Action Inaction

There’s a new school of thought in conservative foreign policy circles. What started small may grow larger, especially after President Bush leaves office. For lack of a better name, NRO’s Rich Lowry calls them “to hell with them hawks.”


Nine months before Operation Iraqi Freedom, I wrote, “We don’t know if, in ten years, Iraq will be better or worse than it is today. We do know we cannot allow it to remain the same.” Those words concluded an essay arguing in favor of attempting to democratize Iraq. I’m not sure if that conclusion was an attempt to temper my optimism with a little cynicism – or if the first 800 words were meant to leaven my cynicism with a bunch of optimism. Whatever the case, don’t let it be said that VodkaPundit ever told you it was going to be easy – or even possible. But I figured bringing democracy to the Arab world was worth a try.

There were a lot of people just like me. Thanks to some silly editorial cartoons in a Danish publication no one had ever heard of, now there are fewer of us. Lowry writes that Fred Barnes, long a supporter of the Bush Doctrine, says of the Arabs:

…from the size of these demonstrations, these are not jihadists, these are not people that are trying to get into Iraq so they can blow up a Shiite mosque or something or kill American soldiers, I think this is mainstream Islam in Britain and Denmark and all over Europe and then we see these — some of them are supposedly friendly Arab governments like Egypt and other places promoting this. This is not a fringe protest against Western civilization.


In other words, Barnes thinks that democratization might not be possible. Lowry concludes:

But it is at the least uncomfortable–although perhaps not strictly inconsistent–to believe the things Fred said last night and still support a sweeping program of democratization based on the belief that people everywhere have the same yearning for freedom.

I’m guessing this contradiction, or semi-contradiction, will works itself out in coming months and we will begin to see the real emergence of the


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