Why globalization is winning over militancy

July 20, 2009

This analysis by the great Thomas PM Barnett really places the recent troubles in Iran in a geopolitical context.  It also explains why Iraq is, in the end, a win for America and the West:

The collapse of legitimacy in Iran comes after a string of similar setbacks to the movement: Morocco 2007, Jordan 2007, Pakistan 2008, Indonesia this year, Kuwait this year, and then Lebanon. In each instance the more radical groups, which had done better previously or were perceived to be on an upswing, have suffered surprisingly bad outcomes–when votes were actually counted. Why the broad reversal? The brutality of the radicals. This is why I’ve always maintained that Iraq would have its desired effect either way: if we had succeeded from the start, the Big Bang could have been unstoppable (remember all the positive tumult back in 2005 across the region); but done badly, the outcome works just as well and in some ways better. Why? One, the U.S. military is forced to evolve as it should, making it far more ready for the tougher slog in Af-Pak (which, as I argue, is of far lesser strategic value–thus the need to have our ducks in a row thanks to the far more important battlefield called Iraq). But two, any temporary al Qaeda “victory” or “cause célèbre” just allows their brutality to emerge, and that works in our favor nicely. In the end, history will judge Bush-Cheney kindly on the choice to go in, even if the execution sucked.

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