But as with similar liberal publications in the early 1990s that were shocked to discover that despite all the mud they had flung over the past ten years, the 1980s wasn’t too shabby a decade, Foreign Policy seems a little surprised to discover that the preceding decade wasn’t all that bad, either:
The past 10 years have gotten a bad rap as the “Naughty Aughties” — and deservedly so, it seems, for a decade that began with 9/11 and the Enron scandal and closed with the global financial crisis and the Haiti earthquake. In between, we witnessed the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, SARS and swine flu, not to mention vicious fighting in Sudan and Congo, Afghanistan and, oh yes, Iraq. Given that our brains seem hard-wired to remember singular tragedy over incremental success, it’s a hard sell to convince anyone that the past 10 years are worthy of praise.
But these horrific events, though mortal and economic catastrophes for many millions, don’t sum up the decade as experienced by most of the planet’s 6-billion-plus people. For all its problems, the first 10 years of the 21st century were in fact humanity’s finest, a time when more people lived better, longer, more peaceful, and more prosperous lives than ever before.
Hey, it was nice while it lasted. Or as one of Mark Steyn’s readers quipped in early 2008, neatly lashing up Obama’s punitive worldview with the rhetoric all presidential candidates have to say when they’re out on the hustings, “My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it.”
I think we can certainly declare Mission Accomplished for that.
(Via the Tatler.)