Skip to comments.Sowell: Dangers Ahead--From the Right
Posted on 01/05/2003 4:25:54 AM PST by The Raven
This year may be long remembered as the year when either the wisdom or the lack of wisdom of our leaders decided the fate of Americans yet unborn. The undeclared war against this country by nations harboring and fostering terrorists sworn to our destruction became undeniable on September 11, 2001.
The nuclear threat implicit in these undeclared wars became explicit last year, when North Korea openly repudiated the treaty by which Bill Clinton had tried to buy them off by essentially paying blackmail to get their nuclear weapons off the headlines.
Sweeping the problem under the rug worked for Clinton, in the only sense that mattered to him, that it solved his immediate political problem and left the dangers to be dealt with by his successors. But now that President Bush has openly recognized the terrorist threat and taken it on, the path of buying off North Korea once again seems no longer open to him, even if he wanted to take it.
Nevertheless, it is not encouraging to hear Secretary of State Colin Powell talking about how we will not "negotiate" with North Korea, but that we will have "conversations" with them. This sounds too much like Bill Clinton's habit of splitting hairs over words, while hiding behind semantics.
Those who discuss death-laden international complexities as if they were discussing abstract issues around a seminar table are asking why we are getting ready to take on Iraq without first taking on North Korea. Iraq does not have a nuclear-armed China backing up Saddam Hussein. That is not a small difference in the real world.
China, incidentally, has nuclear missiles that can reach American cities, thanks to American technology which they obtained when Bill Clinton over-ruled the objections of our military and intelligence officials, and allowed that technology to be exported. China also now controls the canal that Americans built in Panama, which Jimmy Carter gave away when he was president.
Clinton gained campaign contributions and Jimmy Carter gained the kind of international image that eventually led to the Nobel Prize, especially after he later schmoozed with North Korean and Cuban dictators, and publicly trashed the foreign policy of the Bush administration.
Cynics say that every man has his price. But you might at least expect presidents to have higher prices than these.
While the left has done enormous damage to the security of the United States, the political right is not without its problems. Those neoconservatives, especially, who were pushing an activist "national greatness" foreign policy, even before September 11th, have seized upon that event as a reason for the United States to "use American might to promote American ideals" around the world.
That phrase, by Max Boot of the Counsel on Foreign Relations and The Weekly Standard, is breathtaking in its implications. When he places himself and fellow neoconservatives in the tradition of Woodrow Wilson, it is truly chilling.
Many of the countries we are having big trouble with today were created by the Woodrow Wilson policies of nation-building by breaking up empires, under the principle of "self-determination of nations." Such trouble spots as Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon were all parts of the Ottoman Empire that was dismembered after its defeat in the First World War.
The Balkan cauldron of nations was created by dismembering the defeated Austro-Hungarian Empire. That dismemberment also facilitated Adolph Hitler's picking off small nations like Czechoslovakia and Austria in the 1930s, without firing a shot, because they were no longer part of a defensible empire.
The track record of nation-building and Wilsonian grandiosity ought to give anyone pause. The very idea that young Americans are once again to be sent out to be shot at and killed, in order to carry out the bright ideas of editorial office heroes, is sickening.
In a dangerous nuclear world, it is a full-time job for the U.S. government to protect the lives of the American people. That cannot be done by staying home and depending on two oceans to shield us, as the old-line conservatism of Patrick Buchanan seems to suggest. But to destroy regimes that are trying to destroy us is very different from going on nation-building adventures.
Once again, Thomas Sowell demonstrates his brilliance by summing up the Clinton's Foreign Policy in a sentence or two.
Quite the opposite. We require our people to be whores and incompetents to get elected.
Let's remember that our little country used to be part of the once-mighty British empire. Were George Washington and friends wrong?
Replacing "regimes" with "puppets" or different forms of corruption doesn't work. Any US supported start-up nation that is not laying down a "Constitution" similar to ours...means:
A. We are asking for trouble somewhere down the road.
B. We've all been duped.
In a dangerous nuclear world, it is a full-time job for the U.S. government to protect the lives of the American people. That cannot be done by staying home and depending on two oceans to shield us, as the old-line conservatism of Patrick Buchanan seems to suggest.
Obviously the two oceans do not shield us from a nation equipped with ICBM's or SLBM's.
