Saturday, January 31, 2004

What's Really At Stake?

What's Really At Stake?

That Iraq may lack WMD's after all is a side issue. The Iraq was was about the future. And who we elect in November will influence the security of the civilized world for centuries.

"Things in the Middle East are hard precisely because the stakes there are gargantuan. But so are the rewards: The sanctuaries and patrons of murderers, suicide bombers, and terrorists are shrinking with the destruction of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. Autocracies like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria are terrified of consensual government in Iraq precisely because they are aware of its implications for their own deprived citizens.

Meanwhile millions — from Libya and Pakistan to North Korea and Iran — watch intently. They wonder whether this new United States is about to run out of gas and return to the old appeasement of the last twenty years, when crafting nukes on the sly, blowing up Americans, and terrorizing innocents earned (at the worst) a televised remonstration expressing "concern" and "disappointment." On the other hand, wonder the world's opportunists, is this new — and often unpredictable — United States going to completely change the rules of engagement, to prevent the conditions that would lead to another September 11? "

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