June 24, 2003

Lelyveld Loosens the Leash Krugman

Lelyveld Loosens the Leash

Krugman is touting Judis' "magisterial" TNR piece breathlessly (the B.D. had discussed it earlier on 6/20; no link as many permalinks down, yes I plan to join the exodus to MT too, but not for a little while yet); meanwhile Nick Kristof gives Paul a run for his money on the hyperbole front.

Best line from Nick Kristof's piece: "Women did relatively well under Saddam Hussein (when they weren't being tortured or executed, penalties that the regime applied on an equal opportunity basis)." Good one.

But seriously, Kristof makes some points that are worth considering. One profound question he raises (which has been getting kicked around for years now) is what to do when a democratic polity votes in, say, an Islamist party intent on creating a theocratic government. In other words, one man, one vote, one time. Does that election become illegitimate? (This had been kicked around a bit in policy circles in relation to places like Algeria).

Also, just like we shouldn't be rushing across borders in the neighborhood we should be keeping raids of senior Shi'a clerics to a minimum too. Not the way to win hearts and minds.

But, as with the WMD, my real disappointment after reading columns like these comes down to: guys, can't you give everyone a bit more time?

For instance, take a look at this Kristof phrase: ..."I'm getting the impression that America fought Saddam, and the Islamic fundamentalists won."

Oh c'mon. What would Kristof have been writing about Berlin or Tokyo not even three months after WWII? The Commies are taking over Western Germany! Economic meltdown in the Rhineland! Losing the peace from the Baltics to the Balkans! And so on.

Posted by Gregory at June 24, 2003 08:05 AM
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