The bitter harvest from decades of so-called diplomacy, appeasement, "understanding other cultures" and timidity is as about to be taken in. Sadly, those few who see what is happening are apparently powerless to avoid catastrophe.
There is no better illustration of the stupidity of politicians than the situation with Iran. All the resolutions and noble words of the United Nations have exposed that organization for the powerless waste of space and assets that it is. The Iranian leaders, like many despots before them, simply ignore the UN and go about their merry way. When the inevitable disaster strikes, UN delegates will wring their hands and say, "but we told them not to do that!"
And now, with the Iranians' latest act of war, the capture of 15 Royal Navy sailors and marines who were going about their duties outside of Iran's territorial waters, we see how far the rot has spread.
Tony Blair is reportedly "upset." Stern words have been spoken to the Iranian ambassador to the UK. The EU -- which some have begun to refer to as the "EUssr" -- has asked Iran to free their hostages.
So continues the pitiful behavior of alleged "statesmen" that began with Neville Chamberlain kowtowing to Hitler, FDR caving in to Stalin at Yalta, Truman's indecision in Korea, the JFK-Johnson-Nixon "limited-war" follies in Vietnam, Carter's shameful inaction against Iran after American hostages were taken, Clinton's wimp-out against various terrorists and the sordid performance of both Bushes, father and son, in Iraq.
PARENTHETICAL BEFORE YOU-LEAVE-A-COMMENT THOUGHT: I know it's easy to sit here at a desk -- or at an even fancier desk, surrounded by fawning minions, in Washington or London -- and advocate sending others off to die. If you understand what I am about to say, I think -- at least hope -- you will conclude that I am less enthusiastic about doing so than most of our modern presidents are and have been....
The basic problem is simple. Diplomacy has become some bizarre game, laden with arcane etiquette and choreography, not a way for nations to resolve differences. It's all about dialog, about misplaced trust that others play by the same rules; it is a strange dance so divorced from reality that its players forget those whom they are there to serve.
Chamberlain, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Clinton and the two Bushes have, in combination, set up rules of warfare and international relations that will, if not reversed soon, lead to an unimaginably destructive future war. It seems Tony Blair, the UN and the EU have all been infected by the same disease that made these men shameful sell-outs.
Our Congress carries a share of the blame as well. Had the Democrats and Republicans who are scheming for a withdrawal from Iraq set a timetable for Bush to get the job done effectively rather than advocate retreat in the face of his ineffective management of the war, we would not face another humiliation like the one we suffered in the last days of the war in Vietnam.
The answer, as I see it, is to establish some basic principles for dealing with those who make themselves enemies. It begins with belief in ourselves, a far cry from modern-day liberals' hand-wringing, always-apologetic guilt trips and mad desire to "see the other side" of every issue, no matter how dangerous that other side may be.
After that, we must embrace an old concept of war: at one time, military and civilian leaders understood that war was a last resort but, once begun, it had to be prosecuted until the enemy lost all ability to wage war.
Much as we might like to think otherwise, there is no such thing as a "precision" war with carefully selected targets destroyed with minimal loss of life or "collateral damage." Would Germany or Japan have surrendered in 1945 had the Allies not demonstrated a willingness and ability to wipe both nations from the face of the earth? I think not.
By the same token, would they have started the war knowing we would inflict maximum destruction on them? Same answer. In reality, they looked at our diplomats and heads of state, saw weakness, and attacked.
Good generals used to understand that. Unfortunately, when FDR appointed Eisenhower, a "political general," as Supreme Commander in Europe, the war effort was slowed dramatically by Ike's desire to keep all his allies happy, and war has never been the same since.
A well-trained, well-equipped military not hamstrung by nation's political structure could have finished GW Bush's "war on Saddam" in days. His father's war against Iraq, if carried to its logical conclusion, would have rendered Junior's war unnecessary.
Likewise, if the Iranians didn't realize they were facing weakness in the form of Carter, Bush, Blair and the UN, they would not have taken hostages. In fact, they would not be waving the nuclear threat in our faces.
At this point, the only way to straighten out the mess left to us by past appeasement is to announce, then order, then carry out a fierce, destructive and rapid response to the current situation.
Conflicts of this kind can only be resolved on the basis of strength. The more willingness to defend what we believe is right we display, the less force we will ultimately have to use.
As far as imposing "democracy" on Iraq, or Iran, or any other country, it's none of our damn business. No one fought the British on our behalf during the Revolution; it was a home-made effort led by people who wanted to establish a free and independent nation. Those in other lands who wish to emulate us need to at least show a willingness to start the ball rolling on their own before we offer aid.
You may think I'm advocating rampant militarism; I'm not. What I believe we must do is convince those who consider themselves enemies -- and that includes China, North Korea, several Middle Eastern nations and Russia -- that we are always open to discussion and working out our disagreements up to a clearly defined point. After that, they oppose us at their own clearly defined risk.
The best way to avoid war is to make it clear that if war starts, we will show no mercy on the enemy.
It is time for our leaders, here and in the UK, to show some courage. Given their track records, I'm not optimistic.
6 hours ago