Sunday, September 26, 2004

Iraq, the crucible

Amir Taheri writes of the significant differences between John Kerry and George Bush regarding Iraq, Democracy and the war on terror.
Bush's policy is summed up in the phrase "staying the course." Tony Blair agrees; last week he described Iraq as "the crucible in which the future of global terrorism will be determined."

The Bush-Blair analysis is based on the assumption that the last area of the world to breed anti-West terrorists is the Middle East, a region unaffected by the wave of democratization that began with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. And, since democracies do not breed terrorists, the only way to ensure the long-term safety and security of Western democracies, including America and the European Union, is to democratize the Middle East, by force if necessary.

Kerry rejects that. He believes that it is none of America's business to meddle in other people's affairs, especially when this involves the use of force. All the United States need do is to strengthen its domestic anti-terror defenses, and be prepared to retaliate if and when attacked. Taking pre-emptive action against potential adversaries, even in the name of self-defense, is (in this view) a form of "neo-Imperialism."
John Kerry's cultural relativism, the idea that democracy has no preferred status among the world's political systems, is the root of his flawed worldview. And one cannot win the war on terror while suffering from such myopia.