The Nature of the U.N.

The Nature of the U.N.

The Nature of the U.N.

Next week the United States and Great Britain will go back to the United Nations Security Council once again and try to persuade the other member nations to enforce resolution 1441, which the Council has not only passed, but passed unanimously. Some may find the whole situation rather curious, because the U.S. and G.B. seem to be attempting to convince other Security Council members of the patently obvious — that Iraq is not fully complying with Security Council Resolution No. 1441. This resolution states:
The government of Iraq shall provide to Unmovic [the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission], the IAEA, and the Council, not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons

Resolution 1441 finishes by saying that “the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations.” Even the inspectors, which have clearly disagreed with the U.S. and U.K. on many substantitive issues, and therefore can hardly be called a pawn to our interests, have stated that Iraq has yet to fully comply. The Iraqi regime has also violated other specific provisions of 1441. For instance, Iraq was to provide all scientists and others involved with WMD programs for private interviews at the request of the inspectors. Stories like this one, Iraq defies weapons inspectors, from London’s Daily Telegraph have been numerous. Iraq has failed to comply fully, completely, and immediately as clearly stated in 1441.

So why is there a discussion? The facts are quite clear. Iraq is not complying with either the spirit or the letter of 1441. The resolution was passed unanimously. Why are the members of the Council unwilling to state the obvious and then call for enforcement?

Frustrations like these betray a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the U.N., and of the Security Council in particular. If one starts with the assumption that the Council is made up in a way similar to the U.S. Supreme Court — wise men chosen through a democratic process who are then free to make their best judgment on what lies before them — then the actions of the Council are nearly incomprehensible. This is how many of the people who are wrongly stating that all war without U.N. approval is immoral or illegal see the Council. They see the Security Council as a body of men who are chosen by the world to represent the world’s interests. This is not the case.

The men on the Security Council are not appointed to a position like the Justices in the American Supreme Court. They are mere mouthpieces for the governments they represent. They are not free to see evidence before them and then make informed judgements. Witness the reactions to Colin Powell’s recent evidentiary statement before the U.N. — the responses to his statements by many nations were written out beforehand. Therefore, it was quite clear that it didn’t matter what Mr. Powell had to say. The positions of the various members of the Council were already decided ahead of time, and they were dictated to them by their home governments.

Those who believe in the concept of the U.N. Security Council as the ultimate arbiter on when force ought to be used and when it should not might still say “Well, Okay, so the individuals on the Council may not be free to vote their conscience, but what’s really important is the fact that they still voice the will of the international community by speaking for the individual nations.” This brings me to my second point, and, I think, the heart of the matter. One cannot represent an individual nation and the international community. France serves as an excellent example of why this is so.

Is the will of France the same as all of Europe? Is the will of France that of India? Nations like France have a lot to gain from continuation of the current Iraqi regime. Despite the murderous nature of the regime, France has made multi-billion dollar oil contracts — contracts which could very well be null and void with the fall of the regime. There is a great deal of suspicion that France has sold prohibited dual-use building blocks for banned weapons. This would all come out if the regime were overthrown, and something which would destroy French credibility on these matters. After all, it would be shown that they were breaking Council resolutions which they themselves voted for. Many might begin to ask whether India, the world’s largest democracy, would be more appropriate as the fifth permanent member of the Security Council. France has a lot at stake. France will vote its own interest, notwithstanding the flowery speech of Mr. Villepin to the contrary.

The U.N. has become nothing more than the thinly-veiled pursuit of narrow national interests in the guise of a democratic world body. The moral authority of the U.N. is an illusion. The members of the Security Council do not represent the world. In many cases (such as China) they cannot even be said to represent their own countries, because their governments, in turn, are not legitimately representative of their own people. The will of the U.N. is flouted by countries when it is convenient to their interests. To use France again as an example, this would include selling materials to Iraq which were proscribed by U.N. resolution. It would also include bombing Serbia and taking military action in the Ivory Coast without U.N. authorization. However, when it suits its national interest, France will cry out that all U.S. action is immoral if not done through the U.N. — where, conveniently, France holds a veto.

There was hope when the U.N. was founded (by the United States) that it would become a body truly representative of the world and gain the authority to prevent war by confronting would-be tyrants and conquerors with the united will of the international community. Sadly, human nature, and thus the nature of nations made up of men, does not change. What we have seen lately at the U.N. is nothing more than age old power politics between nations, but in the venue of the U.N. Let us all remember to see the world the way that it is, not the way we wish it to be.

