Define “Working”

We’re in a period right now where I can’t wait to check the news every day. Events, especially in the Middle East, are moving in what would have been considered an impossibly hopeful direction just a few months ago. The Bush administration believed that if the door to democracy and reform were opened in Iraq, much of the Arab world might follow. This was always a big gamble–one that we supported in part because, as we’ve often said, no one has proposed a competing plan to deal, long-term, with the problem of Islamic terrorism.
Right now, President Bush’s gamble is looking very good indeed. Something like 50 million people have been liberated in Afghanistan and Iraq. Positive developments are occurring before our eyes in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. It’s way too soon to proclaim the administration’s strategy a success; indeed, we may not be sure in our lifetimes whether the strategy that underlay the Iraq war was a sound one. But right now, it sure is fun to read the headlines.
Of course, not everyone agrees. MSNBC’s Question of the Day is: “Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria: Is the Bush Doctrine working?” Currently, 35% say “yes,” while 65% say “no.” These folks seem to have a high standard for what constitutes “working,” which I suspect tells us more about MSNBC’s readership than about the geopolitical merits of the administration’s strategy.
UPDATE: Mark Steyn says it brilliantly in this morning’s Telegraph; I’m jealous, too, because he tips his hat to Charles Johnson and Glenn Reynolds. Read it all; I thought this paragraph was especially insightful:

Even if the old thug-for-life had merely been replaced by a new thug-for-life, the latter would come to power in the wake of the cautionary tale of the former.
But some of us – notably US deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz – thought things would go a lot better than that. Wolfowitz was right, and so was Bush, and the Left, who were wrong about the Berlin Wall, were wrong again, the only difference being that this time they were joined in the dunce’s corner of history by far too many British Tories. No surprise there. The EU’s political establishment doesn’t trust its own people, so why would they trust anybody else’s? Bush trusts the American people, and he’s happy to extend the same courtesy to the Iraqi people, the Syrian people, the Iranian people, etc.

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