I’m currently writing a long article about the administration’s grand designs to democratize the Middle East. And the subject is getting a lot of play today after the president’s speech last night at the American Enterprise Institute. But the deal we’ve just cut with the Turks belies much of the democratization argument. Now, for reasons I’ll try to get into later, I’m something of a turkophile. But the administration’s apparent decision to allow the Turkish army to range at will through Iraqi Kurdistan — the one place in Iraq where something like democracy is taking root — doesn’t bode well for any grand democratic experiment. As this piece in the Philly Inquirer put it yesterday, “Although the White House cites the democratic institutions of Iraqi Kurds as proof that Iraq can become a democracy after Saddam, Bush officials seem ready to sell out the Kurds in pursuit of [Turkish] bases.”
Keep in mind, of course, that the stuff that happens before the bullets start flying is the easy part.