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Friedman's Sand Wall
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Tom Friedman has another good editorial in the NYT.

I enjoy reading him for several reasons, including his moderate, fair tone and the fact that he's simply a good writer. But while I normally agree with most of what he has to say, I always find about 10% of Friedman to disagree with.

Anyway, he begins by likening a crumbled sand berm to the Berlin Wall:


It is a sand wall, easily breached by American power, exposing a rotten dictatorship with little popular support on the other side. This area is full of regimes protected by such sand walls.


Yes. And while I'm not overly optimistic in the inevitablity of the Domino Effect in the Arab world, I do think the fall of Iraq, and more importantly its subsequent democratization, will have profound effects on the region.

And people love to hate my own analogies, so here's one from an Arab intellectual:


"The social, political, cultural and economic malaise in this part of the world had become a threat to American security it produced 9/11," said Shafeeq Ghabra, president of the American University of Kuwait. "This war was a challenge to the entire Arab system, which is why so many Arabs opposed it. The war to liberate Kuwait from Iraq [in 1991] was outpatient surgery. This war was open-heart surgery."


Though if we were using medical analogies I'd liken it more to lancing a diseased boil, or perhaps even more accurately, excising a tumor.

But here's the part of Friedman's editorial with which I disagree:


So far, all that we have unleashed in Iraq is chaos, not freedom. There is no civil society here. We are starting from scratch.


No, Tom. We're not starting from scratch. There is anarchy now, but it is slowly coming back under control. And as I argued with David Moles a while back, there will still be plenty of infrastructure in Iraq, including their expansive oil industry.

Iraq right now is vastly better off in terms of resources, both human and material, than Japan was at the end of WWII. And Japan's imperial government, which was generally venerated by the people, was destroyed and humiliated as well. So we're started with people who, I think, want to build something much better than what they had.

And they can do it if we support them.


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