(Centennial Fellow) In the classic musical My Fair Lady, Professor Henry Higgins plaintively asks “Why can’t a Woman be more like a Man?” Similarly Americans perpetually wonder “Why can’t other countries be more like us?”
A case in point is our current relations with China which to American eyes seems willfully stubborn in its refusal to cooperate on sanctions against Iran. Similarly China seems inexplicably furious over the U.S. decision to sell six billion dollars worth of new weapons to Taiwan. Add to this China’s recent dire warnings against any U.S. officials meeting with the Dalai Lama.
Realistically Americans should understand that Chinese behavior is deeply rooted in the values and experience of their own 3,000 year history and hardly at all influenced by the values and experience found in little over 200 years of U.S. history. Furthermore the things Americans constantly preach e.g. democracy, human rights have virtually no resonance in Chinese history or the “world view” of those men in Beijing who are charting China’s future. It could be fair to say that currently the three central imperatives of Chinese policy are in ascending order of importance:1.developing a military establishment capable of projecting power on a global scale; 2. achieving economic might competitive with the U.S.A.; and 3. solidifying the regime’s legitimacy, stability, and territorial integrity. These goals are mutually reinforcing. China knows it cannot attain global military influence without a world class economy to support it. Finally China will have neither military nor economic clout if the regime fails the test of long term stability. It is hard for Americans to grasp the compelling force of these three objectives because all of them are things we achieved long ago and now take for granted. What drives China’s obsession with stability as evidenced by their harsh attitudes regarding Taiwan, Tibet, Uighurs, Falun Gong, Japanese history books and even Google? The answer is that all of Chinese history can be divided into two constantly recurring cycles. The first: long periods of unity, power, and prosperity under stable and legitimate regimes (dynasties). The second: long periods of ruin occasioned by the breakdown of central authority which commonly led to civil war, feudal chaos, and foreign invasion. Examples abound. Early in the 13th century Mongol raiders appeared on the northern borders; within three generations they had conquered all of China. Early in the 19th century “peaceful traders” from the West appeared in Chinese ports; by the end of the century they had totally humiliated China’s rulers, and carved the country up into foreign “concessions” and “spheres of interest”. The Japanese invasion and occupation beginning in 1937 visited unimaginable horrors upon millions of Chinese. To Chinese the lessons of their long history are clear: small problems can lead to large catastrophes. Thus small problems must be aggressively attacked, and constant vigilance is demanded. When China looks at its great U.S. rival it sees a contracting military power (mothballed carriers, defunded missile defense, etc.) greatly stressed by nine years of combat deployment, an economy racing towards a cliff owing to metastasizing deficits and debt (mainly owed to China), and a national leadership desperate to push its burdens of world security toward a hopelessly fragmented United Nations or a toothless European Union. In this environment for China to succumb to U.S. pressure regarding Iran would not only be out of character historically but also a clear violation of its national interest. A nuclear armed Iran may be a game changing threat to U.S. interests but the view from Beijing is very different. To abandon Iran would clearly signal that China is an unreliable ally vulnerable to U.S. pressures such as the unusually blunt public warning recently made by Secretary Clinton in Paris. China portrays the U.S. as a declining power that cannot be relied upon as evidenced by its impatience to leave Iraq and Afghanistan and inability to successfully deal with either Iran or North Korea. In contrast China portrays itself both economically and militarily as the rising world power that stands by its friends and its commitments, a nation that has both the desire and the capability to be the avatar of a new post-American world order. For thousands of years the Chinese have regarded their civilization as superior to all others, a self-perception not unlike “American Exceptionalism”. History will reveal which vision shall own the future.
Centennial Fellow William Moloney was previously Colorado Education Commissioner. His columns have appeared in the Wall St. Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Human Events.
(Centennial Fellow) WASHINGTON, JAN. 17 - When judgment is rendered on the success or failure of U.S. foreign policy in 2010 the verdict will depend more than anything on the outcome of our confrontation with Iran. The threat to U.S. global interests from Iran is immense, but so too is the opportunity for a historic and transformational advancement of those interests. Converging circumstances in both Washington and Teheran strongly suggest that a decisive turning point is at hand. The sudden leap of Yemen onto the front pages of U.S. newspapers has underlined how far reaching are the dangers Iran poses for the United States and its allies. Both the Bush and Obama administrations chose to narrow the focus on Iran to that country’s nuclear ambitions correctly seeing that issue as the most critical and most likely to rally international support.