What would Iraqis say, if they could?

What would Iraqis say, if they could?

What would Iraqis say, if they could?

Posted by jmvaughn – Topic War with Iraq
Another ill-considered argument I have heard from those protesting the war is that the war will lead to civilian deaths, and therefore must be opposed. This is overly simplistic. First, all wars will always result in some innocents killed, but sometimes war is the lesser of two videos porno evils (see GPTV article War is not Always a Bad Thing, and NRO article Asymmetrical Warfare & Just War ). Second, in this particular case, the risks to Iraqis of Saddam Hussein’s continued rule are even worse than the upcoming war with the United States.

What would a rational, informed, Iraqi say about this upcoming war? I posed this question in an earlier article, and thought I might expand on the idea a little further.

One of the more interesting points that immediately comes to mind is that we can’t easily ascertain exactly what Iraqi opinion on this really is. Elections in Iraq are a farce (unless you believe Saddam Hussein really did get 100% approval in the last election). Someone who might wish to speak out would likely be somewhat intimidated by the prospect of being tortured or killed, or watching the same sort of thing done to a family member, to actually speak their mind. So, we are left with mere conjecture. Luckily, that’s what we do best here at GPTV — talk at great length!

After invading Kuwait, Iraq was forced by the United Nations Security Council to disarm itself of weapons of mass destruction, among other things. The failure to do this has lead to lots of noise on the Security Council, but a lack of the will necessary to authorize force to make Hussein to comply. So they turned instead to something completely ineffective, that would in fact lead to impoverishment of the Iraqi people, but would have the laudable effect of being seen to do something. They invoked sanctions. Of course, those countries most likely now to cry out for the sacrosanct nature of U.N. authority (any readers out there from France and Germany?), quickly broke these sanctions and made lucrative deals with Iraqi companies. How handy that they no longer had to compete with American firms (who kept to the sanctions rules)! The effect of these sanctions has been to starve the Iraqi people, while Saddam Hussein and his band of merry rapists (did you know there is an official position in the Iraqi government of rapist, the duty of such individuals being to persuade those not entirely in agreement with the Iraqi regime that they should reconsider their, ehem, position?) were allowed to carry on running Iraq.

Iraq has tons of oil, and an educated population, certainly two great big steps up on the usual ladder of success for nations. Yet, Iraq is poor today. Hussein and his defiance of the U.N. sanctions have left Iraq destitute. The people of Iraq are starving because the reduced amount of money available under the U.N. “oil-for-food” program has been diverted to build Hussein palaces and keep up one of the world’s larger standing armies. The effect of this, according to one estimate from UNICEF, has been the death of over 500,000 Iraqi children because of malnutrition or lack of medication. Many in the Arab world say it’s the fault of the United States, but that’s just not true. Saddam agreed to disarm, and hasn’t, and it’s the United Nations that voted for those sanctions, not just the United States.

Iraqi Kurdish civilians gassed by Saddam. Photo: The EconomistIn addition to the 500,000 children who died because Saddam has violated U.N. sanctions, he has also murdered countless numbers of his own people. He’s used chemical weapons against his own civilians (see photo at right). And millions died in a war with Iran, which he started.

The population of Iraq is estimated at 24 million. By my calculations, if you are an Iraqi who has grown up in the last ten years, you’ve had about a 2.08% chance of dying just from the effects of sanctions Iraq lives under due to Hussein’s intransigence (based on that 500,000 dead figure from UNICEF). The estimates for the number of dead in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war run as high as 1.5 million. Assuming roughly half this number was Iraqi (sorry, too tired to go look the exact figure up), this would yield a roughly 3.125% chance of having been killed in that war (if you’re a man between 15-40, the figure would be much higher).

Now that we have some perspective of what the Iraqi people have been through the last few years, what level of risk would be acceptable to you, if you were an Iraqi citizen, to see him replaced by an internationally monitored, representative government? You have run high risks of being killed from his military adventures and brinkmanship with the rest of the world. Your country is impoverished. Your children are dying. You have no say in your government. If you tried to protest, you’d likely be tortured or have one of your children tortured in front of you by Saddam’s goons in order to persuade you to stop doing so.

