Dueling Twins

Ostrich

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The 'Dueling Twins'

Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination.

Christian Nevell Bovee

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OSTRICHS: has evolved with a pair of powerful legs capable of propelling it away from danger

Point:

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Avoiding an Ostrich Foreign Policy

James Hall - From the Left

Most are familiar with story of the ostrich, who when faced with a predator, puts its head in the sand. They may be less familiar with the ostrich's American cousin--the isolationist--who believes that we can turn the clock back and live our lives within our shore, oblivious to what goes on in the rest of the world and safe in the belief that if we do nothing abroad, nothing evil will reach us here. September 11 dealt isolationists a stunning blow by making it plain that terrorists can easily cross the ocean and attack, using only the materials they were able to find here and the will to die for their beliefs.

But American isolationists are quickly adapting and have a new answer--if we leave the terrorists alone and give them what they want--pull back American troops from Arabian soil, abandon Israel to her fate, leave Islamic nations to fight bin Laden's fundamentalism on their own--then hopefully--hopefully--the terrorists will leave us alone. Bin Laden's ultimate goal of a vast new Islamic world power, a billion people strong, with nuclear weapons and a savage contempt for Western values is no threat to an isolated US, is it?

Isolationist hope--hope--that bin Laden's rapidly growing fundamentalist movement will fall apart without a US target overseas. But what is the likelihood that Arab states, without US leadership or support, will be able to fend off the popular Islamic fundamentalism now sweeping the Islamic world? Especially a movement fresh with a victory over the US--an act of terrorism followed by a US withdrawal abroad?

Will an emerging Islamic power, flush from a victory in driving out Americans from Arabia and the Middle East be content to let its enemy withdraw to North America? Even if the American psyche could stand the thought of this retreat (for couched in whatever ideological spin-language you wish--"return to traditional American values, etc."--it would still be perceived as a retreat), history shows that every attempt to forestall war and violence by withdrawing or appeasing one's declared enemy only delays the inevitable conflict. Leaving Gaul and Britain and Illyria to the barbarians didn't keep the barbarians from sacking Rome herself, and Neville Chamberlain's willingness to leave Adolph Hitler alone didn't stop Hitler from going after France and Britain.

Those who have spoken with Osama bin Laden have come away with a similar feeling that the man and his organization won't stop if America withdraws. Bin Laden blames the US for too much--not only for occupying Arabia and supporting Israel, but for Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya--virtually every occasion where Muslim peoples have been harmed by others. He blames the US for the Islamic world's poverty; he blames the values that the US promotes for weakening the faith in Muslims living in its influence. In essence, he believes that there is no room for Islam and America to coexist.

In that he is wrong, of course--America is about choice and religious freedom, and the right of individuals to pursue their own happiness however they define it. But if bin Laden's view of radical Islam is allowed to prevail overseas, America then becomes the enemy no matter how self-effacing we become on the world stage.

Sorry, ostriches, but some conflicts have to be engaged. Do we leave Europe and the rest of the world to fight these terrorists on their own, and face a potential terrorist empire, or do we close in combat with a group that has declared us their enemy, and shown itself to be so, so very concretely?

Instead of engaging the enemy where he lives, isolationists would have us keep our army, navy and air force here in North America guarding our own shores. Tactically, of course, this lets the enemy bring his fight to us at a time and place of his own choosing, instead of us bringing the battle to him. America has tried isolationism before, and in the last century that movement ended up with Americans dying anyway, in the sinking of the Lusitania and other vessels and on the unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor, respectively.

Since then, we've learned. We didn't wait for communism to come to us, but encircled it quickly with a network of allied nations--NATO, SEATO, CTO, etc., and embargoed it, fought it actively in Korea and Vietnam, opposed it in the Middle East and Africa, and eventually prevailed. We didn't stick our heads in the sand, then, nor should we now.

It's true that we all want what the isolationist wants, a return to a simpler time where each American could pursue his or her self-interest in peace, without having to be mindful of what goes on in Afghanistan, Israel, India, China, etc., etc. But we live in a changed world, a smaller world, a world admiring of our values and embracing of our notion of free trade. That will quickly change if we withdraw from the stage.

Even if we should successfully withdraw from world affairs, letting other nations go their own way, that won't keep us from harm. A large-scale nuclear war in the Middle East or South Asia would throw enough radioactive dust into the air to harm thousands of Americans and destroy food animals and crops. A large scale biological war could lead to plagues sweeping across the Earth in the much the same way as the 1918 influenza epidemic did, killing millions abroad and a half a million Americans--more American dead than all the wars of the 20th Century combined.