The fact that Iran by supplying sophisticated weaponry to its proxies in both Iraq and Afghanistan is killing American soldiers has been downplayed by both administrations. The fact that murderous violence aimed at Israel and the United States in Lebanon, the West Bank, Gaza, and Yemen has been powerfully fueled by Teheran’s money and fanatical ideology has similarly been acknowledged but in a very low key.
Both Bush and Obama repeatedly denounced the wickedness of al-Qaeda but failed to connect the dots regarding the obvious implications of the religious zealotry and violent strategies that are common to Bin-Laden and the Iranian mullahs e.g. pathological hatred of Israel, predilection for blowing people up, and determination to take the battle to the heartland of the Great Satan America.
Bush’s Iran strategy was to isolate and not talk to them. Obama reversed field and opted for engagement. Both approaches utterly failed to modify Iranian objectives; Teheran’s response to both isolation and engagement has been a mix of arrogance, insult, and continued bad behavior culminating most recently in Ahmadinejad’s bombastic demand that Israel and America give up their own nuclear weapons as a precondition for any Iranian response.
Obama’s oft declared end of year deadline for positive Iranian response has come and gone. He now must be prepared to implement those “serious consequences” he has long spoken of. This will not be easy, particularly in light of China’s recent declared intention of using its veto to block sanctions in the United Nations Security Council.
Given the U.N’s almost limitless capacity for procrastination Obama’s best hope for support lies with the European Union, but despite encouraging rhetoric from Gordon Brown and Nicholas Sarkozy, action from that multi-lateral body is far from certain.
In the end Obama must consider an approach he has long decried: unilateral United States action.
So, amidst these growing threats, where is the grand opportunity?
It principally lies in the very realistic chance of achieving “regime change” in Iran by boldly siding with the growing opposition in that country. Once they merely sought honest elections. Now clearly their goal is the overthrow of the dictatorship. The Iranian people- now chanting in street demonstrations “Obama, are you with us or them?” – are the most educated and sophisticated populace between Israel and India and as they showed in 1979 they have the capacity to bring down an intolerable regime.
In his Nobel Address President Obama eloquently stated some realities that much of the world sometimes forgets. He said that evil exists, and that peaceful means would not have stopped Hitler and will not stop al- Qaeda. He reminded his audience that American power had for half a century been the principal guarantor of their freedom, and while collective security is always preferred, sometimes one nation i.e. the United Stated must act alone.
Many saw President Obama’s speech as a justification of his Afghan escalation, but he was also laying down a marker for Iran and clearly signaling that he was ready for a major course correction is his own approach to world affairs.
Absent a pathologically hostile regime in Iran, U.S. foreign policy challenges from Pakistan to Israel dramatically shift in our favor, the entire Middle East is transformed, and U.S. global influence, and the cause of freedom reaches a pinnacle unmatched since the Second World War.
Heady stuff. Not easy, not certain, but once again History offers America an opportunity to be the great catalyst for human progress.
Centennial Fellow Bill Moloney was Colorado Education Commissioner, 1997-2007. His columns have appeared in the Wall St Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post.
(Centennial Fellow) Why have diplomats from the underdeveloped nations of the world been clamoring in Copenhagen for something to be done about global warming? Why did the burned-out Marxists of the world protest in the streets of Copenhagen for an even greater redistribution of wealth worldwide?
Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe, in his speech at the conference, blamed that nation's poverty not on his own Marxist tyranny and economic mismanagement, but on “the planet-unfriendly model of development pursued by…the so-called highly-industrialised developed world, all to our collective detriment.” He was followed by Venezuela’s Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez, who praised “socialism [as] the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.”
This is not about Global Warming. It is about fleecing productive nations, draining them of the capital which could lift the world economy out of its pit. It’s about redistributing that capital to unproductive nations, where it will disappear down a rat hole. This is a reincarnation of the Marxism-Leninism that killed over a hundred million people in the last century.
In the nineteenth century Europeans poured millions into their colonies throughout the underdeveloped world in hopes of a return on their investment. After the devastation of two world wars, those European powers could no longer afford to prop up these failing regions, so they let them go to fend for themselves.
Franz Fanon, radical Marxist and guru of post-colonial studies, called for the “Wretched of the Earth” to violently rise up against their colonial masters, whom he claimed had exploited them and ruined their lands. Actually Europeans brought modern technology and economic development which began to lift the underdeveloped world out of their primitive desperation. They built railroads, hospitals and schools, and worked to make their land productive and prosperous.
