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Understanding Evil By: Peter Huessy
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Bush administration's foreign and national security policy has generated serious opposition here at home and overseas. This is not unlike the reaction to President Reagan's plan to deploy intermediate range missiles in Europe and to modernize our land, sea and air-based nuclear deterrent systems.

The demonstrations of the early 1980's throughout Europe, coupled with the push for a nuclear freeze here in America, made it appear as if President Reagan was intent on blowing up the world. Former Carter administration officials were sought on a daily basis to appear on morning, evening and weekend talk shows, warning of impending doom, the collapse of arms control, possible conflict with the Soviet Union, and the deterioration of NATO.

For the intellectual Left in America, Reagan's bold foreign and defense policies were seen as fundamentally representative of a narrow, U.S. interest, reflecting the selfish concerns of the military industrial complex, war planners and DOD officials. In particular, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and the evening television news shows were unanimous that the US President, an uninformed actor, naïve in the ways of the world, could not be trusted with US security policy.

The Left hoped that cooler heads in the State Department would convince Reagan, the former California governor, to seek coexistence, not confrontation, with the leaders in Moscow. Critical to this strategy, we were told, was to get the two leaders from the US and the Soviet Union together at a "summit" to freeze our respective nuclear arsenals.

Fast forward twenty years later. In early 2001, the earliest manifestations of the new Bush administration security policy were a speech at the National Defense University where the President outlined the need for missile defenses, an overall counter terrorism strategy, and stronger controls over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as a strong, robust but reduced and more balanced deterrent force of nuclear weapons.


The reaction mirrored that of 1981. The same media outlets, the same articles, same television commentators, wringing their hands in worry, despairing of a "cowboy" governor from Texas, way over his head in the nuanced, fuzzy liberal world of his opponents.

Bush’s assertion of US interests, such as defending ourselves from ballistic missiles, or foregoing signing-off on a foolish energy consumption commitment such as called for by the Kyoto Treaty, was universally derided as wrong headed, "unilateral," representative of a "go it alone" policy.


The assumption by the diplomats at the United Nations and their friends in the rogue states and adversaries of the United States was that US policy, in order to be seen as "correct and proper," as one diplomat described the thinking at the time, should also reflect the interest of others, such as China, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Sweden, Ecuador, and, of course, France. A sort of "world consensus" was the proper framework within which US policy should operate. The idea is that if all nations put on the table what they want, and it is all thrown together and stirred into some kind of international mush, the result must by definition be more moral and reasonable than ideas put forward solely by the United States.


But the result of this logic is that the United Nations sees nothing wrong with rotating the chairmanship of the Security Council between Iraq and Syria when discussing terrorism. Or having Libya chair the UN Human Rights Commission. Or having nations under investigation for violating their pledges under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (the NPT) remain on the board of governors of the IAEA, which passes judgment on whether sanctions should be visited on just such nations. All states are, in this scheme, equal, and no state’s claims are more valid than any other nation’s interests.

This necessity of viewing all member nations of the UN with nearly equal interests leads to the ritualistic kabuki dance whenever the US government seeks "international agreement" on some serious issue. As soon as France, or China, or Russia or Syria dissent, the media immediately lashes out at U.S. administration for not having made a significantly generous offer or proposal to the UN. This is true for Kyoto, Iraq, North Korea, and Iran.

On Kyoto, the entire developing world, including China, Brazil, Mexico, India, and Egypt was exempt from the C02 emission standards, with the result that after 100 years from its enactment, the global warming elements in the atmosphere in 2105 would be some 5% below where they would otherwise have been. Boy, that's progress!

On Iraq, the world was well aware of the constant 12-year game of cat and mouse Saddam played with the UN inspectors.  Even British scientist David Kelly, wrongfully identified as the source of the BBC's assertion that the Iraqi threat was "sexed up," wrote before his death that the only way to end Iraq's programs of weapons of mass destruction was through regime change.

On North Korea, despite a nearly decades-long "carrots and carrots" diplomacy, we are still facing a rogue nation with nuclear weapons and a companion missile program, despite the Clinton administration's State Department down-grading the country to a "nation of concern" (no axis of evil there!), and providing tons of fuel oil and food, and beginning the process of building two new nuclear reactors.


But each time the North Korean government refuses to engage seriously about its commitment to a nuclear free Korean peninsula, spokesmen for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace or the Arms Control Association are beating up our President for not being forthcoming enough or sufficiently attune to the dynamics of getting along in the international sandbox on the geostrategic playground.  And so it goes.

While our former UN Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick described this intellectual phenomenon as "blaming America first," I think it needs amending to "Blame only America!" It may not be well understood, but the sophisticates within our government and universities are wedded to what I call the Rodney King school of diplomacy-"Why can't we all get along."


Any conflict, argument or disagreement is immediately the responsibility of the United States to resolve, but we have to do it on everybody else's terms! I watched this at the United Nations myself where I worked for three years. It was the time of the October 6th war launched on Israel, the 1973-4 oil embargo, the subsequent escalation in oil prices and the founding of the United Nations Environment Program.

