Jewish World Review Jan. 14, 2003 / 11 Shevat, 5763
What have you done for the free world lately?
Yet this constant critique of US foreign policy should give way to a more pressing question of our so-called friends: What have you done for the free world lately? As long as the US willingly plays the whipping boy of our so-called allies, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong II and terrorists around the world are emboldened, while isolationists at home are already saying "see, I told you so."
Let's take a step back to take an honest assessment of the landscape. Many of our current foreign policy messes result from the fact that we are getting no significant, practical support from any other advanced power to contain and eliminate the world's most dangerous rulers. Would it really be possible for two-bit countries like Iraq and North Korea to hold "the world" hostage if "the world" would actually stand up to them? Europe's "peace at any cost" mentality is partly the result of its resistance to American urgings, and of course its addiction to the money that Middle Eastern and Arab trade brings in. Plus, why do the heavy lifting when, in the end, Europe knows America will? (read: the American taxpayers and military).
The rules of 21st century foreign policy are getting simpler by the day: If you want a resolution passed-go to the UN. If you want the resolution enforced-go to the US. The Security Council wouldn't have passed multiple resolutions calling on Iraq to disarm if it did not believe Iraq's appetite for weapons of mass destruction and its willingness to sell them endangered the free world. Yet when Saddam Hussein failed to live up to the requirements of Resolution 1441, when he refuses to provide an accurate list of Iraqi scientists, the UN is unfazed. Hans Blix says they need more time--months, maybe another year.
How smart is that? Time, plus undeserved trust, is exactly what gave North Korea the opportunity to join the world's nukes club. As a result we find ourselves forced to bargain with a brutal regime that threatens world stability and 37,000 of our finest in South Korea. After years of UN and Clinton Administration engagement (who can forget Madeline Albright's champagne toast with Kim Jong Il?), we are at the brink of an international crisis. North Korea only decided to 'fess up when it realized that President Bush wasn't pussyfooting.
Iraq isn't North Korea--yet. With its recent history of invading its neighbor Kuwait, and bombing the Kurds with chemicals, one can only imagine what Saddam would demand as nuclear blackmail. That is where following the Europeans now will take us. When is the last time the UN or the Europeans came up with a workable, realistic approach to a major foreign policy problem? In fact, to the regular guy out there in Fly-Over Land, the more we do as a nation for the world's liberty and security, the more resentment we get in return. Superpower envy is reaching epidemic levels.
Today South Korea, for whose liberty 50,000 of our soldiers died, is more worried about the policies of George Bush than Kim Jong Il. Our soldiers report being spat upon and jeered in the streets of Seoul. Rather than rally around the US in South Korea, our "friends" are telling us to play nice. Requests to China for assistance with North Korea have fallen on deaf ears. Japan and Russia don't want to get involved. No country other than the US seems bothered by any of this.
With disturbing frequency, the US finds itself mocked, ridiculed, and undermined by the very countries whose interests we are supposedly protecting. The natural instinct of many is to say "to hell with them, we'll go it alone." But as powerful as we are, we are not powerful enough to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, or to overthrow madmen like Hussein, in the face of passive (and in many cases, active) opposition from every other major country on earth (with the exception of Britain).
In the future we should refrain from talking about how we share "common
values" with so many countries that plainly do not share our values. We
should continue diplomacy but not bang our heads against the wall, and
certainly not relinquish any more of our sovereignty along the way.
Instead we need to talk honestly about what sort of deals and payoffs
countries like China, Russia, France, Germany and South Korea require
before they will support us. This gives Americans some context when they
hear complaints that the US is acting "against the wishes of the
international community." This global village is made up of individual
countries all acting out of their own self-interests, but pretending
otherwise. The jig is up.
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