Friday, November 07, 2003
....is defunct, at least if the President is to be believed.
Thursday's speech at the National Endowment for Democracy is a break with the past. Specifically, it is a break with how his father dealt with the Middle East.
In days of old when knights were bold, as early as September 10th, 2001, we relied on our sumbitches to maintain stability and the availability of oil at market prices. Saddam tried to upset that applecart and was put back in his box in 1991. Unfortunately, our sumbitches had to engage in Wahabist sumbitchery to maintain peace with the clerics and an increasingly frustrated population of restless young men. We never understood the terrible price of stability until September 11th.
Bush the Elder relied on the local satraps to Keep the Peace. For a time, it worked, as long as the peace was dictated by a desire of the ruling classes for a general Arab peace and the conflict with the Israelis was kept at a manageable simmer. But it only worked as long as the Angry Young Men were kept under control. When the Saudis exiled bin Laden and lost control of him, the clock started ticking, and so did a generation of The Wahabist impulse was supposed to be kept under control and at the beck and call of the Royal Family. The Princelings paid protection to the bin Laden organization to keep them away from the Saudi heartland. The Saudi princes never counted on a talented young man who actually took their sectarian fanaticism seriously. Wahabism, after all, had become a vehicle to provide legitimacy to the House of Saud. Now, on September 11th and beyond, an ideology founded on religious rage, suspicion, and fascism exploded throughout the Middle East.
These men had no interest in stability; rather, they were a millenialist movement of young religious fascists, and they wished to destroy the Old Order and advance Islam by means of the sword.
Our classical answer was to rely on our sumbitches. History revealed that that reliance was a terrible blunder. And so, yesterday's speech is a conscious, deliberate break with the State Department and the old Eastern Establishment of both parties that had curried favor with the Princes since the Second World War. Liberal blogger Michael J. Totten calls it the death of Kissingerian realpolitik, in so many words. The United States will pursue a doctrine founded on the advance of democratic government in an Islamic world fascinated by fascism and hate. Constitutional government and a civic democracy is a tall order, but if the Iraqis I have been reading are to be believed, it is welcome by many of the common people as well as the middle classes. And it comes not a moment too soon.