Michael Barone writes of the Muslims in the Middle East:
They may also have noticed that Egypt will have its first contested election for president this year. "There were no arguments over the United States, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, or any of the other 'hot spots' that used to dominate every meal and spill over into tea, coffee, and dessert," writes Mona Eltahawy in the Washington Post of her trip to Egypt this summer. "This time, all conversations were about a small but active opposition movement in Egypt that since December has focused on ending the dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak. I have never heard so many relatives and friends take such an interest in Egyptian politics or--more important--feel that they had a stake in them." Minds are indeed changing.Casey Sheehan and Louis Qualls died in defense of their fellow soldiers and Marines ---but they also gave their lives in furtherance of my right to sit here in the comfort of my own home on this muggy Monday morning in Texas and say that Those Men are the fathers to a new world of democratic possibility. History will mark their sacrifices one liberated mind and body at a time. It is my small ---but absolute--- duty to remember that here.
This is not to say that everybody in these countries has good things to say about the United States. But we are not engaged in a popularity contest. We're trying to construct a safer world. We are in the long run better off if Muslims around the world turn away from terrorism and move toward democracy, even if we don't like some of the internal policies they choose and even if they don't have much affection for the United States. Two generations ago Americans, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of deaths, changed minds in Germany and Japan. The Pew Global Project Attitude's metrics give us reason to believe that today's Americans, at far lower cost, are once again changing minds in the Muslim world.