Best Defense

The beginning of wisdom in American policy on the Mideast social upheavals

Libya is looking really interesting. As a friend of mine once observed, how good an officer can Colonel Qaddafi really be if he hasn’t received a promotion in 30 years? I also wonder how this is going to play out in Iraq, given its place between the Shiite and Sunni worlds. Andrew Sullivan, bouncing back ...

Getty Images
Getty Images

Libya is looking really interesting. As a friend of mine once observed, how good an officer can Colonel Qaddafi really be if he hasn’t received a promotion in 30 years?

I also wonder how this is going to play out in Iraq, given its place between the Shiite and Sunni worlds.

Andrew Sullivan, bouncing back smartly from his time on the injured reserve list, summarizes the American role in the Middle East social upheaval: "We finally figured out how to help democracy in the Arab world: get out of the way and nudge quietly from a distance."

Meanwhile, my CNAS colleague Andrew X-man is vacationing in Cairo, this year’s Davos. Here are two of his reports.

Speaking of CNAS, here is an optimistic piece by my two bosses about the state of the war in Afghanistan. I feel out of touch with that war, but I hope they are right.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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