While I’m not wholly persuaded that the uprisings in countries ranging from Egypt to Lybia will produce liberty as we understand it, at least in the near term, this Andrew Bacevich column raises the right question: Why should we assume this vindicates U.S. interventionism in the region? The results of our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan are mixed at best, producing sharia states that may not prove to be reliable allies in the war on terror. Read Andrew McCarthy, a conservative with vastly different foreign-policy views than Bacevich, on this point.
In crafting the Bush Doctrine, it seems that we overestimated our ability to change the Muslim world from the outside and underestimated the local populations’ ability to change it from the inside. Yet there remain almost frantic calls — including from many people who consider themselves conservatives — for the U.S. to get involved in this process even after it has already started, with proposals that range from the laughably symbolic to calls for stage-managing a revolution. Although these proposals are usually grounded in confident assertions of U.S. global leadership, the underlying tone more closely resembles that of a child shouting, “Hey, wait for me!”