…if you’re a country, that is.
US Embassies have been attacked in Egypt, Libya and Yemen within the past few days. An American ambassador is among the dead…something that hasn’t happened in over thirty years.
If you think our adversaries are rational people, open to sophisticated diplomacy, turn on the television.
Remember all those elites who scoffed at us? The ones who, after 9/11, urged America to heed the United Nations and the wishes of world opinion? The elites who cared more for the approval of partygoers in Davos and Paris, or the approval of Ivy League faculty? (Faculty which, to a great extent, STILL thinks of ROTC as an endeavor unworthy of the Ivy League).
Do you think they had the right idea? Turn on the television and find out.
I’ll readily admit that George W. Bush made a bunch of mistakes in office. However, he scared the hell out of our enemies.
Shortly after Saddam Hussein was toppled, Muammar Quadaffi voluntary renounced his Weapons of Mass Destruction program. When the Italian prime minister asked him why, Quadaffi replied that he saw what happened in Iraq, and he was afraid.
If your enemies fear you, you are safer. If they don’t fear you, they’re more likely to try and hurt you.
Now, you may be able to absorb their blows and win the battle in the end. But, at what cost? Osama bin Laden was NOT scared of the USA—he called it a “paper tiger.” So, he thought it was worth it to risk the attacks that we now know as 9/11.
In the “big picture” view of things, the USA won in the end. Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is in tatters. But, we paid a pretty heavy price to win that fight. Personally, I miss the World Trade Center and the 3000+ of my countrymen that we lost that day.
The best military and intelligence capabilities in the world can’t 100% safeguard us. Our society is too big, too open and too dynamic. We are not an island; we are connected to a global community. There are simply way, way too many openings for us to defend all at once, all the time. If you really want to be safe, you can’t just absorb blows—you have to prevent them.
Wouldn’t it have been better if bin Laden had been scared to death of us? Just like Quadaffi was?
Do you think terrorists and insurgents are scared of us now? Turn on the TV.