Bret Stephens of the Jerusalem Post, one of our favorite columnists, writes in the Chicago Sun Times: “Peace plan on course, Bush proving critics wrong.”
“[T]he thinking of the Bush administration has been to bring the Arab world into an abrupt confrontation with reality. If, in Osama bin Laden’s analysis, the United States was a flabby power that could be cowed into retreat, then Bush’s response was to prove him wrong. Ditto with Saddam, and now, it seems, with Syria’s Bashar Assad.
“Force has not been the only element of Bush’s policy. There is also a large measure of idealism. The president wants to make democratization a cornerstone of U.S. policy in the Middle East, just as it is everywhere else.
“Bush really has denied Arab radicals their strongest card; the card that really did have a large element of truth. For years, the Islamist critique of U.S. policy has been that it’s hypocritical: Supporting Israel ostensibly on account of its democratic credentials, but also supporting dictatorships such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia and, at one time, Iraq….Today this charge no longer sticks. Bush’s ‘radical’ policy toward the Middle East has at last given U.S. Middle East policy the broad consistency it formerly lacked. And it has given it a moral credibility to complement its reacquired political and military credibility.”
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