THAT is exactly what many are asking themselves now ... could democracy spread throughout the middle east? Here, the Washington Post's Jefferson Morely compiles the mea culpas of various liberal writers across the globe - admissions that seem to be appearing with increasing frequency lately.
The tipping point came last week when Lebanon's pro-Syrian government fell. The international online media, much of which had been critical of Bush during his first term, had to acknowledge democratic developments on the American president's watch. Many commentators also cited free elections in Afghanistan last fall, Palestinian elections in early January followed by the Jan. 30 Iraq elections. Then came local elections in Saudi Arabia and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's announcement of constitutional changes allowing his opposition to challenge him electorally.
Given Bush's insistence that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq would lead to a democratic political order in the Middle East, many Europeans are "somewhat embarrassed" by these developments, Sorman wrote in Le Figaro.
"Hadn't they promised, governments and media alike, that the Arab street would rise up [against U.S. military forces], that Islam would burn, that the American army would get bogged down, that the terrorist attacks would multiply, and that democracy would not result nor be exported?"
Rüdiger Lentz, a writer for German Deutsche Welle, asks if it is time to stop laying blame, and admit what is happening ... is, like, GOOD.
"After all, one has to acknowledge that Afghanistan and Iraq might have been catalysts for what we see now happening in Lebanon, in Egypt and even between the Palestinians and Israel."
Goodness ... that had to have hurt.