Thursday, February 26, 2004

Darkworld 2

Reader DL (the Belmont Club has many readers with these initials) wrote, in response to Darkworld that:

As much as I am for audacious, optimistic world-shaking in the name of preserving liberal democracy in the face of fascism, I wonder about the capacity of our system to maintain enough steady current to keep it alive. That's me being in my own Darkworld.

Richard Perle and David Frum have also recognized the almost unnatural demands that a successful campaign against terrorism will require. Faced with the difficulty of overturning the familiar, Perle and Frum are striving to raise public consciousness -- always a daunting and usually doomed task -- to prove the absolute necessity of the revolutionary. In an interview with Front Page Magazine (hat tip FG) they said:

First, we have to make the American homeland more secure by making it more difficult for terrorists to enter the country; and by cutting them off from money and support if they do enter. Second, we have to wage war against terrorist organizations abroad and the states that support them. Third, we have to challenge the terrorists' ideas - because make no mistake, the terrorists have ideas. Finally, we need to modernize our institutions so that we can fight this new war - including threatening to leave the UN unless it amends its charter to recognize the sponsoring of terror as a form of aggression.

The cynic might ask: what could be simpler than perfecting homeland defense, waging war against rogue states and transnational organizations, engaging in ideological conflict with a World Religion and overturning the current multilateral framework? Yet the truly astounding thing is not that this program has been put forward but that it has been conceived so late. It is the belated recognition of the need to deal with the externality that Europe, in the process of decolonization, has dumped upon the rest of the world. The former colonies or protectorates have become vast factories of human misery, desperation and fanaticism which someone now has to clean up. The proposals of Perle and Frum, so implausible on their face, are really more believable than the idea, gospel for nearly half a century, that a vast wave of misery could be unleashed indefinitely without affecting the rest of the world.

What made that illusion plausible was the United Nations. With colorful flags and carefully scripted pageantry  it projected the lie of happy, dark peoples quietly advancing their national destinies when in reality they were oppressed by dictators and tormented by famine, unending war and pandemic disease. When Frederic Forsyth wrote the Biafra Story in 1969 he was describing not a momentary check in the march to progress but the first arrivals at the end-point of the postcolonial process. It was where the happy smiling faces finished up; where the West Africa has already gone, where East Africa is hastening, where Saharan Africa is bound for and where even Southern Africa is belatedly going. The United Nations made it possible for the most noxious dictatorships of the Middle East to represent themselves as equals to liberal democracies; possible for nuclear proliferators like Iran to sit on the board of the IAEA; possible for the worst human rights violators to stand in judgement of the United States; possible for the whole thing to putrefy under spotless bandages until the pustulence burst. The facade held until it was smashed by two wide-bodied jets crashing into Manhattan piloted by men from places that were not supposed to exist.

What George Tenet asserted in his testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is that extremist groups like Al Qaeda are about to turn the toxic products of postwar decolonization into a battering ram against the West.

But as we continue the battle against al-QA`ida, we must overcome a movement—a global movement infected by al-QA`ida's radical agenda. ... And what we've learned continues to validate my deepest concern: that this enemy remains intent on obtaining, and using, catastrophic weapons.

In the long history of confrontation between civilization and barbarism, civilization has rarely proved the stronger. The Goths, Huns and Hordes of Central Asia swept all before them. Not the stones of Caesar's Rome nor the cities of the last Caliphs nor even the Forbidden Cities of the Chinese emperors, but the ashes of barbarism's fire are the foundations from which we are sprung. If we are to avoid this fate we must not await the inevitable onslaught or believe it can be resolved through "law enforcement". All that Perle and Frum ask is that we snatch away our blindfolds, cast away our illusions and strive against those sworn destroy us. It is what men have always done, what the last generation taught itself to forget, and what this generation was born to remember.