Serendipity strikes. When I posted the Robert Kaplan link yesterday, I didn't realise he had an op-ed (subscriber-only) in the Wall Street Journal. It's another of his must-reads, looking at the possibility of a break-up of the Syrian state. He also warns of a bumpy ride ahead:

Democratization means non-stop turbulence. To think Arabs are incapable of democracy is deterministic. But a little bit of determinism in the service of constructive pessimism is indispensable. For example, Central Europe had an easier democratic transition than the Balkans largely because of a Westernized Habsburg and Prussian tradition, associated with a large bourgeoisie, as opposed to the Balkans' more chaotic Ottoman past that featured a large peasantry. Still, compared to the Middle East, even the Balkans represent a wealthier and better governed part of the old Turkish sultanate. Therefore, not to expect trouble across the Middle East -- lots of it -- would be just as foolish as expecting that our military entry into Iraq would be met with flowers, rather than with guns.

All the same, he gives Bush credit for setting off a revolution:

Certainly, democracy has turned out to be a more potent force for change in the
region than many analysts -- myself included -- had suspected.

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/03/rk-sequel-serendipity-strikes.html|||3/15/2005 06:19:00 pm|||||||||