[T]his has so far been a year of heartening surprises - each one remarkable in itself, and taken together truly astonishing. The Bush administration is entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these advances. It boldly proclaimed the cause of Middle East democracy at a time when few in the West thought it had any realistic chance. And for all the negative consequences that flowed from the American invasion of Iraq, there could have been no democratic elections there this January if Saddam Hussein had still been in power.
NPR's senior news analyst says that recent events in Lebanon and Egypt suggest that the Middle East is moving towards democracy. Bush may have had it right when he said that a liberated Iraq could show the power of freedom to transform the region.
Ultimate success in Iraq is far from assured, and the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East is just beginning and could be reversed, but when Bush's harshest critics start to concede that he may have been right, my optimism only grows stronger.
(Part of linkfest at OTB.)