We were tasked with identifying how developing countries could produce energy in an environmentally sound way while still being independent of the petroleum imports causing such havoc with their national economies. The head of the UNEP energy office, Dr. Ishrat Ushmani, formerly head of the Iranian nuclear energy program, directed the study. We recommended a mix of nuclear, renewable and coal production, including higher efficiencies.


When the report was submitted for approval within the ECOSOC, the reaction was predictable---all nations with the exception of Australia, the United States and Canada opposed the report's conclusions. This was my first professional face-to-face confrontation with "political correctness." The end result was that the governing council for UNEP stamped "draft" on the report and its conclusions were lost in some discarded file cabinet.


The European nations were particularly negative, arguing about the evils of nuclear power and the bullying attitude of the United States. For me, a graduate student at Columbia in both international affairs and law, it was a rude awakening to the globaloney set at the UN, where pretend speeches were made on pretend policies from pretend countries-all pretending to take and do serious things.

Arms control suffers from this same problem. In order to get agreement from a sufficient number of UN members to secure a Security Council recommendation, or to get even a bilateral agreement with North Korea or Iran on their nuclear programs, America has to compromise its basic security needs as to make such agreements worthless.


A good example is the just completed UN Conference on Disarmament. One news story from the National Journal explained the failure of the UN bureaucracy in this way:


"The U.N. Conference on Disarmament yesterday ended its 2003 session without reaching consensus on a program of work, according to a U.N. press release. This is the fifth straight year that the conference has been unable to reach agreement on what to discuss, according to the U.N. release.  Because the conference operates by consensus, a single member can prevent the entire
body from formally discussing an issue."


The media tends, however, to shy away from such criticism of the UN and usually praises worthless diplomatic efforts that have no way of succeeding. The Washington Post was ecstatic about the 1995 agreement with North Korea, praising its historic significance and patiently explaining to us hard liners why the problems of Pyongyang's "loose nukes" were no more. The hardliners in Congress, critical of the Clinton administration's supposed "diplomatic triumph," were described by Walter Pincus as having been effectively chastened, hopefully never to emerge from their caves again.

And so it was with respect to Iran, Iraq, and terrorists elsewhere. As vividly explained by Richard Minister's "Losing Bin Laden", and Dick Morris's "Off With Their Heads", the sought for international consensus never emerged to deal with any of these rogue states nor international terrorism. The UN, in fact, cannot even agree on a definition of what constitutes terrorism, and thus furnishes aid, comfort and recognition to one of the longest running terrorist organizations going-the PLO.

In order to hold on to the fiction that some kind of universal agreement could be reached on proliferation and terror, liberal enthusiasts of this new world order must also rely on a false foundation that blames the US for the problems in the first place.


When asked why it was that Al Qaeda attacked the United States two years ago on September 11th, former intelligence officer Ray McGovern states flatly that it is because of our treatment of the Palestinian people and support for "repressive governments" in the Middle East. To the “nuanced” and “intellectual” McGovern, the Islamic terrorists hate us because of our support for Israel, while Osama Bin Laden's embrace of Saddam, the Mullahs of Iran and the Taliban is somehow associated with a "concern" about repression!!


In short, McGovern urges fellow intelligence officials to resign in protest over the fraud perpetuated by the Bush administration in seeking regime change in Iraq. America had in coming on September 11th, he says, thereby excusing the murderous acts of our enemies by asserting, "we made them do it".

After all, to believe anything else is simply inconsistent with this idea that "we can all get along." The fervent hatred of US military power drives this dogma, because the use of Army, Navy or Air Force firepower absolutely implies the complete lack of agreement between the US and its adversaries. Drawing a line in the sand doesn't help much with those who insist we keep retreating backward.

To believe in the necessity, however unfortunate, of using US and allied military power requires a belief in the presence of evil in the modern world, an evil that cannot be negotiated or compromised with. Nuance doesn't help here, folks. And so when President Bush cited Iran, Iraq and North Korea as parts of an "axis of evil," it became apparent that "splitting the difference" with our enemies wasn't really in the cards.


And so with Reagan who inherited a crumbling credibility in America's fortitude and forthrightly put forward a plan to rebuild our armed forces, in particular our strategic nuclear Triad. What did the apologists for our adversaries propose? The nuclear freeze, the very same proposal put forward by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, a freeze, which would have rendered obsolete our strategic deterrent long before the more modern and updated Soviet nuclear arsenal.


At the time, all “right thinking” people argued a freeze should be supported. Sprouting from the feeble minds of bubble-headed Vermonters (where I spent most of my child-hood), the freeze supporters equated the US nuclear umbrella protecting Taiwan, the Republic of Korea, Japan and all of western Europe, with a Soviet deployment of missiles aimed at coercing NATO and culling more and more nations into the Soviet orbit. In the 1970's alone, some dozen-plus nations involuntarily joined the Soviet gulag, just as President Carter warned us to "get over our inordinate fear of communism."

But as we look back at the past one hundred years and the evil during which the hideous tyrants of our time-Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, Hitler, Saddam, and the Iranian Mullahs---destroyed much of mankind, we recognize that we cannot make a “deal” with such evil. There is no possibility that "we can all get along." We did not "make them do it." This our courageous President understands. Thank God.

Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis, a Maryland defense consulting firm. He is Senior Defense Associate at NDUF. He specializes in nuclear weapons, missile defense, terrorism and rogue states.

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