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March 25, 2006

A World Without U.S. Power

The featured Op Ed in Thursday's Review & Outlook in WSJ's Opinion Journal proves a telling summary of the way global business and politics are prioritized by countries that criticize America's ultimately benevolent international actions above and beyond any consideration of humanity.

They criticize us for liberating the Iraqis and sticking around afterwards to help them develop a democratic government. They ignore the fact that we have opened schools and hospitals, upgraded local infrastructure, helped stimulate the Iraqi economy and that our troops interact positively with Iraqi citizens.

At the same time, these same countries block any outside interference in the ongoing genocidal events in Dharfur and have been doing so for some time, purely in the name of financial interests.

At places like Davos and Harvard, the world's sages rarely stop fretting about the dangers of a too powerful America. Well, if you want to know what the world looks like without U.S. leadership, Exhibit A is Darfur in Sudan.

Today's leading authority on Darfur is the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who prophesied a world "nasty, brutish and short." At least 200,000 civilians have been killed in the past three years and two million more have become refugees. The source of the problem is the Arab rulers in Khartoum, who have pursued an ethnic cleansing campaign against black Muslims in western Sudan. They've equipped the Janjaweed Arab tribesmen to do the dirty work, and that militia is now attacking civilians across the border in Chad, creating 20,000 more refugees.

To his credit, Kofi Annan started shouting about the problem two years ago, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell labeled it "genocide" not long after that. The U.N.'s mighty peace-making machinery then started to roll and . . . nothing. The Chinese (who have close commercial ties to Khartoum) and Russians have blocked any serious intervention. Arab members of the Security Council have also opposed any attempt to single out Khartoum.

And they say we're not the "good guys"? No, we're the evil, imperialist, colonialist, "anything for the oil" bully of the world.

Meanwhile, there is Dharfur, where Muslims oversee the butchery of thousands of fellow Muslims.

The Arab League--so quick to denounce Danish cartoons--has also stymied any global intervention to stop the murder of their fellow Muslims. Here's League Secretary General Amr Musa earlier this month: "In Sudan, there is a problem related to Darfur. We will listen to the Sudanese state minister to explain to us the developments in the issue of Darfur . . ." The League plans to hold its meeting next week--in Khartoum. The African Union has at least sent 7,000 troops to the region, but they are under-funded and under-equipped to enforce a truce that Sudan blatantly flouts. But the African failure is also political. In January the Union held its own summit in Khartoum, and next year it plans to award Sudan its presidency. The rule seems to be never to say a discouraging word about other African leaders, no matter how murderous.

This is nothing new, look at the way the rest of Africa's leaders turn a blind eye to the activities of colleagues like Robert Mugabe.

Africa still has a long way to go before it will be able to consider itself an even mostly civilized continent. Too many peoples over there refuse to emerge from a mindset time warp, choosing instead to remain under the control of despotic regimes. Perhaps that isn't quite fair -- most of the people in these hell holes live squalidly in-country or in slums in the cities and struggle to survive -- those whom the world hears from and those who run infrastructure live in major cities and enjoy most of the conveniences we do in the west. Many of those people are businessmen who engage in trade with their counterparts in other countries all over the world -- few of them could care less about the impoverished, for poverty and disease are as commonplace over there as Internet spam is over here. Most of the middle class figure there's nothing they can do about it anyway, and they harden their hearts. The upper class is so far isolated from the harsh realities of commonality that they don't think about it at all.

The political leadership could care less, their only concerns are money and power, the luxuries they provide and the security measures they must take to ensure that nobody takes it all away from them via a coup d'etat(ugh, French -- spit!--). So they take all rights away from those in circumstances prone to disaffection and use army troops as civil police. They embrace torture(not some brainless, maladjusted girl leading a naked man around on a leash, but the kind of brutal stuff that does permanent physical damage like the burning of flesh, electrocution or slow dismemberment), making entire families disappear and slaughtering entire villages as punishment for the imagined infractions of a very few. Corruption is "accepted" at every level of government. The poor majorities are forever crushed, hopeless generations that reproduce only to create future hopelessness.

This concept will be completely alien to most Americans, because the reality is not present anyplace in this country, despite the calculated, conscienceless exaggerations of the political left.

I saw this kind of civil subjugation and poverty in Central America back in the early 1970s, and it's not easily forgotten. Small children with enormous eyes, playing happily in open sewers, dripping sores all over their arms and legs. Soldiers in berets patrolling the streets armed with submachineguns, passersby averting their eyes so as not to attract their interest.

Leaders of countries who practice like regimes are not about to attack other leaders of the same pedigree.

It is in the nature of the United States to want to help other countries and their people when the need is there, and we have done so in volumes that dwarf all other nations' efforts to date, yet we're always told we're not giving enough or doing enough when we are going with the program financing or otherwise enforcing a U.N. agenda. On the other hand, we are harshly criticized by the same folks when we take care of or otherwise support programs that might interfere with their national business agendas.

Dharfur presents a fine example of the latter situation.

Fine, it's diplomatically PC to express outrage at the genocide perpetrated by the powers-that-be in Khartoum, but it's another matter entirely to leave them alone in the interests of commerce.

As it now stands, if the U.S. wants anything done about Dharfur, we'll have to address it ourselves.

It's been speculated that we haven't got the military manpower to spare for the kind of campaign that would entail, we are already spearheading the Global War On Terror and maintaining necessary large troop strength in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are scores of other nations that can deal with Dharfur, if, that is, the countries like Russia and the PRC who are making money off the present status quo are overruled.

Of course, as in all issues where strong and possibly long term military involvement is required, the U.N. and the weasel countries that seem to form its nucleus will, if intervention is decided upon, insist that the U.S. function as the prime mover, committing the most troops and the most money by far, and will then stand safely on the sidelines with many fewer troops of their own in harm's way and criticize our every move.

Read the entire Op Ed here.

Posted by Seth at March 25, 2006 08:40 PM