Pontificator: News and Commentary

Saturday, November 30, 2002 :::
Let's throw out the conventional wisdom and ask some threshold questions:

1) In ten years, will it be easier, or harder, to obtain weapons of mass destruction?

2) In ten years, will people outside the U.S.A. hate the U.S.A. more, or less, than they do today?

These are the two questions which matter. Any foreign policy that we propound should be focused on obtaining a "harder" answer to question one, and a "less" answer to question two.

If you don't agree with me so far, stop reading. If you do, here are my thoughts.

For question one, we're doomed. No matter what we do, it will be easier in ten years to obtain weapons of mass destruction than it is now. The technology is out there, and more and more unstable, poor governments are acquiring it, and more and more random terrorist elements are in a position to put cash on the table to acquire it. Our war against terrorism, in the long run, is simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Sure, maybe we'll disrupt Al-Qaeda operations, but what about a religious cult in a third world country led by mentally unbalanced "end of the world" type with a generous trust fund. Today, that group could commit mass suicide, tomorrow, mass homicide is unfortunately within their reach.

For question two, to me, the answer seems obvious. If we want people to like us more, we have to listen to them and respect their opinions. That doesn't mean bowing and scraping to the Palestinian terrorists and throwing Israel over the side. In fact, when violent terrorism occurs, there is no question we have to send an unmistakeable message that it won't be tolerated. Otherwise, terrorism becomes an acceptable weapon for those who wouldn't be inclined to use it in the first place. But it does mean working with others, not dictating to them that we have all the answers, and that their culture is inferior to ours. This is simply common sense: if we intentionally shame other people, those other people will hate us, even if they pretend on the surface to like us.

And, if weapons of mass destruction are available (and they will be), those people who hate us will surreptitiously use those weapons of mass destruction against us.

This, is the challenge of the next decade, a challenge the Bush Administration utterly fails to recognize, much yet meet. Simply put, in the long, run, it's hard to see how "unilateralisim," in its current Bush formulation, advances our security interests, If anything, extending our footprint without cooperation and consensus is the MOST dangerous strategy in an ever more dangerous world. As we impose our will, without regard to others, we will create enemies whom we cannot crush, cannot browbeat, and cannot persuade. The Al Qaeda type, which today are somewhat sophisticated groups of terrorists, will tomorrow be smaller, harder to find, and ever more peculiar international malcontents. With this model, our best strategy is to avoid creating undeterrable enemies in tomorrow's festering pockets of third world unrest. A heavy handed international presence will not serve our interests in this world. It is true that, whatever strategy we take, we may be victims of vicious WMD attacks by non-governmental entities, but the less enemies we have, the less likely this outcome.

::: posted by Pontificator at 5:04 PM

Wednesday, November 27, 2002 :::
I can't wait to see what Christopher Hitchens has to say about this.


::: posted by Pontificator at 1:45 PM

Sunday, November 24, 2002 :::
Scoobie Davis is stalking Bill O'Reilly. Go Scoobie Go!

::: posted by Pontificator at 11:33 PM

More on Iraq.

It is not clear what Iraq's strategy is yet regarding the weapons inspections, or even whether it has a strategy at all. However, based on its obstructive letter today, and based on its somewhat incredible denial that it has ANY weapons of mass destruction, it appears Iraq may have decided that war is inevitable, and that it is not going to give its enemies an inch before hostilities begin. If this is the case, expect Iraq to hide all of its WMD's, and for the inspections to be a total failure. Also, expect war by January.

::: posted by Pontificator at 12:10 PM


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