Day By Day

Friday, May 20, 2005

Bush and Lebanon

Instapundit links to a very interesting post in the Lebanese Political Journal.

Bush freed Lebanon

Bush had nothing to do with the impetus for our protests in Lebanon.

He was the reason we went to bed afterward.

We came to the streets because one of our greatest leaders, the man who rebuilt our capital and brought Lebanon international prominence, was assassinated.

Former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri was gearing up for a political campaign that he would have won. That mortified the ensconced. The country was expecting Hariri to emerge out of the elections a massive victor taking the majority of Parliament and being able to make decisions that went against Syria. He was killed.

We flocked to the streets because we revere the man, believe in Lebanese sovereignty, and want our country free of foreign troops.

We have marched on many occassions before this. Lebanon may be a corrupted democracy, but we still have the right to march and speak our minds to varying extents.

We would have marched no matter what.

We walked in front of soldiers with guns. We hugged them. And then we stomped through the barbed wire they placed. Our brothers and fathers in Lebanon's mandatory conscription Army would not fire on us no matter who gave the order.

We marched to honor the bravery of Hariri.

He was not thinking about Iraq when he went against Syria because he already knew he had American support. When we came to the streets we were not thinking about Iraq or America.

We came for our country alone.

Where Iraq was significant was in Syria's departure.

Bush's Iraq campaign may not have had an effect on us, but it sure had an effect on Syria.

Would Syria have exited Lebanon without American pressure and proof that Bush means what he says in the Middle East? Probably not.

Would Syria have left so quickly? Definitely not.

Would Syrian soldiers have moved into place to crack down on Lebanese citizens? Probably.

Would we have fought them? Definitely.

Would this have caused a war? Quite likely.

Bush, Chirac, and the example of the Iraq War saved us from disaster. We were saved from incredible pain and a return to constant calamity.

No doubt, Bush, the American Embassy, Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, and State Department official and former US Ambassador to Lebanon Satterfield are responsible for saving Lebanese lives and gaining us our freedom.

I would like to say we are indebted to them, which we are for saving our lives and ridding us of the Syrian menace. But we are reminded of how we got into this situation in the first place.

We are indebted to the sons of America who lost their lives trying to bring peace to our country in 1982. They died trying to help us.

However, we remember 1990 when the US gave Syria the green light to enter our country with no assigned exit date. The US gave the Syrian military the go-ahead to take our sovereignty in order to gain Syria's support for the 1991.

What I am now thankful for is America's post-Cold War strategy of reconciling its realist, realpolitik past. It started with Noriaga and will hopefully contine in Uzbekistan, North Korea, Togo, Equitorial Guinea, Tunisia, Molodova and the Transdniester, Turkmenistan, Myanmar, and on.

We give Bush credit for implementing our revolution, but he did not start it.

Bush's words and UN Resolutions would have meant nothing without Hariri starting and us continuing our own revolution.
This seems about right to me. I have often argued that, though the inspiration for Lebanon's revolution came from elsewhere, the presence of an American army in Iraq limited Assad's reponses and enabled the revolution to go forward. And after all this is the whole point of Bush's agenda, both domestic and foreign -- to empower people to seek their own destiny.

I particularly like the reference to the US finally repudiating the realpolitik of the Cold War.

Read the whole thing here.

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