It is, indeed, the time for change.
Can this be true? Are my eyes deceiving me? Has my Lasik surgery gone bad and I am only imagining that I read this in the NY Times
today:...this has so far been a year of heartening surprises - each one remarkable in itself, and taken together truly astonishing. The Bush administration is entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these advances. It boldly proclaimed the cause of Middle East democracy at a time when few in the West thought it had any realistic chance. And for all the negative consequences that flowed from the American invasion of Iraq, there could have been no democratic elections there this January if Saddam Hussein had still been in power.
An editorial in the "paper of record" that mentions the Bush administration in something even approaching a good light? I am stunned. It only took the destruction of the Taliban, the toppling of Saddam Hussein followed by free elections, Libya abandoning nuclear weapons, Egypt considering real elections (I'll believe that when I see it) the Syrians turning over Saddam's half brother and then the pro-Syrian puppet regime in Lebanon announcing their imminent retirement. One would think they would have waited until after the President had warmed up a little.
But then even the French are emboldened at the apparent retreat of the Syrians from Lebanon (insert gratuitous French retreat joke here). The French issued a joint statement
today with the US demanding that the Syrians withdraw from Lebanon- I've not seen the statement yet but I assume it went something like this:United States: Syria- pack your crap and get out. We are not kidding.France: Yeah!
But even the French can't bring me down today. The Times of India offers this bit:
Syrian Opposition figures on Tuesday hailed the fall of the Damascus-backed government in Beirut under the weight of mass street protests as a possible catalyst for democratic change in their own country.
I know it is too early to count my dominoes, but I can't help it. People Power is the order of the day. After the bad day I had yesterday I am only too happy to read that
...there is little chance that the symbolism of the opposition's victory has been lost on the wider Arab world, including Syria.
Arab newspapers are weighing up the possible knock-on effect of events in Lebanon on other Arab states, asking whether it is the precursor of the spread of genuine democracy across the region.
Even al Jazzera is running an article that concludes with:
"And Syria should consider what is happening in a sober manner and not thwart the ideals demonstrated by Lebanon's youth: It is, indeed, the time for change."
Our good friend Marc Schulman at American Future summed it up best: "When the Berlin Wall fell, I thought it was a great time to be alive. That's how I feel now." Marc then goes on to blow my mind even further in response to one of his commenters with this gem:
...if democracy spreads in the Muslim world, people there will have less of an incentive to emigrate. To where? To Europe. So democracy in the Middle East, while it may lessen the European clash of civilizations, would accelerate the decline in European populations, thereby increasing the average ages of European populations, thereby worsening their dependency ratios, thereby hastening the collapse of their financial and social welfare systems, and thereby intensifying their social and political conflicts.
Are you kidding me? Peace in the Middle East, the end of the latest "clash of civilizations" and the EU melts down even faster? All I can ask for is that the dollar gain on the euro and all will be right in my world.
So gentle reader it is a happier Dr. D that signs off for tonight. I know that OBL is still on the loose, and that another 9/11 could happen at any time. But for today at least the world is a better place than it was yesterday. Who knows, if the NY Times can almost see the light perhaps the others aren't too far behind. OK, maybe I got a little carried away there. But one can always dream. Just ask the people of Beirut.