Sunday, May 22, 2005

Pax Americana, Second Call

Fouad Ajami, writing a must read featured article in the Sunday (May 22) Wall street Journal Opinion Journal, says:

"George W. Bush has unleashed a tsunami on this region," a shrewd Kuwaiti merchant who knows the way of his world said to me. The man had no patience with the standard refrain that Arab reform had to come from within, that a foreign power cannot alter the age-old ways of the Arabs. "Everything here--the borders of these states, the oil explorations that remade the life of this world, the political outcomes that favored the elites now in the saddle--came from the outside. This moment of possibility for the Arabs is no exception." A Jordanian of deep political experience at the highest reaches of Arab political life had no doubt as to why history suddenly broke in Lebanon, and could conceivably change in Syria itself before long. "The people in the streets of Beirut knew that no second Hama is possible; they knew that the rulers were under the gaze of American power, and knew that Bush would not permit a massive crackdown by the men in Damascus."

Aptly entitled Bush Country, it eloquently describes what is happening in Arabia, using the word 'bomb' only once:

The insurgents were busy with their bombs and their plots of mayhem: Georgian troops guarded the National Assembly and controlled access to it. But a people were taking to a new political way. A woman garbed in black, a daughter of a distinguished clerical Shia family, made the rounds among her fellow legislators. Religious scruples decreed that she could not shake the hand of a male stranger. But she was proud and wily, a free woman in a newly emancipated polity. She let me know how much she knew about the ways and the literature of the West. American power may have turned on its erstwhile ally, Ahmed Chalabi. But his appearance in the assembly's gallery drew to him parliamentarians of every stripe. He, too, had about him the excitement of this new politics.

Somehow I am under the distinct impression that the New York or Los Angeles Times, or the Washington Post, reporting that paragraph, would have stopped at the first colon, embellishing the first sentence fragment with body counts and gruesome details of blood-splattered walls and shattered lives, before informing us gleefully that this was, indeed, Bush Country! The Associated Press wire would have carried nothing, unless their own stringers had actively participated in the carnage. Newsweek would have been, as usual, pissing in the wind.

Sorry, but there can be no neutral ground in this conflict. You're either for us, or against us. You can no longer straddle the fence.

The tone of Mr. Ajamis article is correct. As I have posted previously, the exporting, encouraging, and supporting of the freedom process must be continued and reinforced. However, restricting the process to regions of Arabia is not enough. It must be expanded to all regions. Persia. Africa. Likening the process to an unleashed tsunami is significant. As in the humanitarian efforts immediately following the Indonesian tsunami, where the ballyhooed UN relief was several days and many dollars short, with massive first response provided by the USA, Australia, Indonesia, and a very few others, the situation in the Sudan must be addressed. East Africa should become Bush Country also. And quickly.

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