The Corner

Irony of Ironies

After watching the popular uprising two years ago in Iran and the more recent one in Tunisia, one might draw two conclusions. One, surely many Middle East tyrannies and authoritarian regimes — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, etc. — will soon prove equally vulnerable to such disorder, which is rooted more in democratic than in Islamic impulses. Two, the one country that is probably immune from these pressures is Iraq, once thought “lost.” Its consensual government has weathered every sort of extremist challenge for seven years and is innately suited to vent and incorporate popular frustration in a manner its neighbors cannot. That Iraq’s ongoing democratic viability would prove unsettling for surrounding authoritarians was always written off as a neocon pipe dream, but in this age of Obama’s “greatest achievement,” I predict that the liberal community will soon readopt Iraq as something quite different and better than what those in the streets of the Middle East are now seeking to dismantle.

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