CAN HE CONSOLIDATE HIS REVOLUTION?
New York Post, January 8, 2008
GEORGE W. Bush will set a new presidential record on his Middle East grand tour, visiting at least 10 countries in a short period. In some, he'll be the first
Cynics would suggest that Bush is looking for photo opportunities that might add some spice to his future memoirs. More generous commentators might see the tour as the continuation of an American tradition: All US presidents since Woodrow Wilson have dreamed of themselves as peacemakers and tried to help others sort out ancient disputes.
Both assessments may be true. After all, why shouldn't Bush look for a photo opportunity, and why shouldn't he try his luck at peacemaking? But those explanations are inadequate.
First off, the greater Middle East is no longer a distant region whose importance to the
Since President Franklin Roosevelt, US
That policy's failure - illustrated by the emergence of pro-Soviet Arab regimes in the '50s and the '60s, the Communist seizure of power in Afghanistan in 1977 and the Khomeinist revolution in Iran in 1979 - didn't persuade Washington that a different analysis might be required. But Bush realized post-9/11 that it was the very status quo that
Bush backed his words with deeds by taking military action to remove two of the region's most vicious regimes in
The upshot: The status quo has shattered. Yet (even leaving aside the peoples of
Indeed, the prime beneficiary has been the Islamic Republic in
Other beneficiaries include
* Freed from the Chechnyan albatross, Vladimir Putin's
* The end of the Muslim revolt in Xingjian has enabled
* With no more mujahedin coming from
Arab states from
The problem is that, while the old status quo has fallen, a new one has yet to take shape. The struggle against the enemies of new
The State Department may have designed Bush's final tour of the region as a signal that
The president's tour can acquire a positive meaning only if it is used to shape a new alliance for reform, progress and democratization as the chief guarantor of
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