Monday, May 23, 2005

Meat on Monday

Catching up on my reading, I came across this in Opinion Journal:

The weight of American power, historically on the side of the dominant order, now drives this new quest among the Arabs. For decades, the intellectual classes in the Arab world bemoaned the indifference of American power to the cause of their liberty. Now a conservative American president had come bearing the gift of Wilsonian redemption. For a quarter century the Pax Americana had sustained the autocracy of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak: He had posed as America's man on the Nile, a bulwark against the Islamists. He was sly and cunning, running afoul of our purposes in Iraq and over Israeli-Palestinian matters. He had nurtured a culture of antimodernism and anti-Americanism, and had gotten away with it. Now the wind from Washington brought tidings: America had wearied of Mr. Mubarak, and was willing to bet on an open political process, with all its attendant risks and possibilities. The brave oppositional movement in Cairo that stepped forth under the banner of Kifaya ("Enough!") wanted the end of his reign: It had had enough of his mediocrity, enough of the despotism of an aging officer who had risen out of the military bureaucracy to entertain dynastic dreams of succession for his son. Egyptians challenging the quiescence of an old land may have had no kind words to say about America in the past. But they were sure that the play between them and the regime was unfolding under Mr. Bush's eyes.

It seems criticism of the Iraq War comes in two flavors; the we put them in power flavor, and the it's none of our business flavor. Neither of these are valid. Past mistakes of policy (tacit support of dictators) does not argue against action today. As for the second "excuse" - when these dictators and tyrants decided that it was easier to deflect internal dissatisfaction toward our borders, than to risk losing power (and dynastic rule), this was no longer a viable option. See North Korea, and its attempts to deflect attention from it's miserable performance as rulers of state.