The road ahead in the Middle East is of course winding and uncertain. As we’ve said before, it is likely that we will not, in our lifetimes, know the outcome of President Bush’s bold strategy of reforming the Arab world. But one would have to be singularly obtuse not to recognize that currently, President Bush’s strategy is enjoying a moment of triumph, with hopeful developments from Morocco to Turkey.
Today the Washington Post, which is, in my view, the most respectable voice of the Democratic Party, noted the successes the administration is enjoying: “Mideast Strides Lift Bush, But Challenges Remain”. The Post acknowledges the current winning streak:
A powerful confluence of events in the Middle East in recent weeks has infused President Bush’s drive to spread democracy with a burst of momentum, according to supporters and critics alike, and the president now faces the challenge of figuring out how to capitalize on it in a region long resistant to change.
But here is what I want to point out: the bulk of the Post’s article consists of “analysis” of the administration’s role in the present Middle Eastern thaw from the following critics:
Sandy Berger, President Clinton’s National Security Advisor, now under investigation for destroying documents smuggled out of the National Archives.
Jon Stewart, described as “a liberal talk show host on Comedy Central.”
Nancy Soderberg, former Clinton aide who is the “author of a new book critical of Bush policy.”
Mara Rudman, NSC staffer in the Clinton administration.
Edward Djerejian, who appears to be a genuinely nonpartisan diplomat.
And Ray Close, who says:
If Bush fails to comprehend those subtle nuances, and makes the fatal mistake of arrogantly portraying a Syrian withdrawal in Lebanon as a personal triumph for himself in his ‘War on Terror’ and his ‘Spreading Democracy’ campaign — the fruits may turn out to be very bitter indeed. We are again tampering here with a very fragile structure.
Who is Ray Close? One of the legion of far-left, Arabist CIA officers who have seen their worldviews shattered by September 11 and the Bush administration’s fresh approach to the greater Middle East. Close writes for off-the-charts-left Counter Punch:
Apologists for the disasters now facing America in Iraq have been, with astonishing consistency, afraid to go back to square one and admit that the idea was stupid and ill-advised in the first place….Particularly galling is the pious statement, so often made by apologists (of both parties) that “at least the Iraqi people are better off today than they were when Saddam was in power”. That glib assertion should be treated as the canard that it really is.
Yes, there’s a mainstream view: bring back Saddam. Here is a comment on Syria that Close sent to a lefty blogger:
I’m no apologist for the present Baathist regime in Syria.
He is, actually.
Hey, guys — does that sound familiar? This is pure neo-con bullshit again, spoon-fed to Gertz by his “informants” among the neo-con faction in the Pentagon, or, just as likely, straight by the Israeli embassy in Washington.
There is is again: the whiff of anti-Semitism that seems to waft upward from far-left, “Arabist” CIA and State Department officers who have never been able to envision any path to “progress” in the Middle East other than selling out Israel.
But here’s my point: The Washington Post acknowledges a moment of triumph in the execution of President Bush’s foreign policy, and then enlists, to comment on that triumph, a succession of Democrats, including at least one, Close, who is far outside the mainstream. Remember the Clinton administration? I’ll deliver a six-pack to anyone who can discover a story in the Post about the success of one of Clinton’s policies, which consisted of reactions from five Republicans, one of whom made videotapes about drug running in Arkansas. Make it a twelve-pack.