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Jewish World Review Feb. 25, 2003 / 23 Adar I, 5763

Michael Long

Mike Long
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The Cradle of Civilization, Again


No more Cold Wars


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The removal of Iraq as an international troublemaker is going to change the world for the better.

Once the current Iraqi regime is removed, American soldiers will find massive and hidden stockpiles of restricted materiel and weapons. The true scope of Saddam's ability to support terrorism will be laid out for the world.

Iraqis, and a significant population within the Arab world, will see by America's magnanimous post-war behavior that U.S. intentions were as stated: the removal of a source of mischief and weapons of mass destruction (WMD), with the splendid byproduct of the liberation of the Iraqi people from a murderer-dictator.

More important, though, is that the deposing of Saddam Hussein will mark the start of a long-term effort toward a restructured and, eventually, peaceful Middle East.

The world's long history of violent despots teaches at least these things: force is the universal language of dictators; it is the only way to get terrorists' attention; and even lovers of peace must be fluent to survive --- especially lovers of peace. A historic display of American military might --- Iraq 2003 will make the Gulf War look like a cudgel - will give our enemies pause.

Expect North Korea's Kim Jong Il to return to his senses, such as they are. Kim wants to stay in power. His nuclear adventurism lately is a means to that end --- he cannot afford to run his own country, let alone run a war around the globe. In a little-noted but telling debate on "Meet The Press" on February 23, Richard Perle indicated that the U.S. would almost certainly strike at North Korea if it proceeded too far down the nuclear road. Kim won't attack the South (destroying the infrastructure and resources that he covets) unless such a move is part of regional suicide mission before he is deposed or killed. Kim will find a way back to the negotiating table. However, the world will recognize his real motivation: the intimidating power -- and newly shown will -- of America to dispose of WMD threats.

The mullahs in Iran will silence themselves considerably, having become next-door neighbors to America's vested investment in a new Middle East, and the attendant population of armed forces. Iranian leaders know they are about one sneer away from revolution among their own people, and that their country would make a nice annex to Iraq's remodeling.

The rest of the Islamic world will be relieved by the end of Saddam, but will also find itself under a new constraint: American force will no longer be only reactive; it will be available as a pre-emptive option against supporters of terrorism. This will start the countdown on the existence of terror-friendly regimes in countries such as Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Syria, and others. Additional pressure on those governments will come when the success of reconstituted Middle East states creates new opportunities and improved quality of life for their neighbors.

The goal of the war on terror began with a bold idea, to end the notion that civilized societies can tolerate terrorism of any kind. In a very short time, this has evolved into something more, to match U.S. reactive policies to pre-emptive initiatives against grave threats. With the hair-trigger potential of WMD, and the proliferation of such weapons into the hands of groups with no geographic location to defend, there was really little choice, if the safety of the nation was to be preserved and not left to the goodwill of our enemies.

It will be a frightening trip from here to there. There are significant numbers of people in Europe and America who insist that it is better to negotiate truce after truce instead of eliminating a threat that is beyond the pale. These are the same people who believe that any peace is better than war --- the same people who refuse to recall, for instance, such a "peace" after World War I, which led directly to World War II. It is easier to believe happy talk; some otherwise intelligent individuals will be happy to do just that. Yet reason and goodwill cannot fix everything.

The Cold War was a spectacular mistake. Decades of the fear of mutually assured destruction -- MAD, as it is called -- would have never occurred if the U.S. had had the foresight and will to act after World War II. This time, we have a chance to head off a far more dangerous cold war with radical Islam. Imagine the folly of fighting a cold war with the enemy already foreswearing "cold."

Iraq is the cradle of civilization. Ironically, it is about to become just that once again.

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JWR contributor Michael Long is a a director of the White House Writers Group. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2001, Michael Long