Mark Steyn writes in today's Chicago Sun-Times that Iraq will be OK in the end. And he brings up a very good point worth considering not just for this historic occasion, but for other issues as well.
The Western press are all holed up in the same part of Baghdad, and the insurgents very conveniently set off bombs visible from their hotel windows in perfect synchronization with the U.S. TV news cycle. But, if they could look beyond the plumes of smoke, they'd see that Iraq's going to be better than OK, that it will be the economic powerhouse of the region, and that the various small nods toward democracy going on in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere suggest that the Arab world has figured out what the foreign policy ''realists'' haven't: that the trend is in the Bush direction. When Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, warned that the U.S. invasion of Iraq would ''destabilize'' the entire region, he was right. That's why it was such a great idea.
The ''realpolitik'' types spent so long worshipping at the altar of stability they were unable to see it was a cult for psychos. The geopolitical scene is never stable, it's always dynamic. If the Western world decides in 2005 that it can ''contain'' President Sy Kottik of Wackistan indefinitely, that doesn't mean the relationship between the two parties is set in aspic. Wackistan has a higher birth rate than the West, so after 40 years of ''stability'' there are a lot more Wackistanis and a lot fewer Frenchmen. And Wackistan has immense oil reserves, and President Kottik has used the wealth of those oil reserves to fund radical schools and mosques in hitherto moderate parts of the Muslim world. And cheap air travel and the Internet and ATM machines that take every bank card on the planet and the freelancing of nuclear technology mean that Wackistan's problems are no longer confined to Wackistan. For a few hundred bucks, they can be outside the Empire State Building within seven hours. Nothing stands still. ''Stability'' is a fancy term to dignify laziness and complacency as sophistication.
Quite. It seems we are too often afraid to challenge stability in order to do the right thing. Take slavery in the United States. It sat on the table of dicussion with nothing happening to fix an obvious moral question only because it would result in a massive economic downturn for the fledgling country. But had it ben addressed then, we might never have seen the horrible war that divided this country as a result.
Right now, we are arguing back and forth over the need to reform social security, and many want to argue that to do so would cause massive deficits. God forbid we mess up the kitchen in order to make a good meal. So instead of fixing it now, we see the likes of Richard Durbin saying "there is no problem. The system is solvent until 20whenever..." But what happens then, Rich? Is it possible that we could fix it now for the longer term? Please tell me why it is wiser to boot the ball down the court of time so as to avoid any unpleasentness now. Or is it because it does not fit within the political framework of certain parties? Without the issue to exploit, what would happen to the masses of AARP members that vote Democrat? Might lose some of that base, so let's keep it on the table, right?
Bah! As in all cases, I am willing to go through hard times in order to see better ones down the road. The social contract is not just between people living in the here and now, it is between generations of the past, generations of the future and what we can do to honor both. Today, Iraq had their first real democratic elections...EVER. And they did so because there were brave men and women willing to fight and die for it. Because there were people willing to do the unpopular and unstable thing in order to do the right thing. It is simplistic to compare broken eggs with the loss of life, but the age old phrase of breaking eggs to make an omlette does still seem to fit. I don't like how some of this omlette has been made, but the fact that it is even being made at all is historic, is right and it is morally just. And not just for our times, or even just for our people; but for all times and for all people. That is all.