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February 28, 2005

Paradigm Shift: And Now a WaPo Columnist

The media herd's group think continues, but now it's at least stampeding in an agreeable direction:

Mideast Makeover? Popular Protests Spur Changes From Autocrats

By Jackson Diehl


As thousands of Arabs demonstrated for freedom and democracy in Beirut and Cairo last week, and the desperate dictators of Syria and Egypt squirmed under domestic and international pressure, it was hard not to wonder whether the regional transformation that the Bush administration hoped would be touched off by its invasion of Iraq is, however tentatively, beginning to happen.

Those who have declared the war an irretrievable catastrophe have been gloating for at least a year over the supposed puncturing of what they portray as President Bush's fanciful illusion that democracy would take root in Iraq and spread through the region.

...

Virtually no one in Washington expected such a snowballing of events following Iraq's elections.

No one? This calls to mind Pauline Kael's infamous quote that "No one I know voted for Nixon."

Obviously, some in Washington believed this possible. To name one obscure figure: the President of the United States, for example.

Not many yet believe that they will lead to real democracy in Egypt, Lebanon or Syria anytime soon. But it is a fact of history that the collapse of a rotted political order usually happens quickly, and takes most of the experts by surprise.

...

Still, less than two years after Saddam Hussein was deposed, the fact is that Arabs are marching for freedom and shouting slogans against tyrants in the streets of Beirut and Cairo -- and regimes that have endured for decades are visibly tottering. Those who claimed that U.S. intervention could never produce such events have reason to reconsider.

It seems to be the story of the week.

But don't get too hopeful. Sheep get bored pretty easily.


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