Is Bush right when he announces that "freedom is on the march"across the Middle East? It certainly appears as though there has been an attitude shift in and among the people of the Middle East of late that seems to embrace the tenants of democratic principles.
Lebanon is just the latest example in a growing list of countries where freedom is the new buzzword. Egypt’s president recently called for multi-party presidential elections, after almost four decades as authoritarian rule. Even the Palestinians are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel that might shine the light of freedom upon their war weary heads. Can a nation built on democratic principles really, finally take form in the West bank and Gaza Strip?
But is this explosion of democratic thought a direct result of the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and the resulting elections held there at the end of January, or would this have come to pass without U.S. intervention? And will freedom ever take hold in the three most important counties in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt? With large populations of Muslim fundamentalist whose interest it is to maintain the status quo, can democratic ideals informed by Western traditions and principles ever really take hold in these three nations?
Can Bush take credit for this movement towards democracy, and in so doing justify a war that has cost so many lives, both American and Iraqi?