Maybe it is just the mild weather, but I have noticed a change in the atmosphere of Washington. Even the press seems to have recovered from their post-election frenzy and depression. ?Red? America, apparently, isn?t going to impose theocracy after all. And hand-ringing doomsday prophets telling us that the war in Iraq was a horrid mistake seem strangely silent.
There is, I believe, a grudging acknowledgement that this administration?s bold post-September 11 foreign policy might just be working.
Take Sudan: After President Bush was elected, Bill Bennett, Carl Anderson, David Saperstein, and I visited Karl Rove and later the president, pleading with him to change the Clinton administration?s policy of benign neglect and to do something about the slavery and genocide?two million Christians and animists had already been murdered in the South. The administration responded quickly, appointed a special envoy, pressured the Islamic government at Khartoum, and made it a moral issue, as it deserved to be. This week in an extraordinarily hopeful sign, the Sudanese government and the rebels in the South entered into a peace agreement. There is a good prospect for an end to the persecution, slavery, and bloodshed.
Then there?s Palestine: If a few years ago somebody told me that the Palestinians would have a democratic vote for a new leader who would announce that he was seeking peace with Israel, I would have had the person committed. For fifty years we have been deadlocked in the Middle East, trying to temporize and paper over profound differences. This administration simply refused to deal with the PLO, insisting on a democratically elected Palestinian government. And now that is precisely what we have.