When the United States decided to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, we targeted those two groups to the greatest extent possible. This was surely the most bloodless, and quickest, war to change a regime that has ever been waged. I have read estimates that put the number of innocents killed as high as 2500. The population of Afghanistan, estimated to be about 27 million, is similar to Iraq’s. 2500 out of 27 million yields a 0.009% chance of being killed in the crossfire between American and hostile forces. Certainly, no such risk is better than any such risk. But for Iraqis the risk is already there in different forms, and with much less favorable odds, isn’t it? And living or dying is not really the only thing. Most of us in the West want to live a free and prosperous life, not one of poverty, constant fear, and intimidation. Are Iraqis so different from us that you think they would not want the same? Sadly, they cannot speak for themselves.

Has NATO a future?

Has NATO a future?

Has NATO a future?

Posted by jmvaughn – Topic War with Iraq
Much has been made of the fact that this crisis with Iraq is a test of the will, the credibility, and the very purpose of the United Nations. If the U.N. does not move to enforce its own resolutions and stand up to a brutal dictator bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, then people are right to raise the question of why we in the United States should continue to fund what has become little more than a very expensive anti-American, and anti-Semitic, talking shop. Because of the outright opposition of NATO’s two largest European members, France and Germany, to U.S. policy on something of supreme importance to our national security, I believe we should also begin to consider whether or not NATO has also outlived its usefulness.

At the end of the Cold War, there was much talk about the future role of NATO. Should it be limited to defense of Europe, or should the infrastructure and resources of NATO be used to handle other international crises outside of its historic sphere of influence? There was much hope NATO might become a framework for a like-minded group of Western democracies to maintain peace and stability in the world.

The action against Yugoslavia in support of the minority Muslim population of Kosovo within the Yugoslav federation was hailed as a model for the future of NATO. We were able to get support for this action because the nations of Europe saw this as a danger to their own security. They feared a guerrilla war in Kosovo could turn into a civil war in Yugoslavia. The very possibility of a war in their “backyard,” and in the area where World War I started, was enough to scare France and Germany into acting — notably, without United Nations authorization.

Shortly after September 11th NATO voted unanimously to invoke Article V of the NATO charter, which declared that an attack against one was an attack against all. Why a vote was necessary, I really don’t understand. This is the entire raison d’etre of NATO. It was a nice gesture. But it has turned out to have little meaning. We got European support for action in Afghanistan, to be sure. But the threat of terrorism is one that spans the globe, and was certainly not limited to Afghanistan. When oceans of Soviet tanks, missles, and men were massed in East Germany ready to roll through the Fulda Gap into West Germany at a moment’s notice, we stood by Germany. When the threat of war breaking out in the Balkans threatened European security, we heeded their call for assistance — even though Russian and Chinese veto power on the Security Council denied us U.N. approval (have I mentioned that before?). Now, when we need the support of our supposed allies, Germany and France, on something difficult and risky, we not only fail to receive their support but seem to have gained, instead, their active resistance.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder led his re-election campaign last year with America-bashing. One of his cabinet members compared U.S. President Bush to Hitler. Schroeder actually stated that even if the United States went to the Security Council, and got a unanimous resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq (which, by the way, we have done), that Germany still would not participate. Schroeder’s government is in trouble, and may be using this issue to distract the electorate from the absolutely horrible state of the German economy (e.g., unemployment has just reached 11%). But opinion polls have shown that his anti-American view is widespread and representative of his nation.

The same is true in France. One of the best-selling novels of last year in France was “911: The Big Lie,” which posited the argument that the events of September 11th were the product of a nefarious plot of the evil American “military-industrial complex” which was just itching to invade Afghanistan and then seize the oil of the Middle East.

When Donald Rumsfeld was asked recently, before Congress and under oath, questions pertaining to our allies in a possible war with Iraq, he answered truthfully that we had received outright denials of assistance from only a few countries, including Cuba, Libya and Germany. Rumsfeld was assaulted in the German press for mentioning Germany in the same breath with these tyrannies. Only one major German paper, Die Welt, looked inward and honestly confronted the fact that it was the present German government that put itself in the company of those other nations — not Secretary Rumsfeld. Die Welt went on to warn that if Germany votes against a possible second UN resolution on Iraq, “Berlin’s plunge into the company of pariahs, thieves and the usual suspects for anti-American activities would be complete.” Unfortunately, the German government and the majority of the people of Germany have chosen to ignore this perceptive observation.

