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Krauthammer: America 'Sees Face of Armageddon'

Wednesday, 11 February 2004 12:00 AM

However, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer says the biggest difference is that unlike the Soviet Union more than 40 years ago, “this time the enemy does not draw back.”

Only “the use of American power,” he asserts, “evens the odds” for our survival.”

Addressing hundreds of people Tuesday night at a black-tie event in a huge hotel ballroom, Krauthammer ridiculed the “fortress America” isolationists as well as the multilateral liberal internationalists.

The former peddle a world outlook that is bankrupt, obsolete and inappropriate in today’s world, he opined.

The latter, the columnist stated, view America’s assertion of power for its own safety and saving lives as somehow “selfish.” That rationale, he told his audience, is something he would leave to trained psychiatrists. The speaker left unsaid the well-known fact that he himself is a psychiatrist.

These are people whose reaction to life-threatening crises, such as the war in Iraq, is to “call a committee," usually of the U.N., consisting of “your worst enemies,” which is “a good way to delay appropriate action for 12 years.” Democrat presidential hopeful John Kerry was mentioned as an advocate of this approach.

Krauthammer enunciated a foreign policy that is in sync with most if not all the Bush administration's moves in the war on terror. This was reinforced by the fact that, in accepting the American Enterprise Institute’s coveted Irving Kristol award, he was introduced by none other than Vice President Dick Cheney.

The vice president described the writer as “a serious person who assumes the same of his readers” and who understands “the duty of a free nation post-9/11 is to resist terrorists and hold accountable those nations that support them."

Dec. 26, 1991, the date the Soviet Union was formally dissolved, was a “staggering” event in modern world history, Krauthammer said to his cheering audience.

The defining moments of the 20th century since World War II, as he sees it, were the Truman Doctrine of 1947 of aid to nations struggling to fend off the advance of Soviet communism, John Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address vowing to sacrifice to meet any foe that threatened our freedom, and Ronald Reagan’s “evil empire” speech, directly challenging the Soviet Union in 1983.

Earlier in that century, Krauthammer said, there was Woodrow Wilson’s utopianism, in trying to get the U.S. to join the League of Nations.

Though the name of Wilson to many conservatives is a “fighting word,” the columnist allowed, nonetheless, “he can be forgiven” for his naivety. “In 1918, there was no way to know how corrupt an international organization can be. How was he to know that eight decades later, the League’s successor [the United Nations] would have an outlaw nation [Libya] chairing its Human Rights Commission?”

Even without having yet discovered weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strike when danger lurks on the international scene is essential to America’s safety, the award-winning columnist pointed out. And he noted Libya and Iran had (to different degrees) softened their hard-edged threats to world stability after seeing what happened in Iraq. Libya especially saw that threatening the world by seeking weapons of mass destruction “carries a cost, a high cost.”

“We are defenseless if we abjure the option of pre-emption,” he contended. “If you wait until the threat is imminent or is carried out, then it’s too late.”

If the U.S. is to protect the safety of its people, Krauthammer added, this nation must be prepared to act unilaterally if necessary, and pre-emptively if it must.

Such civility and stability as does exist in the world “is owed to the power of the United States. America maintains the global balance between civilization and barbarianism.”

Liberal internationalists, with plenty of help from the hopelessly unrealistic U.N. and the hand-wringers of Europe (i.e., the French and the Germans), he alleged, want to tie America down, at our and the world’s peril.

As an aside, he recalled that the late Irving Kristol, in whose honor AEI was giving him its award, once said he preferred the Organization of American States to the United Nations. In the OAS, the late scholar and father of so-called “neo-conservatism” once declared, you are insulted in only three languages, thereby saving interpreters’ fees.

“Serious arguments were made for avoiding the Iraq war,” Krauthammer noted, “but the fact that the French did not approve is not one of them.”

The fact that the French and Germans want a part of the action in post-war Iraq leaves Krauthammer cold, with the tongue in cheek suggestion that the Germans can do the policing and the French can do the catering. Those two nations, he noted, were doing business with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

A value-driven foreign policy is one that plants freedom in those parts of the world “where it counts,” and can lead to a safer international community. Spreading freedom is important “not just as an end, but as a means,” as Krauthammer sees it. Though much of the Arab Islamist world is “impervious to democracy,” he believes, “we cannot afford not to try.”

America, the only superpower in world history that did not seek more territory for itself, can best preserve the peace by “leaving something behind” as it is now attempting to do in Iraq.

Beyond Islamist terrorism, there are the looming threats of China and “the coming demographic collapse in Europe.” But because the soup at the banquet was getting cold, and it was past 8:30 p.m. at a dinner event where the speaker addressed the crowd before the meal was served, the columnist said these were problems left to another discussion on another day.

Vice President Cheney summed up what seemed to be the mood of the gathering when he described Krauthammer as one who “understands the world as it is.”

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However, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer says the biggest difference is that unlike the Soviet Union more than 40 years ago, "this time the enemy does not draw back." Only "the use of American power," he asserts, "evens the odds" for our survival." ...
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Wednesday, 11 February 2004 12:00 AM
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