I am such a news geek sometimes, it ought to make me blush. Thankfully, I have a highly-underdeveloped sense of shame. Anyway.
Got a little excited when I saw the headline to a Washington Post op-ed piece: “The New Near East.” Yes, I thought, yes, that’s it exactly. That’s what we’re working and bleeding for — a new Near East. A multi-ethnic democratic republic in Iraq. An Israel free of suicide bombers. A Palestinian state without Arafat’s kleptocratic death cult. A religiously-tolerant Saudi Arabia. New hope for real progress in Syria and Egypt and Iran. Turkey finally admitted to the EU.
Damn near popped out of my 501s, I got so excited by the possibilities offered by that simple headline.
Then, of course, I read the actual article — and it ended my excitement like the high school football star finally getting his date’s prom dress off and discovering she has a penis.
Here’s the offending member:
EU cooperation needs to be broadened in the future to cover “the new Near East”: Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. The Communist Iron Curtain used to shut these countries in. Now, as the EU’s frontiers move eastward, the curtain is gone but many people in the new neighbor countries feel they’ve once again ended up on the wrong side of a border. This time they feel shut out.
Forget the excitement of genuine reform in one of the world’s saddest and most repressed and violent regions. Don’t bother thinking of the possible benefits purchased at the price of Coalition blood in Iraq. Europe has grown so myopic, so senile, that their “new Near East” is merely the old Central Europe.
So, like a 14-year-old boy, let them play with their new members — we still have some exciting work to do.