France and Germany only want an alliance with the United States when it suits their purposes (as in the Cold War and, more recently, in Kosovo). Threats principally to the United States are not their problem, and our efforts to defend ourselves are to be opposed. The interests of France and Germany no longer coincide with our own. If a military alliance is not reciprocal it is worse than useless.

Eighteen other European nations, including a majority of Western Europe and nearly all the nations of Central Europe, have stood up alongside us (see earlier article on GPTV on the letter by the first eight to do so). Clearly we have many friends in Europe, and we should foster these relationships on a bilateral basis — or perhaps under a new framework that reflects the political reality of today, rather than that of the Cold War. But NATO is dead. Our erstwhile allies in Germany and France are clearly allies no more.

Iraq and the War on Terrorism

Iraq and the War on Terrorism

Iraq and the War on Terrorism

We have reached a point in history when the margin for error we once enjoyed is gone… the cost of underestimating the threat is unthinkable.
— U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld

One of the arguments I’ve heard proffered by some Democratic members of Congress and others as an objection to the administration policy is that action against Iraq will keep us from prosecuting the War on Terrorism. Until recently, we’ve heard few forceful arguments from the U.S. administration that Iraq was part of the War on Terrorism. It was, I think, clearly implied that actions such as this would be necessary from the very beginning. But the connection with Iraq had not been stated explicitly for some time. The President remedied this in his 2003 State of the Union:
Today, the gravest danger in the war on terror, the gravest danger facing America and the world, is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror, and mass murder. They could also give or sell those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation. […]

America is making a broad and determined effort to confront these dangers. We have called on the United Nations to fulfill its charter and stand by its demand that Iraq disarm.
It is now clear that the Bush administration views Iraq as part of the War on Terrorism, and so the argument that dealing with Iraq will detract from it has lost one of its key supporting points. If you still are in doubt, the way to ask this question would be more accurately phrased as follows: “Is this the best way to fight the War on Terrorism?” This has the benefit of acknowledging the administration’s actual position, and therefore being intellectually honest.

How exactly should the administration deal with the threat of terrorists obtaining weapons of mass destruction? Should we ignore it? Should we give in to whatever their demands are, and therefore encourage anyone who would like us to change our behavior to nuke an American city to get their way? I don’t think these are serious options. How about beefing up homeland security some more? This is something we’ve also heard from many Democrats as an option. Keep in mind that a small nuclear device could be carried in a large trunk, or put into the bottom of a standard shipping container, encased in lead, and buried under a mound of pistachio nuts and then loaded onto a ship with thousands of such containers and headed to New York from the Middle East. If I recall correctly, we currently inspect about 1% of incoming containers. If we double, triple, or even increase by twenty times our spending on this effort we would still not be able to check the vast majority of such containers.

Even if we employed a veritable army (say 200,000) of customs officers to inspect every single containerized cargo ship completely, we would still be vulnerable. These people are not stupid, they would simply change the method of delivery. A determined terrorist could still buy a small sailboat and sail right into New York harbor, or buy an SUV and sneak through from Canada through the dense woods of North Dakota, or put it in a suitcase on a scheduled flight into Washington D.C. and detonate it as it flew over the capitol bulding, or . . .

How can you defend a three thousand mile border with Canada, a fifteen hundred mile border with Mexico, both of which are currently so open that people cross them illegally by the thousands every day? And we also have thousands of miles of coastline. No amount of money and manpower could guarantee that a single person could not get into the country either by plane, on foot, or on a small sailboat if they were committed enough. We could shut down international travel and trade, spend half our budget on this effort, and still provide only a marginal increase in security.

You cannot possibly prevent such an attack once a determined person already possesses such a device. You cannot win by defense alone.

Clearly, we cannot give up and simply sit and wait for tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of Americans to be killed. The only realistic option left is to lean forward, not back. Terrorists, however, are hard to find, and usually have no fixed address where we can send police by to make a few inquiries. When possible, we should hunt them down and kill them or capture them. But we will not be able to find all of them.

So if we can’t find all or even most of the terrorists, as is likely, what else can we do? Weapons of mass destruction are not easy to manufacture in a cave or a tent while on the run. They require the resources of a state to develop the more difficult kinds, and the protection and safe haven of a state to develop even the simpler ones. Terrorists may not have military and other assets that we can strike. But the states that support them do. This is why the President said immediately after Sept. 11th, “we will make no distinction between the terrorists that committed these acts and those that harbor them.”

