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The World According to Zbig

5:58 PM, Oct 9, 2005 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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Carter national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski pens a scathing op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times that is highly critical of the Bush administration's foreign policy. In the same pages, William Shawcross takes a different view. He writes:

Thanks to the coalition Iraqis have more confidence in their future than we do. Iraqi refugees are not fleeing abroad in vast numbers, as happened during previous crises. The Iraqi dinar has strengthened, not weakened, against the currencies of other oil-producing nations. The mistakes that have been made in Iraq since its liberation do not alter the fact that the overthrow of Hussein has given Iraqis a chance they never had before and has shaken the ramshackle, corrupt and dictatorial foundations of the Middle East.

Christopher Hitchens also has a very different perspective than Brzezinski here. Hitchens writes:

DOES THE PRESIDENT deserve the benefit of the reserve of fortitude that I just mentioned? Only just, if at all. We need not argue about the failures and the mistakes and even the crimes, because these in some ways argue themselves. But a positive accounting could be offered without braggartry, and would include:

(1) The overthrow of Talibanism and Baathism, and the exposure of many highly suggestive links between the two elements of this Hitler-Stalin pact. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who moved from Afghanistan to Iraq before the coalition intervention, has even gone to the trouble of naming his organization al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

(2) The subsequent capitulation of Qaddafi's Libya in point of weapons of mass destruction--a capitulation that was offered not to Kofi Annan or the E.U. but to Blair and Bush.

(3) The consequent unmasking of the A.Q. Khan network for the illicit transfer of nuclear technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.

(4) The agreement by the United Nations that its own reform is necessary and overdue, and the unmasking of a quasi-criminal network within its elite.

(5) The craven admission by President Chirac and Chancellor Schröder, when confronted with irrefutable evidence of cheating and concealment, respecting solemn treaties, on the part of Iran, that not even this will alter their commitment to neutralism. (One had already suspected as much in the Iraqi case.)

(6) The ability to certify Iraq as actually disarmed, rather than accept the word of a psychopathic autocrat.

(7) The immense gains made by the largest stateless minority in the region--the Kurds--and the spread of this example to other states.

(8) The related encouragement of democratic and civil society movements in Egypt, Syria, and most notably Lebanon, which has regained a version of its autonomy.

(9) The violent and ignominious death of thousands of bin Ladenist infiltrators into Iraq and Afghanistan, and the real prospect of greatly enlarging this number.

(10) The training and hardening of many thousands of American servicemen and women in a battle against the forces of nihilism and absolutism, which training and hardening will surely be of great use in future combat.