Like it or not, the US is part of the world and must be engaged in the world. We must deal with our enemies abroad and work with the rest of the world to keep it at peace when we can. To adopt an ostrich foreign policy means we become domesticated like the ostrich, easily rounded up, tamed, and fed upon. That's not a fate Americans should ever embrace.

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Rebuttal:

Brother Sartre declines the ostrich metaphor, yet his views would indicate that he's looking at sand, not the realities of what's happening in the world. Osama bin Laden, an isolated criminal? Does Sartre know that "Osama" is the preferred birth name for infants in the nation of Pakistan these days, beating out "Mohammed?" Has Sartre seen the parades of Palestinians carrying Osama's picture? Is Sartre aware of the thousands of madrasas--religious schools--across the Middle and Far East teaching bin Laden's poisonous philosophy to the poor and destitute?

Perhaps Sartre forgets that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were once regarded as "criminals" by the British Crown. Unfortunately for Sartre, today's criminal often becomes tomorrow's revolutionary leader. The radical Arab world is seeking a champion and Osama bin Laden fits their bill. Bin Laden's organization al-Qaeda funds Taliban-like guerilla movements in the Philippines, Indonesia, Tajikstan, Chechnya, Egypt, and Algeria. His goal is not criminal but revolutionary--to unite one billion Muslims in a Taliban-style, authoritarian government, a superstate with nuclear power.

Most moderate Muslims would abhor this goal, and I agree with those who brand bin Laden and al-Qaeda terrorists, without adding the word "Islamic" as though to implicate a whole people. Still, only an ostrich would fail to see the substantial support and sympathy that bin Laden and al-Qaeda have within the Islamic world, and the danger they constitute if the US decides to withdraw from this conflict and go its own way.

With the US leading a coalition against al-Qaeda and its bloody interpretation of Islam, there is an excellent chance that we'll eliminate this particularly nasty version of terrorism where it grows. We can then assist moderate and friendly Muslims to rebuild the Middle East into an economically viable region. We've already done as much in Jordan, which recently signed the first free trade agreement with the US in the Middle East. If, however, we turn our backs on the region--or put our heads in the sand--we could wake up one morning facing an angry hornet's nest of nuclear-armed radicals--most of them named "Osama."

James Hall, From the Left

Counterpoint:

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All the World is a Stage

It seems that a certain Liberal had a relapse and has reverted to his Randian roots. What will be next, accepting Leonard Peikoff's sage advise to use tactical nukes to bring submission to the region? What an interesting mix of 'Altruism' and 'Duress', sprinkled with a pinch of radioactive dissemination!

So glad that James is so concerned that American soil might experience the efforts of fallout. Well the best way to test that theory is to incite the regional conflict with 'overwhelming power'. Yes, those recessed macho genes are starting to come out. Coming from a bleeding heart, morphosis; into a confirmed 'Statist' is quite a transformation to witness!

Ronald Reagan frequently said: "Here we go again". The latest bogy man, bin Laden is a criminal, but is he or does he represent the threat to Western Civilization that the chorus of war enthusiasts are claiming? "Kill them All", "It's them or US" is the polemic call that is spreading across the spectrum of political friends and foes alike. Surely, they all must be right?

Continued efforts to smear sane policy with the cat calls of 'isolationism', shows the closed minded nature of the purveyors in communal hysteria. Just who is the ostrich? An advocacy for a Foreign Policy that is designed to ensure the interests of America, is not lacking in bold action. It is proactive, and directed to correct the source problems of the latest crisis. But that is exactly what you 'Internationalist' fear most! Continued managed chaos is your dream. Constant intervention is your method. And total compliance is your ultimate goal . . . The 'New World Order' is your offspring, ruled by YOUR community of nations.

If a band of crazed discontents, perverts of Islam, and pathological kooks, can be hyped as the incarnation of Satan himself; where has rationality gone, on holiday? HELLO . . . Naming these criminals as 'Islamic fundamentalists' is the same as calling American First 'Isolationists'. All it does is confuse the weak minded. Islam is not in a war to the death with the West, as you warmongers want us to believe. But if you implement your own 'benevolent jihad purge' that seems to arouse so many of you, you will certainly test that theory too. If your desire is to unite disorganized tribes, conflicting interests, competing dominations and varied ideological factions; wage your war of conquest.