This does not mean we must make war with the entire world. Most of the world will, in fact, rally behind us if we are willing to show resolve, and as we are proven successful. There are relatively few nations that are actively supporting terrorism in a form that threatens the United States. One at a time, we must give this small number of countries an ultimatum — they must cease and desist all such activity immediately, or else. After years of “reflexive pullback” when we were attacked in Somalia, the U.S. embassies in Africa, the USS Cole, and other instances, the enemies of the United States have learned that we do not follow through on our threats, and we are not willing to pay the price of blood for securing our safety and that of our allies. When we made such a threat to the Taliban, for instance, one could excuse them for not believing we would really invade Afghanistan, which we were told was the “graveyard of empires.” Well, we did.

We have now given the same ultimatum to Iraq. We have worked through the U.N. to the greatest degree possible, we have many allies (including 18 in Europe, at last count), but the President has been steadfast in his determination and has made this clear to Saddam Hussein and the world. After Iraq, when we turn to other outlaw regimes such as North Korea or Iran that also have ties to terrorists, and whom we believe may provide weapons of mass destruction to them, they may listen to that ultimatum when it comes to them a little more carefully. Hopefully, the restoration of our credibility on these matters can prevent some future wars. But we are going to have to earn it back first.

Should we do anything? What must we do? We must, in fact, do exactly what the President has started to do. The war on Iraq is another step in the rational prosecution of the War on Terrorism, and it should not and will not be the end.

An Open Letter to the Anti-American Youth of Europe

An Open Letter to the Anti-American Youth of Europe

An Open Letter to the Anti-American Youth of Europe

It has become quite the fashion amongst the younger generation in Europe to blame America for the ills of the world, and to oppose us on Iraq based on this premise. I must say I’m a little shocked to hear some of the anti-American drivel coming out of the many of the youth of Europe. I understand you hear little else about us in your local press, or from your university and recently-post-university friends, but I would hope you would rise above it.

We are not the enemy. We are not the cause of all the world’s problems. The poor in Ethiopia are not poor because we drive SUV’s. They are poor almost entirely to the degree they do not choose to adopt democracy, the rule of law and free markets, those things which have made Britain, Europe, and the United States, pleasant places to live meaningful lives.

The United States is in a unique place in history, a nation that no single nation can oppose militarily. And yet, we do not use this force to subjugate, but most often to liberate — to spread those ideas mentioned above that bring the hope of decent life — as we have in the past. We are so naive, in fact, that we rushed off millions of men in WWI and WWII to, we were told, uphold values of democracy and human decency. Great Britain was the epitome of these things in our eyes, and many of our naive young men thought it not only worth our blood and treasure, but an honor, to fight alongside British soldiers in pursuit of these ideals.

When Nazism was defeated in Germany, and the quasi-fascist militarism in Japan, we did not exploit those countries, plunder them as past imperial powers had done to their vanquished enemies, but instead we helped set up a fledgling democracy and poured TONS of food, medicine, and other aid into these countries to aid their people in pursuit of the type of government which had been shown to best guarantee the well-being and happiness of her people.

When the next threat to Europe, and the rest of the world, emerged in the form of a totalitarian, expansionist communist regime that had killed more millions of its own people than had Hitler, we were ready again. After watching Hungary and Czechoslovakia fall, and the promise of democracy in Poland go unanswered, our President Truman decided this threat to the liberty and prosperity of the world would not go any further. The wars in Asia were fought for these reasons. They were disasters, I believe, because of how they were fought, but they were fought for the right reasons. We did not enter Vietnam or Korea thinking, “Hey, there’s this town called Mai Lai that we ought to raid.” Such incidents are treated in the U.S. Army for what they are, aberrations, and criminal ones at that. We had had many allies, for a while when the threat was mostly abstract, but we fought these two wars mostly on our own (especially Vietnam). It was an unmitigated catastrophe for our nation. Was it right for us to have done so?

Look at the people of South Korea, many of their youth are, like yourself rich, well-educated, sophisticated, well-traveled, and vocally anti-American. What luxury they have to oppose their government in marches, and hang out in coffee shops sipping Starbucks Coffee and complaining about their oppression by the Americans! At present, 47,000 American soldiers ensure that right will continue. The life on the North side of the DMZ, of course, is a little different. Are their youth anti-American too? How the hell would we know? They can’t speak freely, they can’t march except when told to, and in any event they are probably too busy scrounging for food, huddling to keep warm, or hiding from the secret police to be bothered with politics as you and I know it. This is not hyperbole, but reality. If you are not willing to face this truth, you are blinded by ideology in the same way religious zealots are blinded by faith.

