Monday, January 09, 2006

Quote du Jour

Wretchard of The Belmont Club:

I think it's probably true . . . that Iraq is rapidly becoming an independent country, by definition increasingly difficult to "control" unless the US is willing to conquer it all over again. But whether good or bad, it has become a different country from its pre-OIF [Operation Iraqi Freedom] condition. To a lesser degree Iran, Lebanon, Syria and even Israel have experienced major changes since 2003. One trite observation, which I think any fair observer would be willing to grant, is that the status quo antebellum in the Middle East is gone with the wind. Sherman has marched to the sea, and Tara will never quite be the same. The real question, which it seems to me no one is prepared to really think about, is how to meet whatever happens next. . . .

[There is worry] about whether a politically polarized Washington and apparently rudderless national leadership can cope with the challenges sure to emerge in the very near future. The relative clarity of vision with which the US entered 2002 is gone, it's place taken by a political class which has demoralized itself in despite of historically unprecedented success. Of the pillars that held up the political world in 2003 only a few remain standing. Arafat dead; Sharon in a coma; Schoeder a factotum of Vladimir Putin; Chirac a shadow of himself; the European Union moribund, the UN a standing joke; Blair badly weakned and America obsessed with cookies left on browsers on government websites. And 2006 just beginning. Interesting times indeed.

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