All critique of the delays, the means, the mission itself, and the American role in the effort aside, to be rid of a murderous tyrant like Moammar Gadhafi of Libya is a blessing for the world and a major victory for American interests. What follows there is another discussion, but whatever the prognosis it shouldn’t detract from this victory and President Obama deserves credit for “leading from behind”, for America’s role was obviously decisive in the outcome. Meanwhile, we should not lose sight of what provided the catalyst for these momentous events, which include more broadly the entire phenomenon of the “Arab Spring” uprisings. The elements of the Bush Doctrine that called for the priority of freedom over stability deserve enormous credit, and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq regime was clearly the proximate event that sent a chill down the spine of the tyrants of the Arab world while instilling hope and encouragement in the hearts and minds of the Arab street. These seeds spread from Iraq to Egypt, Sudan, Darfur, and Libya, not to mention Syria and Iran, where we should be doing much more to assist with the replacement of those regimes. All of this is vindication as well for the principles of freedom and democracy enunciated by Natan Sharansky, whose life and work inspired President Bush and his policies in the Middle East. It will be many years before we know how all of this will play out, but I am betting that history will record that, thanks largely to George W. Bush, freedom ultimately trumped the authoritarian stability of tyrants in the Arab world.
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