But when independence came they became even more “wretched”, sinking back into poverty and desperation. When the British left Ghana, its GNP was equal to that of South Korea, the largest producer of cocoa in the world and with the finest harbor in Sub-Saharan Africa. A few decades later it was one of the poorest countries in the world, with a GDP 3% of South Korea’s.
In the twentieth century two superpowers, the US and the USSR, poured billions into their client states throughout the underdeveloped world in hopes of either encouraging or discouraging the growth of world-wide communism. As the Cold War ended, foreign aid dried up and unproductive nations of the world sunk once again into poverty and desperation, with only paltry sums from cash-strapped NGOs to support them.
All foreign aid has produced has been economic dependence, perpetuation of poverty, and bitterness toward the very people who help them. Now the underdeveloped world clamors again for funds to prop up their corrupt regimes, funds that hardly filter down below the government officials whose incomes are hundreds of times greater than their general population. They now demand that productive nations pay trillions to perpetuate inefficiency, poverty and dependence, and all in the name of saving the earth from a danger that fewer and fewer people even believe is a danger, and if so, whether we can do anything about it anyway. More likely it is another way for politicians (from both the underdeveloped and developed worlds) to scam the productive of the earth.
William Watson is a history professor at Colorado Christian University. Amont the courses he will be teaching next semester are: Colonialism, the Cold War, and Africa.
"Is Global Warming a Crisis," the Centennial Institute debate proposition for Scott Denning of CSU and James Taylor of the Heartland Institute, yielded an illuminating rather than heated exchange with Taylor saying no and Denning in backhanded agreement. Facing off before an audience of 500 at Colorado Christian University on Oct. 20, the two argued their cases with data, analogies, humor, and the inevitable slide presentations. Click to view the Denning slides and the Taylor slides.
Denning defused suspense at the outset by sidestepping the "crisis" description popularized by Al Gore and other politicians. But he insisted the human-generated increase of CO2 in earth's atmosphere will increase surface temperatures by 2100 at about the equivalent of one 4-watt light bulb per square meter worldwide, making it imperative to reduce CO2 emissions. His solution: "the magic of the free market," transitioning us smoothly to a new energy economy -- provided policymakers cooperate by "putting a price on carbon."
But that latter condition seemed to me a fatal disqualification to the whole scenario, since it implicitly endorses cap-and-trade, a decidedly unfree approach.
Taylor's rebuttal built on the key points that (1) context is crucial (recent warming trends being minor in perspective with historically much-warmer and high-CO2 epochs in earth's history), (2) solar influence is more explanatory for past climate cycles than CO2, (3) computer modeling of the sort used for Denning's light-bulb prediction is discredited by recent research from William Gray and Richard Lindzen, and (4) the prohibitive economic sacrifices of pricing-out carbon are unjustified in light of the foregoing, especially with China and India determined to continue their own burgeoning emissions.
The bottom line for this (admittedly non-neutral) observer: Carbon-dioxide worriers didn't come close to demonstrating urgency to warrant such drastic measures as the Waxman-Markey energy tax now before the US Senate and the Copenhagen Treaty due for international action before year-end.
"First do no harm," the policy verdict recommended by Chris Horner at Centennial's climate debate last April, was convincingly seconded by James Taylor at the October debate -- and this is the only wise guide for America's unilateral and multilateral actions on climate issues at present.
Here's more about the Oct. 20 debate from CCU partner journalist Jean Torkelson, with photos by Ryan Masterson.
