Another election has now been held in Iraq, this time involving 19 million voters, 50,000 polling stations, 6,200 candidates, 325 parliamentary seats and 86 parties. In the run-up to the vote, the general view among Iraqis and foreign observers alike was that the outcome was "too close to call." Linger over the words: "Too close to call" has never before been part of the Arab political lexicon.Hegel's "ruse of history" theory still has legs! Indeed, the legs of a dinosaur. As for that comet about to impact earth, it looks a lot like Joseph Schumpeter. We can soon expect the see the appearance of the invisible hand. What frightful monsters run through the pages of the WSJ.
But democracy has finally arrived, first by force of American arms, next by dint of Iraqi will. It's a remarkable thing, not just in the context of the past seven years of U.S. involvement, or the eight decades of Iraq's sovereign existence, but in the much longer sweep of Arab civilization. Paleontologists have described similar moments in evolution, when some natural cataclysm permits a nimbler class of animals to take the place of the planet's former masters.
Just so in Iraq: the Cretaceous period of the T Rex and the pterosaur is at last drawing to a close. George W. Bush, in all his subtlety, was their mass-extinction event.