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What Bush and Napoleon have in common

The Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland finds that the U.S. intervention in Iraq is yielding benefits in other parts of the region, particularly in Egypt and Israel. Hoagland quotes Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the Egyptian democratic activist, who told him that, while he initially opposed the U.S. action in Iraq, he now understands that it

has unfrozen the Middle East, just as Napoleon’s 1798 expedition did. Elections in Iraq force the theocrats and autocrats to put democracy on the agenda, even if only to fight against us. Look, neither Napoleon nor President Bush could impregnate the region with political change. But they were able to be the midwives.

While Hoagland may be too optimistic in suggesting that the situation in Israel is now unfrozen in any sense that ultimately will matter, his larger point is well taken.

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