Jewish World ReviewNov. 26, 2003 / 1 Kislev, 5763
Edward I. Koch
Appeasement only whets the appetite of aggressors
Those who oppose the Bush doctrine articulated in the President's address to a joint session of Congress after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 also criticize the President's opposition to the Kyoto Protocol and the International Court of Justice and his ending of the ABM (Anti-ballistic missile) Treaty. I agree with the positions taken by the President.
I believe the Bush doctrine of "mak[ing] no distinction between the terrorists who committed [the September 11] acts and those who harbor them," rivals in importance and impact the Monroe and Truman doctrines. The Monroe Doctrine barred colonization by foreign powers in the Western Hemisphere, while the Truman Doctrine sought to contain Communism around the world.
Our preemptive war against Saddam Hussein remains highly controversial and will continue to dominate presidential election debates. During their recent press conference in Great Britain, the President and Tony Blair forcefully and convincingly explained that the invasion of Iraq was necessary in order implement U.N. Resolution 1441. It should not be forgotten that the Iraqis did have and did use weapons of mass destruction. They refused to advise U.N. inspectors where, how and who destroyed them, if that was indeed the case. Former C.I.A. director, James Woolsey, has written an article on the subject stating that with "'100 percent' consistency, according to the [Washington] Post account, Iraqi commanders have told U.S. interrogators, 'My unit didn't have WMD, but the one to my right or left did.'"
Preemptive wars should only be waged as a last resort. But who can doubt that the world would have been spared the agony of Adolf Hitler had the U.S. or Great Britain and France waged a preemptive war when Hitler broke Germany's treaty with the allies and occupied the Rhineland? How many millions of lives would have been spared if Hitler had been stopped in 1936?
President Bush also was correct in refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol. That Protocol inexcusably exempts China and India from greenhouse gas reduction, despite the fact that China and India now represent about 40 percent of the world's population. Critics of the President also ignore the fact that the Senate unanimously rejected the Protocol during the Clinton administration.
The Senate was right to oppose the Protocol, particularly in view of a recent New York Times article which reported, "The International Energy Agency in Paris predicts that the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 to 2030 in China alone will nearly equal the increase from the entire industrialized world." The Times article also reported, "Another developing country exempt from the protocol, India, is also showing strong growth in emissions as its economy prospers. General Motors predicts that China will account for 18 percent of the world's growth in new car sales from 2002 through 2012; the United States will be responsible for 11 percent, and India 9 percent." Further, the article stated, "China is now the world's largest coal consumer, and its power plants are burning coal faster than its aging railroads can deliver it from domestic mines, most of which are in the north. So the country is importing coal from Australia."
President Bush's opposition to the International Court of Justice is also well grounded. There is substantial enmity directed at the U.S. nowadays for a host of reasons, many of which can be summed up in one word envy. In this hostile environment, it would be downright irresponsible to give this new international tribunal the right to indict our military personnel for war crimes, instead of depending on our military justice system which has an excellent reputation. Who doubts that if they could, many members of the United Nations would seek indictments against members of our armed forces in connection with their actions in Iraq? Belgium indicted both President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon, and only changed its law and dropped the indictments recently when the U.S. threatened to move NATO headquarters from Brussels and not to fund a new NATO facility.
President Bush also was right to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. That treaty would have prevented the U.S. from seeking a shield from nuclear ballistic missiles, whether launched by rogue nations like North Korea or by terrorists. The world is beginning to accept the Bush administration's opposition to the treaty. Even the Russians have given up their objections to research and deployment of anti-ballistic missile technology. There also does not seem to be much opposition to the administration's position by our European allies who would undoubtedly like to be included under the shield. They apparently recognize the dangers inherent in the worldwide proliferation of nuclear missiles and their use by North Korea, Iran and Pakistan.
President Bush, whom I do not agree with on a single domestic issue, has distinguished himself by his willingness to take on international terrorism. Most of his Democratic opponents who are running for president do not have the stomach to stand up to the bin Ladens and Saddam Husseins of the world.
I am convinced that the world is awakening to the danger of standing by silently while terrorists around the world exact higher and higher tolls in innocent lives. Nations like Turkey after the recent bombings there have rallied to the cause of fighting the Islamic terrorists in the same way the British in World War II, subjected to the bombings of their cities, rallied against Hitler.
Appeasement never works. It simply whets the appetite of aggressors, causing them to demand even more from the victim.
Those who marched in the streets of London to demonstrate their opposition to the policies of Bush and Blair disgraced themselves when, on learning of the bombings in Turkey which killed 27 and injured more than 400 people, continued their march instead of stopping, even for a moment, to show support for the injured survivors and families of the dead. Shame on them.
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© 2002, Edward I. Koch