Glenn Reynolds has an image of the cover of the Independent asking was Bush right after all? The accompanying map provides a nice bit of visual evidence as to why he was.
It’s interesting to watch the conventional wisdom suddenly change once it became clear that Iraq was not the disaster it was made out to be. Hillary Clinton sounds more and more like a “neocon” as it becomes clear which way the political winds are blowing. The European press is actually daring to complement President Bush, if even in a backhanded way. The chattering classes are suddently deciding that maybe Bush’s Mideast policy isn’t another Vietnam after a while. The old saying that success has a thousand fathers appears to be coming true.
Of course, we all know that it won’t last. The media, especially the foreign press, has been positively vicious in their condemnation of President Bush. Bush is a Texan, an avowed Christian, and a unashamed of either. In Europe, that’s more than enough to justify all sorts of opprobrium. No doubt the second things in the Middle East take a turn for the worse (which will happen – the road to democratization is a perilous one), they’ll be right back to blaming everything on George W. Bush.
President Bush, to his credit, will continue to do what he has done since the beginning of this war. The President’s beliefs and motivations are hardly secret: when he speaks of the transformational power of liberty he means it. His philosophy — that the values of liberty and democracy are not specific to Western culture but an indelible aspect of the human spirit have largely been vindicated as across the Arab world there is a demand for democratic governance and protests against tyranny.
The press is fickle, and always has been. Despite the overwhelming leap forward made by liberty in the Middle East, now is not the time to get too cocky. The threat of Iranian nuclear weapons, the situation in North Korea, and instability in Central Asia all provide threats on the horizon. The path to democracy will be marked with setbacks, and the usually order of things is two steps forward and one step back. There will be reversals, and the process of democracy is often messy, as the Iraqis are finding out. However, it should be noted that the same intellectuals and media figures that are now praising the inroads made by democracy in the Middle East are the ones who constantly criticized the path that got us there.