So says a young man in Yemen, which is now moved and emboldened to massive protests.

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Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority calls for "free and fair" elections and Algerians are engaging in large-scale protests against their government.

And tomorrow is the big day in Iran—the opposition movement says it will move forward with protests even though the government has told people to stay out of the streets.

The young Yemeni is right: Every head of state in north Africa and the Arabian peninsula is probably sweating right now. But here's a question (and I'm not kidding): Can the neocons claim some credit for this?

Bush and his Straussian advisers (Wolfowitz and the boys) invaded Iraq claiming they wanted to democratize the entire Arab world. Leftists all over the globe called them imperialists, frauds, liars, oil-lusting adventurists, etc., etc.

But would this "revolution across the whole Arab world" be happening if Saddam Hussein were still in power? Will historians look back on the Iraq war as the beginning (a bloody, expensive, extraordinarily problematic beginning) of a democratization movement?

Were the Straussians right all along?


Judging by some of the comments (like: "in order for the neocon argument to hold up, you would have to witness some mention among the protesters of Iraq as a model"), I should probably elaborate.

The neocon argument for invading Iraq, as I understood it, was that:

a) the yearning for liberty and democracy is a human universal. (To which the cultural-studies professors, identity-politics fetishists, postmoderns, and other professional relativists say: "How could you be so Eurocentric, so racist, as to suggest that yearning for liberty and democracy, in the ancient Greek model, is a human universal?" But leave them to their lives of quiet ideological desperation. Those people have always produced way more words than ideas, and will always—like evangelical Christians—be lost in a thicket of principles that are based on aesthetics and wishes instead of solid ground.)

and b) if you show people a little bit of liberty and democracy, they will respond. The neocons' whole fixation with Iraq was about democratizing the Arab world. The WMD stuff, favored by Republicans and the American right, was a convenient (and murderous and treacherous) political lie. The oil-lust argument, favored by the American left, is weak (given how the U.S. has dealt with Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and other oil-rich nations).

What Wolfowitz and the boys wanted from an Iraqi invasion was democratization—the Domino Theory in reverse (instead of nations falling to communism, nations falling to democracy).

And were they right all along? The bravery and long, long sacrifice of opposition leaders and citizens is what's moving this train of "revolution across the whole Arab world." Obviously. If it weren't for the blood and guts of people who are going out into the streets and saying there is some shit I will not eat, none of this would be happening.

But... this is what the neocons predicted. We clear out the most egregious dictator in the Arab world, give the Iraqi people some elections, which gives that region a taste of democracy, and the rest of the dictators will fall. Whatever their detractors say, the genuine Straussian neocons were always on a moral mission to help nations find their way towards liberty and democracy. (The left hates them because they stand for universal moral principles and a political theory that is anti-communist in the extreme: two concepts that drive the cultural studies professors, professional relativists, etc., etc. bananas.)

And were they right? Was the Great Satan (the Straussians who were whispering in GWB's ear all along) correct?

That's my question.