Friday, June 6, 2008

Place in history

[For personal reasons, a very short piece today...]

As the time grows nearer for the end of the Bush 43 years, I will probably have more to say about where I think history's judgment will weigh on these eight years. But there are people discussing this already, and Andrew Sullivan points us to a debate between Daniel Larison and Ross Douthat, and how the outcome of the war in Iraq will tell Bush's story as people of the future look back.

In brief, my feeling is this: Even if Iraq ends up a wild, exceeds-expectations success, Bush will get very little credit for it. Instead, the credit will go to some Iraqi who will be seen as the symbol of the new Iraq. It is typical, and probably appropriately so, that those from the outside who enabled a major change are not given their due.

de Klerk in South Africa, Johnson in the United States, and so forth generally stand behind the Mandelas and the Kings and the Gandhis. This is entirely logical and inevitable, but it doesn't bode well for Bush to become the symbol of a new democratic nation. It might ameliorate history's judgment, but it is unlikely to reverse it.

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