Tuesday, August 14, 2007
What does it mean that the leaders of Aghanistan and Iraq are cozying up to Iran, one of the United States' sworn enemies? Well, for one thing, it reflects the reality of living in a region where Tehran has a dominating influence -- they're powerful and they're rich and they're loud. For another, it indicates that the Bush administration's apparent goal of creating a bloc of U.S.-aligned governments in the region may be impossible. Even if it works out that Afghanistan and Iraq become stable, democratic countries, the United States cannot control what happens there. And this is when they're still dependent on us for survival! What if those countries elect leaders that are opposed to U.S. interests? Look at what happened with the Palestinian Authority and with Lebanon. They had elections but they got weak central governments, which energized the radicals in both places. Now, they're both embroiled in civil war on top of their regular regional conflicts. It's a luxury to be sure of what you're doing, like the president continues to be, but optimism cannot substitute for pragmatic thinking, especially when peoples' lives and futures are at stake.