"I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it," so said John Kerry yesterday. I mention this not only because this might become the perfect summation of his character, both intellectual and moral, but also because it is a perfect example of the difficulty of doing politics in a Republic. It is all a bit confusing isn’t it? A person goes around saying anything and everything, no matter how contradictory, just to get himself elected (he will fail, by the way). And then we add Spain into the mix. This Washington Times editorial makes all the right points and asks all the right questions. Spain’s new Socialist prime minister-elect said that we are "aligning ourselves with Mr. Kerry" and that their allegiance will be "for peace, against war," and he asserted that "fighting terrorism with bombs...with Tomahawk missiles isn’t the way to defeat terrorism." And he says he will pull the Spanish troops out of Iraq. O.K. I begin to see the connection between Kerry and Zapatero: terrorism is a law enforcement issue, at best, and, at worst, it means we will not fight them.
Tom Friedman (not exactly a conservative) says this in his column in today’s New York Times: "The new Spanish government’s decision to respond to the attack by Al Qaeda by going ahead with plans to pull its troops from Iraq constitutes the most dangerous moment we’ve faced since 9/11. It’s what happens when the Axis of Evil intersects with the Axis of Appeasement and the Axis of Incompetence." And then he writes: "Spain is planning to do something crazy: to try to appease radical evil by pulling Spain’s troops out of Iraq — even though those troops are now supporting the first democracy-building project ever in the Arab world."
The policy of appeasement--which Europeans are now practicing--is nothing new in the world, I am sorry to say. It is a politics that is based on fear, is without principle (i.e., there is nothing worth fighting for) and has been around as long as human beings have been around; but so has the politics of freedom. The fact that it has been around for ever, of course, doesn’t make it any more palatable. Churchill famously said that "an appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last." The Spanish (and maybe John Kerry) will soon be coming to a point when they will have to choose between war and shame (again Churchill) and if they choose shame, they will still have war, but on even more difficult terms than at the present. hy is all this worth mentioning?
Because the truth is, as Victor Davis Hanson asserts, we have to admit to ourselves that we are alone. In the end, it is good and useful to have allies--especially in a cause not only just and right, but also wherein the interests are the same--but we can only count on ourselves, our own virtues, our own sense of right, and our own prudence. Our we fit for it? Churchill said that you cannot "take the lead in great causes as a half-timer." I think the Spanish and John Kerry are half-timers, and there will be others. Once again, our character will be tested, and once again, we will reveal to the world (and ourselves) that we have not sailed across oceans and conquered continents and tyrants because we are made of cotton candy. We need to remind ourselves, or allies, and our enemies, of this massive fact. We are reminded.
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