A reader writes:
Exactly. All of us who believed in the progressive model for Iraq can't give up on the idea entirely. Dubai, even with all its glitz and faults, has had a huge impact on the Gulf - everyone is trying to copy its model of globally integrated, stable society, focused on building knowledge jobs. Kurdistan is a generation back, but it wants to go in the same direction. All you have to do is look at Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq to know that somethings are true even if George Bush believes them - this neighborhood desperately needs models of decent, progressive, modernizing government as the stepping stone to democratization.
How did East Asia develop? Because Taiwan followed the example of Japan, and Korea followed Japan, and Hong Kong followed Korea, and now China is following Taiwan and Vietnam is following Hong Kong. The problem with the Arab world is that there is not one good example, other than tiny Dubai, to follow.