Evidence continues to mount demonstrating how much better Democrats are at campaigning than governing. Legislative chaos, Gitmo waffling, missile defense implosion, metastasizing debt, and skeletons tumbling out of the closet (Van Jones, Acorn etc.) to name just a few items continue to enhance the Democrats’ reputation as the “Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight”- great at running for office, but terrible at running the government. The best- or we should say the worst- is yet to come however as the nation watches the bizarre unfolding of an Obama Afghanistan strategy with a high potential for disaster. Six months ago Obama with much fanfare informed the country that following an exhaustive review of the situation in Afghanistan- consultations with Congress, military experts, allies etc.- he had settled on a “new strategy” that would bring success to what he had long trumpeted as the “right war” or the “must win war”. As further evidence of his ‘hands-on” decisiveness he fired the U.S. commander in Afghanistan and appointed his own commander- General Stanley McChrystal- and instructed him to look at everything and make recommendations about what he would need to deliver success. Now six months later Obama with much fanfare informed the country that he would conduct an exhaustive review of the situation in Afghanistan –consultations with Congress, military experts, allies etc. – and then he would announce a “new strategy” and what it would take to deliver success. This left people scratching their heads and wondering what happened to the old “new strategy” and what about the recommendations that General McChrystal had been asked to deliver. Well, that was then; this is now. What happened between then and now is that when General McChrystal reported that success in the “must win” war would require thirty to forty thousand additional troops the left wing of the Democratic Party went bonkers. Up until now being “hawkish” on Afghanistan has been a “win-win” for the Democrats because it allowed them to flagellate George Bush over the “wrong war”- Iraq-while proclaiming their determination to win the “right war”. Now that it is “put up or shut up” time on Afghanistan the Democrats are desperately seeking excuses for rejecting the advice of their handpicked general and embracing the alternative strategy of Field Marshal Joe Biden. It isn’t easy to disguise a “cut and run “ strategy as the “Road to Victory” in the “must win” war, but the Democrats are hell-bent on putting “lipstick on the pig” any way they can. What follows are nominees from the “Best Excuses” Contest being run by the Democrats; they range from the patently disgraceful to the merely laughable. The media has attributed most of them to “unnamed White House sources”.
1. General McChrystal being “just a soldier” doesn’t see the “Big Picture” (unlike Rahm Emanuel and David Axlerod).2. Colin Powell agrees with Field Marshal Biden.3. This war has lasted longer than World War II.4. The Taliban isn’t the real enemy. Its’ Al Qaeda and they’re mostly in Pakistan.5. Al Qaeda is also camped out in South Yemen.6. A “surge” wouldn’t work in Afghanistan.7. The Afghans are “drug dealers”.8. Iran will be more reasonable when U.S. forces have left Iraq and Afghanistan.9. Train the Afghan army, and they’ll win the war for us.10. We have discovered corruption, and even-gasp- election fraud in Afghanistan. What a howler: guys from Chicago “shocked” by corruption and vote stealing! Should we have called off World War II because Joe Stalin wasn’t democratically elected?11. The polls for Obama and Afghanistan are heading south.12. Best for last Dept: How can a Nobel peace Prize winner (go figure) escalate a nasty old war? Wouldn’t John Lennon want us to: “Give Peace a Chance”?
What we are witnessing is the triumph of politics over the national interest thanks to a Democratic Party obsessed by the ghosts of Viet Nam- seeing false analogies everywhere- and terrified that Barack Obama could become another Lyndon Johnson. All of this has the making of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Obama- true to form- will try to have it both ways splitting the difference between his military and political advisors. In doing so he will –like Lyndon Johnson before him- be too clever by half and spawn a series of self-defeating, half measures that will bring disaster upon himself, his party, and his country. William Moloney is a Centennial Institute Fellow and former Colorado Education Commissioner. His columns have appeared in the Wall St Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post.
Obama seems to be more concerned with fighting a war with Fox News, than pursuing the war on terror. While our generals are asking for an increase in forces in Afghanistan, Obama dithers. A century and a half ago the British Army in India marched into Afghanistan. Realizing they did not have sufficient forces, they tried to withdraw their troops. Over the next few weeks, as they made their way back south through the Khyber pass, the army of nearly 16,000 military and support personnel was annihilated. Only one medical officer survived to tell the story. Shortly thereafter, an Afghan poet celebrated his event by calling his country ‘the graveyard of empires.’ If the Obama administration can’t get serious in Afghanistan, we should bring the troops home and declare defeat. Of course this would allow our enemies to recoup and attack our country once again. This would be a catastrophe with a nuclear Pakistan next door and Islamic Jihadis threatening that government daily.
Instead our president has declared war on the only network independent of the government. With a strategy similar to what Hugo Chavez is doing with any opposition in the Venezuelan media, the White House is refusing to allow any member of the administration to be interviewed on Fox. Obama is willing to sit down with Chavez, but won’t sit down with Glenn Beck, nor allow his lackeys to do so.
White House Communications director Anita Dunn told CNN Sunday, concerning Fox News, “we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.” I wonder if Ms. Dunn is behaving the way a White House Communications Director should behave, especially to the most popular news outlet in the United States. If Obama is able to stop Fox, or succeed in intimidating them into compliance like the rest of the mainstream media, I worry for our republic.