Home Front Defense is a recognition that security begins at home. Open borders, liberal immigration policy and failed bureaucratic management, has allows the enemy to reside as your neighbor. If you want a solution, deport the pollution! If you seek security, restrict the visas, curtail entry of non citizens to our universities and reform the INS. When bin Laden sails his fleet west, you can declare war and sink his carriers then. Your notion of security is based on more sand than exists in the middle east.

Ideology of the West won the cold war. The implosion of the Soviet Empire was internal, based upon a failed philosophy. The MAD deterrent policy of that era provided less security, proportionate to its megaton delivery capacity. Fate allowed rational restraint to prevail. Now you seek to achieve the objectives that these Terrorists failed to accomplish with their horror. You support the unleashing of the 'pit bull', to rid the world of your infidels. Ignore that they are small in numbers now, you want to swell their ranks to make it a battle worth fighting!

Engagement to you is copulating the U.S. 'pit bull' with the British 'bull dog'. Why not, they are cousins? Is every enemy of Tony Blair and Churchill, the foe of America? Their history in the middle east is inescapable, and the consequences of America's willingness to police the planet is coming home in a dreadful way. Trade and commerce builds bridges of mutual trust and realistic security. The criminals can be brought to justice, American style, without igniting a global conflict. Imposition of retribution by NATO indiscriminately, will congeal an entire region into adopting radical martyrdom as their new faith. Is this the kind of security you wish to bestow on our prodigy?

Islam is not the enemy, bin Laden is the criminal. Are you unable be draw the distinction? Muslim countries must be 'engaged' (not your version), register their consent and implement their involvement to expunged their own lunacy. Your eagerness to re-up a resuscitated Curtis LeMay, will not sell your version of "a world admiring of our values and embracing of our notion of free trade".

Ostrich, not I . . . The 'pit bull' deserves that label. A healthy engagement requires earning mutual respect. Justice and accountability demands proportion, not the kind offered by the 'bull dog', but that of a unified Islamic World that is ardent in joining with America in the enforcement of criminal penalties against Terrorists. Police our own house, and avoid elevating the symbol of bin Laden to martyr status. World Affairs deserve rational proactive intercourse, not an approach of escalated genocide as a retort for rape. Stick you own head in the sand, it needs to be cooled off . . .

James Hall aka SARTRE

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Final Word:

So there are bad customers in this world. Tell me something new! There always has been and always will be evil criminals. The proper question is what is the prudent method to control, minimize and manage the risk? Your love for eradication is impractical. You refuse to consider the moral constraints of excessive force, so latch onto the pragmatic limitations of removal of all those who hate you. No one is denying the need to solve an impending problem. Regretfully, it seems that you conclude with pundit John Gibson of Fox News; consider the use of tactical nukes . . . Eliminate the problem, stay in control of the region, whatever it takes!

After you ingest your medication, you see the merit in developing coherent consensus within the region. So why do you consistently accuse your enlightened brother, that he is in favor of turning his back to the rest of the world? The argument should be clear for even a cogenitally challenged and genetically damaged sibling, to understand. Trade and conduct commerce with the entire world, but don't try to own, run or control it. Do you get it now, or should we send you a phonics program?

An authentic Conservative does NOT want to maintain this status quo. Becoming a radical revolutionary is a virtue, if the means are moral and the goal is just. The evil that you fear abroad, is less dangerous than that which will follow when you willingly relinquish your rights and their few remaining protections. When all the dust settles, the only victor will be the tyrant. That superstate which uses that nuclear option, might just be your own. The madness in this row is on the verge of becoming uncontrollable.

Place your rancor in check towards the phantom conflict you wish to make real. Spend your energy on building the political will to end Terrorism as an accepted method of political power. In order to accomplish this worthy goal, forge positive action among the Muslim World. For if you don't, the cycle will just continue. Since he cannot fly and cannot fight to defend himself, that ostrich is wise enough to run from danger when he can. Defending yourself is valid, but obliterating your enemy earns a Pyrrhic victory. The way that justice is sought, directly yields the equity that can be achieved. That is what this discussion is all about.

James Hall - 'The Right'


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When one has the feeling of dislike for evil, when one feels tranquil, one finds pleasure in listening to good teachings; when one has these feelings and appreciates them, one is free of fear.
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