Monday, February 28, 2005
Lebanese Government Steps Down
Will Assad get ahead of history and lead Syria out of Lebanon and into a freely-elected, multiparty democracy? Or will he dither and stand pat and attempt to survive the avalanche headed his way? These are the choices that the Anglo-American strategy of democratization have left with Assad. His father would choose the latter; Bashar might just be smart enough, like Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, to opt for the former. Either way, he only has weeks, possibly even days, to make his choices before the choices are made for him.
What I find most stunning is how fast change is occurring in the middle east. We have heard nothing but negativism from our media and friends on the left about the Iraq "quagmire," the fact that Bin Laden is still "on the loose," no "WMDs," not to mention Bush's "cowboy unilateralism."
What we aren't going to hear is many media-types (and certainly not any Democratic Senators) giving credit to George W. Bush for forcing the issue in Iraq. Without a dramatic military victory there (and in Afghanistan), the demonstrations we have seen in Lebanon and Ukraine wouldn't have happened. The free elections in Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan would never have occurred on their own. Nor the future free elections in Egypt. All of these events are good things, as they mean hope and opportunity for the people of the middle east. And indirectly, it will lead to increased safety and security for the United States.
FINAL NOTE: Some credit for these breathtaking changes in the world must also go to the advances in technology and communication that many of us take for granted. Cell phones, television, the internet and satellite technolgy help transmit images instantly. This free flow of information prevents government censorship and ruthless crackdowns on dissidents. Which results in the demonstartions of freedom that we watch, almost as fast as they occur.