"Do you believe in miracles?" With the film "Miracle" out on video, many are hearing announcer Al Michaels' famous question as the U.S. hockey team upset the heavily favored Soviets in 1980. I do believe in miracles, both in individual lives and in international events -- just look at the world's unlikely record of 59 years now without a nuclear war.
My definition of an international politics miracle is an event that would have seemed near-impossible only a short time before it happened, like the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. I see God's hand in miracles. Others see differently, but we can all examine the steep odds against peace in Iraq. As Mindy Belz, World magazine's international editor, puts it: "We've spent nearly a year empowering everyone over there, good and bad, and so we have a stew. To survive long term, Iraqis needs a federal system, but to survive until December they will need strong central government."
So, miracle No. 1: What if the mess in Fallujah serves to unite Shiites and Kurds, who out of concern about renewed Sunni influence can unite democratically and agree to give each other lots of autonomy? What if the U.S. seizes bin Laden, patrols Iraq's borders and succeeds in clamping down on Sunni terror? What a Thanksgiving we could have this November!
Let's move to the prospects for miracle No. 2: Instant global communication helping rather than hurting the peace process. Iraq is now like the mountain climber who, dying on top of Everest, was talking to his wife on a cellphone -- Iraqi democracy doesn't have enough oxygen to breathe, but communication advances allow us to hear each gasp clearly. Our tendency is to crowd in when we should be standing back so that we don't get in the way of the rescue team, the soldiers who can rout Iraq's bullies.
Does that mean we should censor photos and videos of the war that make our side look bad, as the Abu Ghraib materials do? Not at all -- but we shouldn't be passive when U.S. networks do their own censorship for ideological and political reasons. Photos and videos aplenty of Saddam's tortures exist, but many of our journalists are more interested in a few episodes of perversity than the stories of the 30,000 prisoners Saddam's regime executed at Abu Ghraib.