Inevitability and Pax Americana
I guess my major problem with all the hand wringing, saber rattling, peace-pleading name-calling and political posturing over Iraq is that it is all, at its base, totally meaningless. It is inconceivable given the events of the past year that the US and the West will suddenly decide to simply turn away from the festering boil of Iraq/Saudi Arabia/Iran and return to status quo ante.
Something is going to happen, this is agreed by just about everyone. Given that, what is there at this stage other than an invasion and forcible regime change in Iraq? The world watched Iraq lead weapons inspectors around by the nose in the early 90’s and anyone who thinks a promise to allow more inspections will forestall action is simply deluding themselves. If one does believe this I suggest they go take another look at VP Cheney’s recent speech outlining the case for war.
What is missing from most of the analysis seems to be a recognition that dealing with Iraq is not an end in and of itself, but just one more step in a process of rendering fundamentalist Islamic fanatics powerless. Not the last step, just one more step. Iraq is not a classic Islamic fundamentalist state (such as Iran); however, Saddam is the kind of leader who would be willing to use the Islamic fanatics as proxies for threatening the rest of the world. Couple that with the chemical and biological weapons we are certain he already possesses and the immanent reality of a nuclear-armed Iraq and removing Saddam becomes a no-brainer. When people raise the issue of destabilizing the Middle East, my only thought is “Baby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
Resistance to action against Iraq is almost universally political in nature. In the US President Bush is facing an ever-feistier Democratic Party eager to reassert power in the House and Senate. An invasion of Iraq would be terribly inconvenient for them; however, it is clear to me that when the chips are down the Democrats in Congress are going to vote to invade. They’ll make lots of speeches, they’ll voice lots of concern, but in the end they’ll hand the President a rope and hope he hangs himself without killing too many American soldiers. Invasion fails- they blame Bush. Invasion is wildly successful- hey; we were behind it all the way. If this sounds eerily familiar, just go review the build-up and aftermath of Gulf War ‘91.
In a similar vein, the EU’s opposition to action is purely political in nature, and we have it on fairly good authority that at this time the President “doesn’t give a shit what the Europeans think.” Scandalous to the One World crowd, but a simple recognition of reality to anyone who has been paying attention to political evolution post-9/11. Like it or not the United States is the preeminent power in the world today and if the rest of Western Civilization insists on tolerating the intolerable, a unilateral Pax Americana becomes the only viable choice. As a nation we face no real downside to this decision- it is not as if the EU will react by declaring itself an Islamic Republic, and the likelihood of Saddam prevailing in this fight is vanishingly small.