Years from now, whoever we decide was right or wrong in the context of US politics and foreign policy, I imagine we will see the current history of the Middle East as a story unfolding from the 9/11 attacks to the US invasion of Iraq to the Arab Spring and then moving on to the current many-headed conflagration in Syria, Iraq, Libya and now Yemen.
Of course, history didn't begin in 2001. The 9/11 attacks were umbilically connected to the Gulf War and the Afghan insurgency. And we can go back before that to the creation of the modern Arab state system, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and more. But history has decisive turning points when contingent events shove building trends in dramatic directions. And I have little doubt that the disputed election of George W. Bush in December 2000, the cataclysmic 9/11 attacks a year later and the invasion of Iraq eighteen months after that, were just such a contingent and conjoined group of events.
But there's one element of the story which many see as a negative but which I think is actually a positive development.
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