Jewish World Review Jan. 6, 2004 / 12 Teves, 5764

Zev Chafets

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Riding the wave | All across the planet, 2004 was ushered in to the clinking sound of falling dominoes. They are falling America's way.

On Friday, it was announced that North Korea has invited an unofficial team of American experts to inspect its nuclear facilities. Kim Jong Il's motives are always opaque, but this seems like good news. It appears he may finally understand that the U.S. won't allow him to turn North Korea into the atomic arsenal of fascism.

North Korea's move is especially interesting because it follows a decision by Iran to permit UN oversight of its nuclear program and the announcement by Libya's Moammar Khadafy that he is renouncing weapons of mass destruction.

Such cooperation doesn't come from the goodness of anyone's heart. Khadafy, for example, has been an enemy of the U.S. since Richard Nixon was President. But after surveying the successes of the Bush doctrine and calculating the odds of the jihad, he has decided to switch sides.

A similar change of heart seems to be taking place in Sudan. It has long been a fixture on the State Department's terrorist list. But now the Islamic regime in Khartoum is on the verge of accepting an American-brokered end to its civil war against the black Christian and animist tribes in the southern part of the country. Sudan, like Libya, wants to be friends with the Great Satan.

Egypt, too. After three years of wild anti-American and anti-Israeli propaganda, Cairo is now desperately trying to convince Washington that it is on the right side of efforts to halt the Palestinian intifadeh.

This is a change of policy so stark that a Palestinian mob recently attacked Egypt's foreign minister during his visit to a Jerusalem mosque. Palestinians, who have become perhaps the most rabidly anti-American population in the world, know a defector when they see one.

Dominoes seem poised to fall elsewhere in the Islamic world, too. Pakistan, after decades of anti-Indian hostility, is suddenly making friendly overtures to New Delhi. This is no coincidence.

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In his year-end assessment of foreign policy, Secretary of State Powell stressed the improvement of U.S. relations with India. Powell noted a similar improvement in relations with China and Russia. Taken together, these three countries - along with the U.S. and its Anglophone allies - constitute about half of humanity.

Powell's message to Germany and France: We, not you, are the world.

Old Europe is starting to get it. Both France and Germany have now agreed to the American demand (phrased, of course, as a request) that they forgive some of Iraq's debt. This cave-in amounts to a de facto recognition that the U.S. is the winner in Iraq.

It is much too early to declare a Pax Americana. North Korea and Iran remain dangerous and deceitful regimes, and it is likely that they are simply playing for time. Russia and China are pragmatic nations with their own interests. Right now, those interests coincide with Washington's, but that could change. Old Europe, humiliated, will rise again.

And, of course, the jihad continues. Many of the Islamic dictators who have hopped on the American bandwagon would happily jump off again at the first opportunity. Whether they get such an opportunity depends on Washington. As long as it stays resolute, it will have the (often grudging) cooperation of the countries that matter. American power, seriously and consistently applied as President Bush has applied it, is simply too great to be effectively opposed.

Only America can stop America. That's why jihadists, Axis of Evil dictators and French diplomats are all hoping for Bush's defeat this year. They know from experience that Democratic multilateralists don't care for the sound of falling dominoes. Not even when they are falling America's way.

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JWR contributor Zev Chafets is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

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