Respect, courage and Consequences

America is respected, admired, loved, feared and loathed all at the same time. It is gratifying to be admired and wonderful to be loved and being loathed is to be avoided whenever possible, but the key to success is respect. America’s friends, enemies and everyone in between must be convinced that the U.S. will act consequentially on promises and threats.

Many people in the world were surprised when we successfully invaded Afghanistan and the initial invasion of Iraq went much better than most experts predicted. Libya decided to come clean about its own WMD we seemed to be on the right track. Unfortunately, we lost our way in the aftermath. Now with the neutralization of al Sadr and the taking of Fallujah, I hope we are once again on moving in the right direction. Our friends should know our support and our enemies feel our power. The certainty of both will help those in between choose the right side. It is the vacillations that create problems. We know where we want to be. We need the courage to get there.

Military strength alone cannot create democracy and free institutions, but democracy and free institutions cannot exist without military strength to defend them. Democracy was given a chance in Germany and Japan by allied military intervention. Security guarantees provided by NATO insured (not assured) democracy in post-war Europe. Domestic military strength imposed a secular society on Turkey. The defeat of Communist insurgencies allowed democracy to return in Central America and American airpower liberated Muslims in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Afghanistan and Iraq are not only two fronts in the war on terrorism; they are two fronts in the transformation of the Middle East. After existing for generations, the Soviet Empire fell like a house of cards after Poland brought freedom into the heart of the evil empire. Iraq can play such a pivotal role in the heart of the Middle East. In 1985, nobody - except maybe Ronald Reagan who the experts ridiculed as a simple-minded cowboy - thought the Soviet Empire would fall in their lifetimes. By 1995, everybody claimed to have predicted it as inevitable. As we approach 2005, the experts predict a continuation of the old, corrupt, order. I believe in 2015 the experts will be revising their predictions to say that the changes were inevitable and that that George Bush has nothing to do with it.

Posted by Jack at November 20, 2004 10:22 PM