If It's Friday . . .

. . . then I can get my blood pressure raised by reading Charles Krauthammer. It's astounding stuff. First off, he explains that idealistic rhetoric has just been a smokescreen for an agenda of regional hegemony (someone tell George Packer): "We are instead trying to sustain fragile democracies in three strategically important countries -- Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon -- that form the geographic parentheses around the principal threat to Western interests in the region, the Syria-Iran axis."

Is it an axis of . . . evil? Nevermind.

Next comes the key phrase, the mind-blowingly obvious error that lurks at the heart of the project. "We are trying to bring democracy to Iraq in particular because a pro-Western government enjoying legitimacy and popular support would have been the most enduring means of securing our interests there." Now ask yourself, what does the fact that a pro-western, popular, and legitimate government in Baghdad would serve our interests have to do with the logic of toppling Saddam and then holding an election? It also makes sense if you simply assume -- for no reason at all -- that an election will bring to power a government eager to support America's regional strategic ambitions. The upshot? "We should nonetheless make a last effort to change the composition of the government and assemble a new one composed of those -- Kurds, moderate Sunnis, secular Shiites and some of the religious Shiites -- who might be capable of reaching a grand political settlement."

You see! We invaded Iraq to build a democracy, but the Iraqis ruined it by voting the wrong way, so we can fix things by dictating to them the terms of a more appropriate parliamentary coalition. After that perhaps we can unleash Chiang!