Today, the United States faces another threat not only to itself, but also to the world. The most terrifying aspect of which is the prospect of the confluence of rogue states possessing weapons of mass destruction (i.e., Iran, Iraq, and North Korea) with terrorist organizations whose goal is the destruction of the West. We cannot afford to wait until after we are sure that this has taken place, for the smoking gun in this case will be a mushroom cloud over an American or European city (to paraphrase Condolezza Rice), or a similarly devastating chemical or biological attack. We know the threat is there, and history will judge us by what we did before it was too late. If one nation on the Security Council, and it only takes one, sees an opportunity to advance its self-interest by opposing the United States in this just cause, does that suddenly make it unjust?

Saddam Hussein insists he does not have such weapons, and we Americans are asking you to trust us when we say we have evidence he is lying. And when shown the evidence, we ask you to believe us we have not “made it up.” UNSCOM and UNMOVIC have caught Sadam lying over and over and over. Whom do you trust? Think carefully, a lot is at stake.

We will be fighting to prevent a catastrophe in Europe or America, the likes of which we can hardly imagine. After September 11th, we know Iraq does not need fancy GPS-guided intercontinental missles to threaten Europe or America – it only needs an assocation with terorrists with like-minded goals to load a container holding a small nuclear device onto a ship bound for London or New York, or to drive a truck with such a container into Europe.

And when Iraq has been disarmed, we will help them establish a representative government, which I feel sure will fall short of Jeffersonian democracy, but that will certainly be an order of magnitude better than what they have. What right do we have to “impose” these ideas on the people of Iraq? Well, what right does anyone have to impose anything on any other human being? What right does Saddam Hussein have to impose his will on people who have no say in how their country is run? He tortures, kills, or imprisons dissidents. He’s tortured children in front of their parents. As we did in post-war Germany and Japan, as we did in South Korea, and as we recently have done in Afghanistan, we will be the ones fighting and sacrificing our hard earned money and the priceless lives of our youth for the rights of the Iraqi people to determine for themselves their destiny. They certainly are not free to do so now.

One cry I hear often from protesters in Europe is that we mustn’t “bomb Iraq” because we will kill untold millions of Iraqis. I put the preceding phrase in quotes because, first of all, we are not going to bomb Iraq, but Iraqi military targets. This is an important distinction. In Iraq, as we did in Afghanistan, we will be careful too avoid civilian casualties whenever possible. Of course, there is always risk in war – to innocent civilians and to our own soldiers. But if Afghanistan is the model, and it surely is for American military planners, the loss of innocent life will be minimal. And I have a question for you, and try to consider it carefully and answer it honestly: If you were an Iraqi youth, would you be willing to take a small risk of being killed by an errant American bomb in order to ensure the liberation of your country, and a chance at a decent life, not just for your own generation, but for your children and grand children? If you were a young woman in Afghanistan today, free to go out on the street without a burqua on your way to school for the first time in your life, how would you answer this question?

To be very blunt, the anti-American protests I see in Europe most remind me of petulant teenagers. Having all the benefit of growing up in a free and well-off society, you still see things that don’t live up to the high expectations and ideals you have of what the world ought to be. And you protest loudly and often. But you fail to see all that you have, and how precious and rare it is in the history of mankind.

You have grown up in a cocoon of safety and prosperity that is not the norm for humanity, as have I. The history of humanity has not been one of the inevitable progress of prosperity and knowledge interrupted only by American evil schemes. The history of man has been one of constant struggle of one civilization against another, and of the forces of anarchy and chaos against civilization itself. It is this latter type of struggle that faces us now. America is not perfect, but we have most often been on the side of democracy and civilization. We want and need your help.

You should not be asking yourself whether the Swedish model or the American model for government is what you stand for, you should instead be asking yourself whether the very concept of liberal, secular, and tolerant democratic government is worth fighting for. This is what our enemies, such as Al Qaeda, oppose. They do not hate us for McDonalds or even our support for Israel, but primarily for the values of tolerance and secular democracy we “threaten” to spread to the Middle East. Are these things worth preserving? Are the lives of innocent Europeans and Americans worth saving? Where will you stand?