Gerard Baker has a hard-hitting and “about time” column today on the increasing failure of Bush Administration to live up to its promises of strong, resolute leadership in World War III. (h/t – The Corner at NRO)
Let’s see. You invaded Iraq because you argued you would be able to bring about a peaceful, democratic society in the heart of the Arab world, a step vital to the eradication of modern terrorism. Many of us supported the project because we believed the stakes were so high that you would not stint in committing the resources necessary to achieve it.
But you tried to do it on the cheap. If many of us miscalculated the scale of the threat Iraq posed, there was no excuse for the woeful lack of preparation by your Administration for the task of pacifying the country.
The outcome? A broken nation on the verge of civil war, prey to the avarice of tyrannical regional neighbours, violently immolating itself and nurturing new generations of terrorists.
Well, you supported and perhaps even encouraged Israel to invade Lebanon last month, after repeated provocations by terrorists. The aim — a good one in principle — was to crush Hezbollah, weaken its Syrian and Iranian sponsors and put Lebanon on a path to long-term, terror-free stability. But when the largely aerial campaign predictably failed and equally predictably led to the world’s media reaching their one-sided conclusion about Israel’s “aggression” , you quickly backtracked. You encouraged Israel to accept a ceasefire that amounts to the country’s most serious defeat in its 57-year history.
The result? A strengthened Hezbollah and a new Arab hero, Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah; a reprieve for the beleaguered Assad regime in Damascus and a further fillip to Iranian ambitions; a strategic setback for Israel and the condemnation of Lebanon tragically to replay the turmoil of the 1980s.
How’m I doin’? You rightly identified Iran as the gravest threat to the West’s long-term security and you pledged to bend US policy to ensure that it did not gain the regional hegemony that would allow it to blackmail the world into acquiescence of its hateful ideology. Above all, Iran would be stopped from getting the bomb.
The result? The despised regime in Tehran has emerged as the true hegemonic power in the region, leeching on the battered bodies politic of Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, elevating its brand of Shia fundamentalism into position as the dominant force in the Islamic world and continuing on its path towards nuclear status.
The events of September 11, taken together with the other, steadily escalating acts of terrorism committed against the West in the past 30 years, required a radical new departure for the international system. Preventing the lunatics from blowing us all to the hereafter was going to require that the US, the only country with the power to stop it, break a bit of crockery.
But the US could take the risk of alienating the world and discarding international law only if its leadership was going to be effective. Instead its leadership has been desultory and uncertain and tragically ineffective.
But I don’t truly see how the failings in the Middle East could have been avoided by Washington’s being nicer to foreigners. What’s been missing is resolute leadership. It is hard for me to recall a time when the world was such a scary place. No one should rejoice at America’s weakness. The world is scarier still because of it.
Glenn Beck made similar statements yesterday when discussing the ridiculous UN/Israel/US appeasement of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah with the recent “ceasefire.” As Glenn said, “Israel has had the wishy-washy American spine implanted into it and that has made the world a scarier place.” He’s right — we cannot fight World War III by being concerned about political correctness niceities. Our enemies are not, but they are fighting to win.
Our slide to the policies of appeasement and delay, instead of crushing force and demands of unconditional surrender, are actually making the world a much more dangerous place. UN Resolution 1701 is our version of “Peace In Our Time”, circa 1938. The only question is who plays Chamberlain this time: Bush, Rice, Ohlmert or Annan? All of the above is my guess.
But here is the real scary part. There is a good possibility that the Party of Islamic Appeasement will gain control of one or two Houses of the US Congress in November. As Newt said to Sean Hannity yesterday, this is not a political election…. this is an historic election for America.
We could be facing a complete collapse of American resolve and a party dedicated to defending America after it is attacked, not protecting America by taking the fight to the enemies of freedom. Folks, in World War III and that would truly be a major victory for the forces of evil who want to spread Islamic fascism throughout the globe.
These are truly scary times. It could have been a lot different if America and Americans had a stiff spine. We are letting down the Greatest Generation as well as those who come after us.