Credit where it's due redux
Craig says folks like me are in denial. Here's my reply: All of the things you cite re: Clinton are things for which Clinton had direct responsibility. If anything, Bush had completely disengaged himself from the problems between Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine & Egypt for about 2-3 years. We just weren't there. We did nothing. Sure, we were waiting for Arafat to die, and when he did, we got involved again. But the best evidence that [Craig] and Sullivan have to say that Iraq led to the Lebanese revolt is insinuation & supposition. There is no empirical evidence of it. It would be just as easy to say that Ukraine or Georgia led to the Lebanese revolt. There's as much evidence of that as there is of Iraq leading to it. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong - but I'm not going to have some pundit in LA or Washington or NY tell me it's all thanks to GWB. I'll wait for a guy in Beirut to say so. Remember - Lebanon was a pretty westernized, secular country with a history of moderate rule and politics before 1975. It had a free market, democracy, and political stability. It was the Switzerland of the East. Not so Ukraine, and not so Georgia, and not so Iraq. Do I think Lebanon approaches the fall of the USSR? No. Because the USSR was a superpower and Lebanon is a small Mediterranean country with, until now, dubious independence. The better analogy would be the fall of the Berlin Wall. Even that would be a bit specious, because the Lebanese 1991-2005 didn't have travel restrictions, totalitarian government, or the state owning the means of production and consumer outlets. Now, if crowds rush the streets of Damascus - that would be earth-shattering, approaching the level of a Berlin wall falling. Damascus runs a genuine Baathist fascist state, which is totalitarian, harbors terrorism, has extraterritorial aspirations, and is run by a megalomaniac.