The Long Term Strategy
Since the colonial time, the Middle East has been a region of instability; kings succeeded kings, and dictators succeeded dictators. The British and the French had divided the land and installed leaders who served their interests. The borders in the Middle East were drawn arbitrarily, on a drawing table.
Until now, no president has dared touch this oil rich region for fear of disturbing our relations with our Arab friends, while closing an eye on the suffering of their populations. The situation as it was until now couldn't continue, as the entire Arab World became a nest of unhappy people and a school of terrorism.
Bush is the first US president who spoke about democratic Arab states. Many people would like to look the other way and continue living in their own world, without caring about the rest of the world. If we want to leave this world as a more secure environment for the upcoming generations, we can no longer ignore the suffering of other people.
Yes, today everyone can criticize the Bush administration for not having planned in advance every single development during and after the war. But no one could anticipate that Saddam Hussein's armies would not fight and would not burn all the oil fields, as he did during the first golf war. The US was prepared for the scenario that Saddam would open the dams and would create a catastrophe for the entire region and for our armies. All these factors have been taken into consideration, but the Pentagon could not have projected that the first US division would reach Baghdad so fast and without a big fight, a big damage or a large loss of human lives. If Saddam Hussein had fought as he had promised, the cost to the United States would have risen much higher than the 80 Billion dollars that the White House has applied for, maybe to 500 billions, if not to a trillion dollars.
Bush is the first president who has committed the US military power to eliminate a ruthless dictator and has promised to help rebuild and democratize an Arab nation. It is the first time that an Arab state will have the US at its site. In my view the Iraqi people should seize the unique opportunity offered to them by the most powerful nation on earth.
I believe that if this plan is achieved, within the next five years the Iraqi people will have an unprecedented economic prosperity and a very high standard of living, they will be in a much better situation than any other Arab state in the entire Arab league.
A democratic Iraqi state will attract foreign investment and will create a formidable stream of tourism from many countries in the world. Under a democratic system their universities will attract the young Arab generation which is eager to learn about freedom and democracy.
In fact the president's first and second speech at the UN assembly have launched an idea that can have long term and enormous reverberations in the entire Arab World as well as globally. The president's speeches are also a hint to Iraq's neighbors to become transparent and democratic, if they don't want to be left out in a new economic world. The rest of the Arab World is better off being prepared and paving the way for such a new opportunity. Iraq will be the engine of the economy in the Middle East which will create jobs for its people and for its neighbors.
In the event that such an Iraqi state would be build, the value of the land will have a different meaning. The US has no alternative than to succeed in Iraq if it doesn't want to transform Iraq into a large terrorist state. In fact after a few months of surge we can already observe strategic changes in the Middle-East.
Those who do not understand this today will understand it in the future.
Saudi Arabia is hinting about a reform and a popular election; Libya's Kaddafi got rid of the WMD; Syria is trying to get a peace negotiation with Israel, in order to escape the American stranglehold, as it is feeling the squeeze, economically and politically, due to the strategic changes in Iraq; Iran is trying to find a way to persuade indirectly the Americans and the Israelis that its installations are for peaceful use, in order to buy time. Time to complete its atomic project, but its choices are limited, as the Israelis and the Americans will not wait anymore for a second 9/11.
North Korea seems to understand Bush' message, that he means business and is trying to reverse course before it is too late. Ben Laden and El Qaida lost the momentum and soon it will become history, it's just a matter of time. To change the face of the Middle East the US has to stick to the goal set from the beginning by the president. It takes a lot perseverance, will, and patience. A great nation like ours can not change constantly the path and the strategy if it wants to be taken seriously and gain respect from other nations.
Alas many American politicians do not care about America. All they care about is just being elected. But we cannot afford another 9/11. We cannot afford another president who does not understand this threat and does not stick to the goal. We cannot afford a collapse of our security and our society.
We should not let the Europeans take advantage, because of a few voices. After all we are the ones who came to the rescue of Europe and not the other way. As a strong nation we have to have a long term strategy. We should not forget that we are the ones who have been attacked.
Any insult to the president is an insult to all Americans who elected him. It is irrelevant if we like the president or not. What kind of democracy will we have if after any election we want to change the elected president without waiting for the end of his term. Is this the kind of democracy we want to teach other nations? We should respect every elected president whoever he may be.