Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Minds are changing about the Middle East

So sayeth USNews' Michael Barone in his colum "Minds Are Changing". While the anti-American, anti-Dubya haters keep hating - Gore and Kerry lost!!! MOVE ON!!! - saner minds (read: not Al Franken or Michael Moore) are starting to grudgingly acknowledge that some good things are starting to happen:

The Washington Post 's David Ignatius, who covered Lebanon in the 1980s and has kept in touch since, has been skeptical that the Bush administration's policy would change things for the better. But reporting from Beirut last week, he wrote movingly of "the movement for political change that has suddenly coalesced in Lebanon and is slowly gathering force elsewhere in the Arab world." Ignatius interviewed Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader long a critic of the United States. Jumblatt's words are striking: "It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it." As Middle East expert Daniel Pipes writes, "For the first time in three decades, Lebanon now seems within reach of regaining its independence."

Minds are changing in Europe, too. Claus Christian Malzahn in Der Spiegel . "Maybe the people of Syria, Iraq, or Jordan will get the idea in their heads to free themselves from their oppressive regimes just as the East Germans did," he writes. "Just a thought for Old Europe to chew on: Bush might be right, just like Reagan was."

"Tipping point." And minds are changing in the United States. On Nightline, the New York Times 's Thomas Friedman and, with caveats, the New Yorker 's Malcolm Gladwell agreed that the Iraqi election was a "tipping point" and declined Ted Koppel's invitation to say that things could easily tip back the other way. One Democrat...is the party's most likely 2008 nominee, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. She voted for the Iraq war and has not wavered in her support--she avoided voting for the $87 billion before voting against it. She has kept clear of the Michael Moore left and its shrill denunciations of Bush and has kept her criticisms well within the bounds of normal partisan discourse...Moveon.org may want to keep shrieking about weapons of mass destruction, but Senator Clinton is moving on.

George W. Bush gambled that actions can change minds. So far, he's winning.

Read it all. (I don't have to pay a royalty to Glenn Reynolds to use that phrase, do I?)

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