Whether or not Iraq would be “a mess” 5 years after the invasion. Fukuyama said yes, Stephens no.
Last week Fukuyama sent Stephens a check for $100.
From Stephens article, a list of the accomplishments to date in Iraq:
Saddam is dead. Had he remained in power, we would likely still believe he had WMD. He would have been sitting on an oil bonanza priced at $140 a barrel. He would almost certainly have broken free from an already crumbling sanctions regime. The U.S. would be faced with not one, but two, major adversaries in the Persian Gulf. Iraqis would be living under a regime that, in an average year, was at least as murderous as the sectarian violence that followed its collapse. And the U.S. would have seemed powerless to shape events.
Instead, we now have a government that does not threaten its neighbors, does not sponsor terrorism, and is unlikely to again seek WMD. We have a democratic government, a first for the Arab world, and one that is increasingly capable of defending its people and asserting its interests.
We have a defeat for al Qaeda. Critics carp that had there been no invasion, there never would have been al Qaeda in Iraq. Maybe. As it is, thousands of jihadists are dead, al Qaeda has been defeated on its self-declared “central battlefield,” and the movement is largely discredited on the Arab street and even within Islamist circles.
We also have — if still only prospectively — an Arab bulwark against Iran’s encroachments in the region. But that depends on whether we simply withdraw from Iraq, or join it in a lasting security partnership.
At the conclusion, Stephens proposed a another bet with Fukuyama: that on the 10 year anniversary of Iraq’s liberation, Fukuyama will concede the broader case for war in Iraq.
Here’s to hoping that this time, Fukuyama will know a losing bet when he sees it.
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