"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Friday, June 22, 2007

The U.S.’ Decline is Inevitable; So What!

On June 20th this post, “Who Fires the First Shot?” was in reaction to two articles; one by Tony Blankley, the other by Michael Hirsh. In a sense, both painted a somewhat bleak picture of our options in our efforts at thwarting Islamo-fascists in our midst; the Hirsh piece however was more in line with not doing anything so as not to offend or apparently make matters worse.

Victor Davis Hanson hits the nail on the head this morning as he usually does in covering our continuous bleating, blaming and expectations that there is one option that we haven’t tried that would resolve all the problems; although no one ever offers it, only knocks what we’re doing. The difficulty here is that there is no “one” option is the answer. Hanson’s take and one should agree there are not good options but we have thus far taken a couple of better ones. In part from Victor Davis Hanson:

“Our present policy, however poorly managed in postbellum Iraq, arose as a reaction both to the do-nothingism of past administrations, which, by general consensus, had emboldened al Qaeda to up its ante on 9/11, and the decades of amoral realism that propped up thugs and dictators who ruined their societies but blamed the ensuing mess on Americans and Jews.

After 9/11, we did not, as alleged, invade countries serially, but removed only two fascistic governments, the worst in the Middle East — both with a record of supporting enemies of the United States, and both of whom we had bombed or sent missiles against in the very recent past.

We did not leave after such punitive measures because we felt that the last time we did that, whether in Afghanistan in the 1980s, or Iraq in 1991, or Lebanon, or Somalia, things only got worse — and after 9/11 they might well get much worse. And unlike the bombing of 1998 in the Balkans, both operations in
Afghanistan and Iraq were sanctioned by the U.S. Congress, discussed at the U.N., and widely supported by the American people.

Removing the Taliban and Saddam, and promoting constitutional governments in their places, were not the only options after 9/11, but they were good choices — if the desire was to address comprehensively a quarter-century of terrorism that was insidiously escalating both in frequency and vehemence.

If both governments can be stabilized even at this late date, the landscape in the Middle East from Lebanon to the West Bank will be much improved; if not, much worse. For those who wish to give up the struggle in Iraq, go home, and stay clear of the Middle East, a final question: What would Mr. Assad in Syria, al Qaeda in Iraq, President Ahmadinejad in Iran, or Hamas and Hezbollah wish us to do — and why?”

In reading Hanson the mind wandered to a recent essay by Mark Steyn in the most recent issue of National Review, which you’re not allowed to read yet as it’s a paid subscription. The essay in the June 25 issue of National Review, “American Quagmire,” ponders the decline of a nation, based in thoughtful part by the state of the air-travel network and its having to be symbolic of something.

We, in the U.S. just like any nation past, present or future would be remiss if we denied the inevitability of the decline of our nation’s position or power in the world some day. It isn’t however at its dawn just yet so don’t be too pessimistic. Where Steyn ponders others seem to know already because bin Laden is a prophet I guess and we’re without doubt playing right into his hands; it’s always simple as that for the enemy, but never for us.

Many offer our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere as though they are our Soviet Afghanistan and are evidence of our decline. I disagree as I seem to recall many saying the Soviet’s Afghanistan was their Vietnam; if so they crumbled after theirs and we did not following ours.

The point being poorly made here is that we can fear the decline and not do anything that may hasten its arrival; like run away from Iraq and other places and recede into our shell. Continuing with the diplomatic or sporadic ineffective strikes from “30,000 feet,” that do nothing to actually sway the direction of history except to perhaps allow us to sleep longer and delay the next fanatical attack upon us or the West in general.

In the process of the inevitable we should do everything within our power to bring down those backward cults of death so that when we do finally step down, the world is not left with the Ahmadinejads, Assads, the maniacs et al as the next ascendants. It just cannot be allowed to be and that’s that.

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