Thomas L. Friedmann's column today (unfortunately available online only by paid subscription) discusses the crying need for Arab and Islamic leadership as the most important way out of what will be a continuing crisis whether the U.S. stays or leaves. His point: an "Arab fourth way" would avoid the extremes of chaos and authoritarianism now present in the majority of Arab states in the Middle East. The problems are that states that hold promise for their populations are small and lack influence, and that--in the larger and flash-point states--the moderate politicians are forced to hide from fear or leave from despair. "That's why decent people, particularly Arab college grads, are leaving the area. They have no one to cheer for. The only hope for getting them back or for getting us out of Iraq--without leaving the region to the most nihilistic or impoverished elements--is an Arab Fourth Way. But it has to come from them--and right now, it is not happening, not inside Iraq, not outside."
He's right. Go out and buy today's Houston Chronicle.