sky?
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Eurosavant has an excellent post on the Iraqi elections: sensible, measured and rich in links. See also Straight Banana, with an interesting analysis of the unlikely similarities between the British and EU constitutions. Or there's Chris Lightfoot with a statistical view of immigration and the media. Compare and contrast Greg of Belgravia Dispatch's messianic ravings:
Posted by Alex at 5:56 pm