Given the facts that; (1) every nation and even non state actors pose a credible potential threat via nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, (2) the US is (for the time being) a relatively free and open society, (3) pathetic border control and lax immigration policies, the question is where does the US draw the line of pre-emption?
Sowell draws a distinction between US troops dying to enforce a Wilsonian world utopia as compared to troops dying to protect the US from potential threats. Again he is correct, but he avoids the central issues.
Those issues are the facts that (1) idiotic Wilsonian foreign policy created the enemies we currently face, (2) our attack on Iraq will harden the resolve of enemies we already have and create more in the bargain, and (3) the only way to make America truly safe is to establish an American led global empire with freedoms on par with the Soviet empire.
An empire based on legitimate security concerns is ultimately no different from a Wilsonian empire.
Freedom is not free. It's cost is a degree of risk. That is a cost I am willing to pay.
It does bring up the question of what the U.S. "is going to do with" Iraq after we take care of Saddam.
I'm no whore, either.
But the British were hoisted on their own petard of parliamentary government.
In a sense, we are still a part of the Anglo-empire which includes English speaking democracies in North America and Australia/New Zealand. I would include India as well. Heirs to the ideas of Magna Carta, but admittedly, less and less to limited government.
Nearly every (Unconstitutional)problem of contemporary America- from the IRS, to the centralized Police force known as the FBI, to the odd public/private Central bank known as the Federal Reserve,to the direct election of Senators, to interventionist "entangling foreign alliances" had their genesis in the Wilson Administration.
The 20th Century was truly the Wilsonian Century. FDR may have built Socialist America, but Woodrow Wilson was the architect with the original blueprints.
There should be a separate Woodrow Wilson section on Free Republic so people can learn how badly the Constitution was gutted during his tenure.
Rather, changed from "sounds" to "looks" midword?
I don't think control on this level is required. Our goal should be 190 "little Americas" all trading freely with each other. Federalism on a global scale.
To that end, I agree with the earlier comment regarding setting each nation up with a Constitution similar to ours, then stepping out of the way. If it fails, which some inevitably will, time enough to try again 15 years down the road...some will succeed, however, and move each toward government of, by, and for the people.
I think down road, historians will graft william jefferson clinton onto that tree, and maybe carter, making the wilson-FDR-clinton evolution obvious. The arming of China historically fits this pattern of support for World Socialism.
As I recall, there were more than a few Republicans involved in the process as well. Why doesn't Sowell address that?
I will admit to a lack of expert knowledge on those subjects.
First, scattered through those 190 nation states there are approximately 1500 distinct cultures and languages in existance today. The vast majority would be completely unwilling and/or incapable of handling a system of govt. like the US.
Hell, the US is incapable of adhering to it's own Constitutional principles.
Second, the USSR encompassed 11 time zones and about two dozen languages and cultures. The only way it maintained control was by stationing troops of culture A in the territory of culture B. This system worked until the USSR collapsed and you know what has happened and continues to happen since.
Third, the US simply does not have the moral authority to impose it's will on nations who are not out to harm us.
Hushhhhhh. That's a secret.
We're looking for another land grab for multinational corporate America.
I've always expected high standards from elected leaders also, but after the American people twice elected Bill Clinton to the presidency I became cynical. The election and popularity of George Bush have helped, but my opinion of the electorate and the leaders it chooses still remains jaded.
That's a sentence or two more attention than Clinton gave it.
That's the way I interpret Sowell's arguments. Strange!
Did the decadent and corrupt Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman empires deserve to continue their miserable existence?
Did/do any of the decadent and corrupt States carved out of the former Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires deserve to continue their miserable existences? Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia are already gone; the rest of the rubbish is lobbying to get right back into another empire-in-progress, the EU. What was the point of creating all of these States in the first place, if even they admit they are not viable?
BTW, I knew Max Boot as an ungrad at UC Berkeley: Max, even then, is what I would call a "young fogey": a bit of a stuffed shirt. I'm not suprised he's become an acolyte of the neo-cons: careerists always have a knack to the fastest road to wealth and influence, and the neo-cons are the best, and nastiest, bunch of careerists ever to plague the American political system.
Not that Max or other neo-cons are nasty in person: they are just nasty, as a group.