Aug 17 2006
Jed Babbin has joined the ranks of the arm-chair instant experts today by declaring the ME is closer to Syrian and Iranian visions of the future than that of our efforts to forge peaceful democracies. He could not be more wrong:
From the latter, Iran’s Amadinejad and Syria’s Assad have both announced the birth of a different “new Middle East,” in which Mr. Bush’s version was more hallucination than vision. The region has changed, Assad said, “”because of the achievements of the [Hizballah] resistance.” The facts on the ground compel the conclusion that Assad’s assessment is closer to the truth than Mr. Bush’s, and Ahmadinejad’s intent will cast the region into the fire.
Sorry Jed, but this conclusion is a bunch of hyperventilating idiocy (I know this won’t win me many links). First off, you would have to conclude that all our efforts to date would have been sufficient “signal” and “pressure” (too favorite words in diplomacy) to make Syria and Iran capitulate without a fight. Why would anyone assume the more we pushed Syria and Iran into a corner they cannot get out of the more civil and calm they would get? That is idiotic on the face of it. I have said it many times – as we narrow down the operational enclaves the terrorists can call home the more violent and desparate they are going to become. They want to die for this cause, not negotiate a surrender. Where is the martyrdom and 71 virgins in a surrender?
The second mistake Babbin (and Lowry and all the other new handwringers) makes is he looks at Syria and Iran in isolation. Since 9-11 we changed our policies and decided to try democracy over constant military actions and bribes to despot dictators. There are no other choices here folks. There are old ways where we relied on strongmen to control their people (and thus prove out the Jihadists claims we are imperialists acting through puppets) or we go with self rule through democracy and wait for the people to realize they do not want to risk their freedoms through violence. I do not have the answers to how to make this work, I only know the alternative to democracy working is terrible and will lead us right back to here once we realize it is a dead end filled with military actions.
I am not an arm-chair expert but an observer. I have observed Afgahnistan turn to a democracy with a huge majority supporting the new order. Yes their are insurgents – but the are a small fraction of the people and are being dealt with. I have seen Pakistan become an incredible ally and risk much to helpe purge itself of radicals. Anyone believe Pakistan would have turned over all those terrorists to us and the UK bomb plot prior to 9-11? Look at the gulf states of UAE, Kuwait, Qater, etc. They are providing us logistical, economic and intelligence support while dabbling with the idea of democracy.
We also have democracry in Lebanon and in Palestine. While Palestinians choice poorly and need to learn a lesson, the lesson they will learn is they need to chose better leaders – not that they need to kill more Americans or Israelis. Are they there yet? Of course not. But that is the only answer for them: make better choices. Otherwise they chose to kill others. The need for change is pretty clear here folks. Lebanon is also at a crossroads with their tolerance of Hezbollah in their midst. And opefully they too will begin to chose freedom over violent jihadists with god complexes.
Babbin’s article is a jumble from a confused and inexperienced mind. He sees defeat for Israel simply because some Hezbollah fighters still live. By that standard the Nazis are still a force in the world. We need people to understand the long term picture and include in it two things: Iran and Syria do not see themselves as weak and neither of them will go quietly into the new world of a democratic ME. The ME is now full of democracies at various levels of stability and progress. These two nations are from a dwindling number who have strong men left and only are the only two who support terrorism enough to keep it a world threat. Babbin is sadly wrong because he doesn’t understand the truly hard part is now ahead of us. We are at the hard headed core of the problem.
We need to keep pressure on Lebanon until they reject Hezbollah’s militia in their presence. We need to then move on to burn out the Islamo Fascist fever raging in Iran and Syria. And that is and always will be the end goal – burn that bloody fever out of those societies so they can cool down and sp their people can have productive lives in peace. The Iranian cartoons are such a marginal side show it is insane to let something like that divert our attention – but Babbin brings them up as an important signal of some kind. I don’t see anything new there. How do we burn out the fever of Islamo Fascism? Bush is banking on democracy and I see no other solution. But I do know one thing. If we give up and runaway, that fever will spread and we will then be engaged in so many military conflicts we may actually bleed ourselves out trying to fight it. The hard part is ahead because we have a chance to take out the last bastions of this insanity. Now is not the time to go all wobbly. But for some they have given up already. After all we have accomplished they have given up. There was no instant success. Even though, by all measures, the ME is rejecting the old despot ways people are giving up because it is simply taking too long. Its like quitting in WW II after the Germans broke through our lines in the Battle of the Bulge. We had rolled back the Nazi’s to their core base at that time too. But we did not quit.