Wednesday, July 14, 2004

U.S.: Must read for Caribbean journalists

Rich Lowry writes:


Critics of President Bush say that the war on terror is not just a military matter, but a political and ideological struggle. They, of course, are right, which is why they as much as anyone should appreciate what appears to be happening in Iraq. Since the June handover in Iraq, Islamic extremism and terrorism have been dramatically pitted against the aspirations of an Arab people for a better future. On the merits,extremism and terrorism have, of course, always been a blind alley for the Arab world. But, politically, a lot of Arabs haven't seen it that way. Now, it seems that the people of Iraq--a historically and strategically central Arab country--are beginning to see it that way. This is big news. Other regimes in the Middle East have (sort of) opposed terrorism, such as Egpyt and Saudi Arabia. But they are corrupt, dictatorial, and unpopular governments. In Iraq it is a popular (for now) government with legitimate democratic aspirations that is opposing Islamic extremism and terrorism. It is a popular Arab prime minister who is warning of the disasterous consequences of extremism for his country. This could be a crucial political and ideological turning point. If Allawi prevails in this struggle (no sure thing), it is Arabs themselves who will have rejected terror in Iraq, and Arabs themselvs who will have demonstrated the appeal of modernization over extermism. If that happens, Iraq will be (even by the standards of his critics) exactly what President Bush always hoped it would be--a crucial victory in the broader war on terror.
And a reader replies to Rich by email that
“Your insight on the new Arab paradigm is perfect and unappreciated almost everywhere. We’ve been basically stuck in the mud in the Middle East ever since the founding of Israel, and Bush has done something that no other Western leader has done: he has set up Arabs to face brother Arabs in a fight for the long-term future. Democracy vs. autocracy; the voting booth vs. the gun; free markets vs. statist-run industries; free media vs. propaganda (see Stakelbeck’s & Bom’s column yesterday on NRO) and personal fulfillment through peacefully living the values of faith, family, work, neighborhood, and country (the Reagan themes in 1980, btw) vs. murderous martyrdom. Again, NO OTHER WESTERN LEADER HAS DONE THIS.”


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