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failed Bush ME legacy

Reader comment on item: Insight into Obama's Middle East Policy?

Submitted by Bob Burns (United States), Jan 2, 2009 at 04:19

Mr. Pipes,

I have enjoyed both your website and opinions over the past few months, thank you for your contribution to society.

My reason for writing as hinted in the title line is your, in my opinion, correct assessment of the failures of Bush's Middle East policies. It has been a conviction of mine for some time that while much of what is occurring in the Middle East under the guidance of the Bush Administration was not only going to be more difficult and take longer than any politician would ever admit but it will most likely fail in many parts of the stratagem. However, and this is what I would like to know if I am too optimistic about, I've always believed that there were three things to keep in mind:

1) Prior to the current Bush administration there were no policies in place that had either not already failed once or showed any type of positive long term results.

2) If Democracy in the Middle East is to have any fruit it will require at least five generations of a population being exposed to Democratic ideas in order to fully capitulate and at that time there may be yet another revolt against democracy due to increased freedoms.

- First generation obtains the vestiges of a government and nation in the mist of dynamic and destructive change

-Second generation rebuilds and spreads democracy from government into inner-structure of nation

- Third generation continues rebuild and spreads democracy from government into society and teaches next generation

- Fourth generation enlarges nation and builds upon democracy to create democratic form of ‘world-view' and international relations

- Fifth generation embraces freedoms as natural right and starts questioning positives and negatives of prior generations and judging Democracy

3) Simply – Things will get much worse before they have a chance to get better! There is too much history, animosity, interwoven relationships and distrust (earned and unearned) to ever believe there is a single solution to the Middle East. Past efforts have been relatively short lived when compared to the existing problems. Any solution needs to be long term and that is difficult in a nation such as the US were attention spans hardly cover week-to-week headlines. This being true would lead to the conclusion that if a long term solution is to be made it will be fraught with setbacks and judgmental errors but the important things will be, as in life, to learn from the mistakes, make corrections and grow as a nation.

While accepting the Bush Administrations has made errors it is my belief that we have at least taken an initial step in a direction that can allow an eventual solution. Albeit there will be many painful failures and lessons to learn it is a direction that if sustained can hope for resolution. Nothing done before can state such a claim within the realm of realistic expectations.

Thanks once again for your writings and your considerations,

bb

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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