05-13-2004, 07:03 PM
On National Review, David Frum asserts there are four possible solutions to the problems of the Middle East:
Quote:1) Try to find some way to calm the extremists down. This was the policy the US followed in the 1990s â it was the ultimate justification for Clintonâs Palestinian diplomacy. By now it should be obvious that the people we are concerned about wonât be calmed. The appeasement option isnât an option: Itâs a wish.What do you guys think - any of these work for you?
2) The Bush approach â try to deal with the sources of extremism by promoting democratic change in the region. By curbing tyrannies that foment extremism to justify their hold on power â like Iraqâs, like Saudi Arabiaâs â the US and its allies can promote what the president calls âthe peaceful pursuit of a better life.â
3) But letâs suppose that the Bush policy fails too. Letâs suppose policy-makers decide that the Middle East cannot be changed any more than it can be calmed. What then? Then Iâm afraid we are going to see the emergence of a harsh new pseudo-realism that will in effect try to seal the Middle East off from the rest of the world. Hire new dictators to police the region, lock the people in, and âlet them kill each otherâ as they say in the line at my supermarket.
4) But any policy so self-consciously dismissive will be anathema to the soft spirit of American liberalism. And so the likeliest consequence of a Bush defeat and a turn away from his policies will be: nothing at all. Weâll end up averting our eyes, telling ourselves that we can protect ourselves by chasing down al Qaeda fugitives, and basically forgetting about the whole problem â until of course it strikes again.