Onward neocon soldiers.
We have been noting the impossible-not-to-note rise in President Bush's stock of late — domestically and even more dramatically in the international arena — due to felicitous democratic movement in Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Egypt, Qatar and even Saudi Arabia, as well as unprecedented unanimity in condemnation of Syria for its occupation and manipulation of Lebanon.
But is it Bush himself, or the Bush Doctrine of fostering democracy abroad that is really on the rise? And if it is the latter (as I think it is), then we are really talking about the rehabilitation of the so-called neocons and in particular Paul Wolfowitz. David Brooks thinks so too:
- Let us now praise Paul Wolfowitz. Let us now take another look at the man who has pursued - longer and more forcefully than almost anyone else - the supposedly utopian notion that people across the Muslim world might actually hunger for freedom.
....with political earthquakes now shaking the Arab world, it's time to step back and observe that over the course of his long career - in the Philippines, in Indonesia, in Central and Eastern Europe, and now in the Middle East - Wolfowitz has always been an ardent champion of freedom.
...."It's fascinating how many echoes this is going to have," [Wolfowitz] said. "The Iraqi election is an inspiration. It's going to be a real challenge to all absolute rulers."
He went on to suggest that American democracy-promotion could now get back onto its preferred course. Iraq, he said, was the outlier. "Iraq is exceptional because of the use of the U.S. military," he observed.
Normally, the U.S. plays the supporting role. For example, Americans can usefully raise the profile of dissidents so dictators feel less inclined to kill them. Wolfowitz was the first U.S. official to meet with Corazón Aquino. The U.S. can use its access to dictators to pressure and annoy them. [NY Times]
Exactly, and that is just what the administration is doing now - RIGHT now, in fact (see below).
Iraq was the jolt to the system of the Middle East, the enema it needed to get things flowing. We must help keep up the pressure, we must keep front-loading the system so to speak; but having done so once, we hopefully will not have to do the explosive obstruction-removal on the back-end of the system again in the near-to-medium future. Once the digestive system starts really flowing of its own accord, there's no stopping it.
Bush kept hammering away at the Syrian occupation of Lebanon yet again today in a rousing speech at the National Defense University:
- Across the Middle East, a critical mass of events is taking that region in a hopeful new direction. Historic changes have many causes, yet these changes have one factor in common. A businessman in Beirut recently said, "We have removed the mask of fear. We're not afraid anymore." Pervasive fear is the foundation of every dictatorial regime — the prop that holds up all power not based on consent. And when the regime of fear is broken, and the people find their courage and find their voice, democracy is their goal, and tyrants, themselves, have reason to fear.