From the current issue, Ross's take on Bush's legacy:
Bush’s hopes for vindication depend on the Middle East’s following a gradual, Fukuyaman track toward free markets, democratic government, and the “end of history.” And just as crucially, they depend on American troops’ staying in Iraq for as long as it takes for that to happen. If these events come to passif the Iraq of 2038 or so is stable, democratic, and at peace with its neighbors, and if American troops have maintained a constant presence in the countryno one should be surprised to hear hawkish liberals as well as conservatives taking up the idea that George W. Bush deserves a great deal of the credit.
It seems to me that if a policy can only be judged from the vantage point of thirty years into the future, the possibility of any sane or rational judgment of it as we decide is impossible. Such time-lines make such decisions close to meaningless, and remove all proximate responsibility for those making them. If Iraq does end up as Ross and I hope, I see no reason to congratulate George W. Bush for botching the start of it.
And by the way:
The Americans want to continue to have “a free hand” to arrest Iraqis and carry out military operations, and they want authority for more than 50 long-term military bases, Mr. Adeeb said. He said that he doubted that a security pact along the lines sought by the Americans would pass in the Iraqi Parliament.
50 long-term military bases. How is that not empire?
(Photo: Hadim Izban/AFP/Getty)