Leftists mocked George W. Bush’s “Forward Strategy of Freedom,” sneering that it was corny and idealistic, wouldn’t work, and didn’t suit exotic, backward, brown people who wouldn’t know what to do with liberty if it fell in their laps.
In the years since U.S. forces ousted the Taliban in Afghanistan and deposed Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the world has beheld a remarkably long line of popular uprisings in Middle Eastern and Eastern European states that has thoroughly vindicated Bush’s approach.
Four months after U.S. Marines took Baghdad in Operation Iraqi Freedom, a quivering-in-his-boots Muammar Gaddafi acknowledged Libya’s responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and paid billions in compensation to relatives of victims, and to those of the UTA Flight 772 bombing and the Berlin discotheque bombing.
Three months later we witnessed the Rose Revolution in Georgia, in which the public protested against rigged parliamentary elections, removed President Eduard Shevardnadze, and installed reformist Mikhail Saakashvili.
In 2004 we watched the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, in which protestors kept Viktor Yanukovych from assuming office as Prime Minister after fraudulent elections and instated pro-reform Viktor Yushchenko.
In 2005 we observed the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, in which citizens rioted to protest the assassination of pro-Western former Primer Minister Rafik Hariri, the presence of tens of thousands of Syrian troops, and the rule of a pro-Syrian government.
Days after the Cedar Revolution, we had the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, in which protestors ousted corrupt President Askar Akayev.
In 2009 we monitored the Green Revolution in Iran, in which thousands of citizens rioted over the rigged presidential election that kept Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power.
In December 2010 we saw the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, in which protestors ousted secular autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the first ever peaceful removal of an Arabic leader.
Earlier this month in Yemen, protestors marched in Sanaa and called for the removal of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Protestors in Albania demonstrated against Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
Over the past week, millions of protestors in Egypt have rioted in Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez, demanding the ouster of autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak and the release of hundreds of political prisoners. Mubarak has since fired his cabinet and claimed he will not run again after serving out the final year of his current term, but has not responded to protestors’ demands.
Egyptian protestors modeled their demonstrations after Tunisia’s, which in turn were made possible by the chain of protests and regime changes leading back to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Given Egypt’s size and prominence in the Arab world, deposing Mubarak would likely spur a wave of protests against other autocratic regimes in the region.
So what has Obama’s response been to all of this activity?