Victor Davis Hanson writes about Iraq's bounty and it strikes me that the nation could one day be a California of the Middle East (in the positive sense):
Iraq is not a poor country. Flying over the Tigris-Euphrates valley (I speak now a farmer) is unlike anything in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. The soil is rich, the water plentiful and the dry climate perfect for intensive agriculture. That the country in theory within a year or two could pump well over three million barrels of petroleum a day, gives some indication of just how badly Iraq has been run the last forty years to screw up such natural bounty of a countryâ€”the Baathist-terror state, the attack on Iran, the massacres of Kurdish and Shiite innocents, the 1991 Gulf War, the no-fly zones and UN embargo, et al.
If we civilian Americans don't lose our nerve I wouldn't be surprised to see Iraq in 2050 as wealthy, vibrant, and friendly as modern Japan.