July 17, 2006
Last week Time Magazine (that unimpeachable source for political satire) declared definitively: "THE END OF COWBOY DIPLOMACY, What North Korea, Iraq and Iran teach us about the limits of going it alone."
This, I guess, is what passes for conventional wisdom among the elites of the Paleo-media. They would have us believe that the only wise course for the President to take is one of negotiation, or as our enemies describe it (or would if candor could be expected) going to them hat in hand.
Those of us with a somewhat longer memory (oh…say…than last night's binge) would more aptly describe it as leading with one's chin, or perhaps doing "the Chamberlain."
A quick look at the relative benefits of doing what Democrats always seem ready to advocate, negotiating with an enemy of freedom versus doing what most Conservatives advocate, meeting threat and obstinacy with force, proves the latter to be far more effective in achieving one's goals, assuming one's goals include winning and/or surviving.
"You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." (Al Capone)
He wasn't a great American, but Al Capone was an astute observer of human nature, especially the human nature of the criminal mind. In today's world of diplomacy, there are a number of leaders who clearly fall into that category; first among them would be Kim Jung Il of North Korea and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, followed closely by the members of al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the rest of the Islamic Jihadist organizations all of which are organizations with a criminal mentality whose only raisons d'etre are the killing of innocent civilians and the destruction of Israel and all of Western Civilization.
Negotiation gave us Eastern and Western Europe and the suffering of hundreds of millions of people under a repressive Stalinist dictatorship for 50 years.
Confrontation and strength in the form of Mutually Assured Destruction kept that Stalinist, expansionist government at bay for those 50 years.
Negotiation gave us a Communist Cuba.
Confrontation gave us a missile free Cuba (though still Communist, thanks to JFK).
Confrontation almost did and would have, if given the chance, won the war in Viet Nam.
Negotiation by an overwrought Nixon administration under the gun of an overbearing Democrat Congress snatched that near victory away leaving thousands of American MIA's unaccounted for and 50,000 dead for no apparent reason.
That same negotiation left Pol Pot the opportunity to murder as many as 5 million of his fellow Cambodians.
Confrontation with the Soviets by President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at a time when most of the world was screaming for unilateral nuclear disarmament ended the reign of 50 years of repressive Stalinist, expansionist government.
Negotiation left Israel surrounded by nations and people determined to destroy them.
Confrontation with and defeat of those nations, in three separate wars, positioned Israel as the strongest and safest nation in the Middle East.
Negotiation with Saddam Hussein left him in a position to terrorize his neighbors, murder and torture his citizens, and build up his arsenal.
Confrontation removed Saddam Hussein from power for good.
So what about Time Magazine's assertion that cowboy diplomacy is dead today?
Well it depends on what result you are seeking. If you want to face a North Korea which continues to research and build-up its nuclear capability as it has since the Clinton Administration, in the face of a decade of "intense negotiation" (ooh, those words just send a chill of fear down your spine), just continue to "intensely negotiate" with this inhuman murderous thug, and pretty soon Kim Jung Il will be in a position to threaten all of his neighbors with nuclear weapons.
If you want to shut him down, destroy his missiles while they are on the ground (Cowboy Diplomacy). It's called having credibility in your threats (real "intense negotiations"). Currently, we have no credibility with North Korea since we warned them that they would face "severe consequences" if they launched their missiles. They did and we gave them…what…another severe warning. Yeah, like that's going to shake them up.
If all you do is issue warnings and threats (stern or otherwise) and you never act on those warnings and threats, then you are a toothless lion. For North Korea now, we are that toothless lion.
Iran continues to thumb its nose at us and we continue to "sternly warn them" to behave like good little Muslims. Iran foments war against Israel using its Hezbollah surrogates in Syria and Lebanon and we tell Israel to be "restrained" in their response.
I have a novel idea, why don't we tell Iran to be "restrained" in their actions? Why don't we take affirmative actions to support the Israelis in their battle for survival?
Ariel Sharon went against his own instincts and attempted to negotiate with the Palestinians and the Lebanese Hezbollah by disengaging and withdrawing from their territories, the reward for doing so was violent military aggression by those same parties.
Now Ehud Olmert is responding with limited but appropriate attacks and our government is warning him to be "restrained" in his response.
I think that it is time for the world to be un-restrained in its response to these monsters. It is time for some real "cowboy diplomacy" (the Ronald Reagan kind). The only thing that people like Kim and Ahmadinejad are capable of understanding is force. They will not back down as long as they see that they can ignore our diplomatic entreaties with impunity.
The enemies of freedom understand force and only force. They live by Mr. Capone's statement. So much so that it bears repeating: "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone."