Monday, February 21, 2005

The strategic offensive 

Bush is confident enough of his momentum in Iraq to put the screws to Saddam's sister Ba'athist state, Syria over Lebanon. The Lebanese are jumping on the anti-Syria bandwagon, demonstrating openly, and pushing for free elections themselves.

Bush patches things up with France, and issues a double dog dare to France to stand tall and use its influence to promote democracy in Lebanon (it CAN happen!!!!!).

Momentum is building for stronger international support of the fledgling democracy in Iraq. The recent successful elections change the terms of the debate in Europe a great deal.

The Israelis are confident enough to release 500 Palestinian prisoners and withdraw from Gaza (perhaps an economy of force move to free up troops in case of a crisis with Syria?). A chance of a real Israeli-Palestinian deal is within reach.

If Syria can be defanged, and denied a base of support in Lebanon in which its proxy, Hezbollah, can operate against northern Israel while Syria can maintain plausible deniability, then momentum for such a peace deal will build even faster.

Meanwhile, if enough pressure is put on Syria so that it's hold on Lebanon begins to collapse, and Lebanon successfully holds elections, then Syria's Ba'athist regime will be hard pressed to maintain power while surrounded by emerging democracies Lebanon, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and long-time democracy and NATO ally Turkey.

Syria's people will want their shot at democracy, too.

Meanwhile, George Bush is turning up the rhetorical heat on Saudi Arabia to grant more freedom to its people.

North Korea backpedals from the brink (again).

Hillary Clinton jumps on the Iraq bandwagon, actually admitting that much of Iraq is functioning "quite well."

Time Magazine reports that Ba'athist insurgents are now putting out feelers to create a separate peace. Al Zarqawi is forced to threaten to murder secular insurgent leaders if they dare break ranks.

That can't last long. Someone, somewhere, will betray him.

Can the stars be aligning in their courses? The middle eastern autocrats are under a good deal of pressure.

When the end came to the Soviet Union and their domination of the Eastern Bloc, it came quickly. It came in a Tolstoyan flood. Perhaps democratic revolution in the middle east will come the same way.

This is what the strategic offensive looks and feels like.

The middle east has never looked better.

Splash, out


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