Sunday, December 24, 2006

Story of the Year

I was watching This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and realized his 'Story of the Year' question to his panel would be a great question for Theory Bloc. First, some guidelines: I concede that the post of the year and the short history of the blog is undoubtedly 'New Atheism'. Kudos to Ryan for prompting that discussion; the sheer quantity of responses would be noteworthy (I haven't checked but it must be a record for our little blog) but every response was a quality comment, too. That being said, the idea is to consider the story of the year on a world, national, or regional level. Personal or clique issues (my daughter was born in '06) should try to be disregarded (especially now that I have already thrown mine in surreptitiously). Also, comments for this post should be focused on providing the contributor's story of the year, and should not focus on providing counter-arguments to other contributors. Other than that, be as broad or specific as you want. All this is probably understood, but just in case...

The story of the year from this contributor's perspective is the mishandling of the Iraq War. The bumbling in Iraq sent shock waves through the world. First, the immediate ramifications are a potential for loss in Iraq. This could lead to a massive destabilization in the area if the parties involved plunge deeper into civil war. The military emphasis towards Iraq before Afghanistan was fully stabilized might lead to a similar result in a country and conflict that should have been won. This combined with the Israeli conflict in Lebanon severly weakened any political clout that might have been available with other southwest Asian and northeast African predominatly Muslim nations.

The consequences were felt in the U.S. also, with massive losses felt in the midterm elections. While not uncommon, these midterm losses resulted in the resignation/firing of the most polarizing figure in the 'War on Terror': Donald Rumsfeld. The balance of powere in the United States shifted due to the failure in Iraq. I would contend that many less moderate figures (especially in the Republican party) were scrutinized more thoroughly (see Kansas Board of Education) by the electorate due to the glaring mistakes made by President Bush in foreign relations. To be sure, the Iraq War mismanagement did not begin in 2006 and may not end this year, but the tangible ramifications of this mismanagement will surely be appreciated the most in 2006.