Rebirth of Reason


World Peace
by Jeff Landauer

Since the beginning of humanity, people have banded together in tribes for mutual protection. Tribes have banded into cities; cities have formed nations; nations have formed alliances -- always with the understanding and expectation that ones neighbors will attack, loot, or enslave given the opportunity. With the expectation of future hostilities it was only natural to conquer ones neighbor, loot, and demand tribute when the opportunity presented itself, because to fail to do so would only invite that consequence on oneself in the future when that same neighbor has grown in strength and senses an opportunity.

Wars 1816-1991
democracies vs. democracies0
democracies vs. nondemocracies155
nondemocracies vs. nondemocracies198
*Defined as military action in which at least 1,000 are killed in battle.
Source: Death By Government, R. J. Rummel
The advent and proliferation of democracy has created a slightly different world. Democracies do not fight wars against democracies. Wars are the product of aggression, glory seeking, and power consolidation by kings and dictators. Kings and dictators see each other as threats and obstacles to world domination. Democracies see each other as friends with many common interests.

The primary cause and purpose for government is the protection of its people from aggression. Protection against foreign invaders involves both dealing with immediate dangers and preventing future dangers. In the past, protecting against future dangers involved conquering ones neighbors and demanding tribute or simply the outright annexation of neighbors. In modern times, we rely more on the idea of regional stability -- which translates into not letting anyone else get too powerful. It was the quest of regional stability that led us to defend South Korea, South Vietnam, Kuwait, and to some extent England in World War II. However, note that we've only been concerned with regional stability when the alternative is a dictatorship or a communist regime gaining in power. It is not simply a case of trying to keep others down; it is a case of trying to keep our potential enemies down. We don't try to minimize Taiwan's influence in China or Japan's influence in the Pacific -- we don't even object to Russia's war in Chechnya because Russia, as a democracy, is no longer a potential enemy.

"World Peace" is no longer just a phrase vapidly spewed by the occasional hippie or Academy Award recipient. The increasing spread of democracy presages a future in which there really is world peace. Raising armies and fighting immediate threats is a short-term solution to the problem of international security. The long-term solution, and the only course of action against the day in 10 years or 300 years when some tyrant somewhere acquires the power to again really terrorize the world is to eliminate all non-democratic forms of government. World peace is obtainable, and it is the role of government to work towards this end because that is the only sure and lasting way of protecting people and securing liberty.

I am not suggesting that it is proper for the United States or any other democracy to go and forcibly liberate the world regardless of cost. Obviously there is a balance to be struck between long and short-term security. I believe that the correct foreign policy is a combination of fighting aggression against any democracy anywhere anytime, as in the Korean War and World War II, and the opportunistic undermining and overthrowing of the enemies of freedom when there is little cost.

The idea that if we maintain an isolationist foreign policy then the rest of the world will leave us alone is wrong. Muslims hate the United States because we are the greatest country on earth and in all history, not for what we've done. For example, Israel's neighbors did not simultaneously and instantly attack Israel from all sides the day that Israel declared independence (and repeatedly thereafter as opportunity permitted) because of any Israeli foreign policy. Israel is subject to constant attacks because it is non-Islam. Many followers of Islam are at war with all non-Islamic people. They wage their war as opportunity permits.

To bring this discussion to the current issue of whether or not to invade Iraq, let me first say that we never finished the Gulf War and that we're still fighting it. The peace treaty with Iraq contained the provisions that 1) Iraq would eliminate its stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD's) and allow inspectors to verify compliance, and 2) the establishment a no-fly zone to protect local rebellions from Iraqi air attacks. Iraq kicked out the inspectors and has continued to hide and produce WMD's and Iraq constantly commits hostile actions upon coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones. Coalition planes have a ratio that they act upon when targeted by Iraqis. The last I heard it was 1:3 -- for every three times Iraqi anti-air forces engage coalition planes, we fire back once.

It is so clearly and overwhelmingly in our interest to finish the Gulf War that I believe that people who argue that it's against our interest are not being intellectually honest. Rather, they are rationalizing to cover up an irrational pacifist bent. First, beating the Iraqi military a second time will be even easier than it was the first time. Second, a democratic Iraq will be an enormous benefit in the fight against terrorism, the weakening of Iraq's theocratic neighbors, and will pave the way for the democracy in other Muslim states in the region.

The first Gulf War was a cakewalk; its continuation will be even more so. The Iraqi army is smaller and demoralized. We have better intelligence now than we did then. Our military technology has advanced significantly in 12 years. We've had more time to plan, deploy, and prepare. We will likely have three fronts to attack from -- Kuwait, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia as opposed to just one in the first war. The Iraqi's know that this time we really mean business, so will probably surrender more readily than before, if that's even possible.

A democratic Iraq will probably cause an even stronger "brain drain" from the neighboring theocracies than already exists between the Middle East and the West -- similar to how so many people have left the Peoples Republic of China for Taiwan and Hong Kong. Intelligent, freedom loving entrepreneurs and artists leave China, and books, movies, and the ideals of capitalism and democracy filter back, in effect Westernizing the Communist behemoth. A democratic Iraq located in the center of the Middle East could, over the years, grow to dominate the entire region culturally and be as great an ally in the war on terror as Germany was in the cold war.

The arguments against toppling Saddam Hussein are usually either that there is no immediate threat or that there is no particular reason to attack Iraq as opposed to other evil regimes throughout the world. To the first objection, Iraq is our enemy whether we like it or not. If we don't act now, the potential situation is that Iraq will get stronger, and pose a bigger threat in the future. Are we going to wait around until the threat is immediate? To adopt the policy of "Be nice to Saddam and maybe he'll be nice to us" is to come from a position of weakness and fear. And lunacy.

Why is Saddam trying so hard to get WMD's? It's not to use against his neighbors because he's learned that in a post-cold war world the West will not tolerate wars of aggression. It's not to use against his own people. He has plenty of bullets and torturing chambers to use against his own people. It can only be to blackmail the west. I assume he seeks to get to the point of MAD (mutually assured destruction), where he has powerful enough weapons that he can act with immunity on the conventional battlefield.

To equivocate between Iraq and other despotic countries that possess weapons of mass destruction is a distraction. Just because we are also justified in using force to respond to other countries does not lessen any justification with regards to Iraq. Yes, we can't fight them all at once. That's why we're taking them once at a time as circumstances permit. First Afghanistan, then Iraq, next North Korea. We have a great opportunity to take a big step towards world peace, liberate the oppressed, and help secure our citizens from terrorism.

Liberating Iraq is an act that will safeguard democracies in the short term and is a crucial step towards bringing about world peace in the long term. We should seize this opportunity while it presents itself.

Sanctions: 10Sanctions: 10Sanctions: 10 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article

Discuss this Article (9 messages)