When asked what kind of government he was trying to create, Benjamin Franklin responded, “a republic, if you can keep it.” I am beginning to worry, whether we can keep that republic.
The proclamation announcing the Nobel Peace Prize for President Obama states that he “created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.”
The Nobel committee has fallen into the same trap that many American commentators have: rather than actually evaluating outcomes and successes, they are rewarding those who express good intentions. From the proclamation, the Nobel Committee actually acknowledges this, disregarding whether or not any of Obama’s “good intentions” will eventually result in policy success. After going through the checklist of “accomplishments,” there is little or no evidence that any of these things have resulted, nor will they result, in making peace. Multilateralism and dialogue about disarmament and the climate are meaningless.
It appears that the only thing Obama has done, which the committee views as an accomplishment, is to weaken the United States’ standing in the world. While the Nobel Committee may view this as an accomplishment, a weaker United States is certainly not consistent with a more peaceful world. America’s strength on display has in fact led to greater peace in the world over the last 70 years, while presidencies such as Jimmy Carter’s, which sought to diminish America’s standing, actually led to greater world conflict.
Good intentions alone, of course, do not necessarily lead to peace. And a naïve belief that good intentions will result in peace is dangerous. Every attempt at appeasement has been laden with good intentions, whether it is Chamberlain’s cowering to Hitler, or Carter’s weakness in light of increasing Soviet expansion. Weakness in the face of great danger does not establish peace.
The Nobel Committee has made a mockery of itself by honoring the hope for peace, rather than an actual accomplishment of it.
Last Sunday on "Meet the Press," US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice was questioned on the wisdom of President Obama’s failed effort to secure the 2016 Olympics for the city of Chicago. Ambassador Rice replied that “It's never a mistake for the President of the United States to be willing to fight and compete on behalf of our country. And that's what he did, and he would do it again in a nanosecond.”
The ironies of this statement are many; here are just two.
First, the fact that our United Nations ambassador confuses campaigning for the Olympic Games as “fighting” and “competing” for our country is, of course, nonsense. Convincing the IOC to accept a bid to host is not much different than competing in a beauty pageant. Confusing such a campaign with advocating for American interests is indeed baffling.
Second, and far more important, is that Ambassador Rice fails to see that President Obama’s track record as President is anything but fighting for America, it’s interests, or the interests of its allies. The examples are many, but a few of the lowlights will suffice.
Obama announced in September that he would not continue the planned development and deployment of the missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic (two former Soviet satellite nations who have, in recent years, become staunch allies of the United States). Obama’s motivation for this decision was an attempt to gain favor with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Of course, Prime Minister Putin was ecstatic about this decision.
President Obama has recently pushed back his scheduled meeting with the Dalai Lama in an attempt to gain favor from the Chinese government, waiting instead until after his visit to China later this year. These overtures to Russia and China have already proven useless. China has announced that it opposes any new sanctions against Iran, in spite of the discovery of new nuclear capabilities. President Chavez of Venezuela has bragged recently of new technology-sharing with Russia concerning nuclear and missile know-how. Any expectation of support against Iran and against preventing proliferation of weapons in our own hemisphere is, of course, naïve.
In Afghanistan, in spite of his campaign rhetoric ensuring that this was the “good” war and assurances that he would take the necessary steps to ensure success, the President’s inability to take the decisive steps that the military commanders on the ground have requested has shown a timid inability to command.
In every major foreign policy speech delivered at home or abroad, rather than defend America’s interests and her noble past accomplishments, President Obama has instead used each occasion to criticize our history, while diminishing our standing in the world.
The failure to fight for America is not, of course, limited to foreign policy mistakes. Obama’s domestic policies, including but not limited to: his support of a cap and trade plan; the government takeover of major banking and automotive corporations; and his unwillingness to prevent the expiration of tax cuts which would ensure a pro growth environment for small businesses, will all do great harm to American economic interests.
To date, President Obama has failed to exhibit any knowledge of how to fight for America’s interests. He and his Administration’s confusion that campaigning for the hosting of the Olympics equals fighting for America would be comical if not so tragic.
Obama's dangerously deluded foreign policyBy Mark Hillman
Say what you will about Bill Clinton's foreign policy shortcomings, but for the most part he had the good sense not to squander Ronald Reagan's legacy of peace through strength. By contrast, Barack Obama's foreign policy seems to be predicated on a boundless faith in his own persuasive powers and the naïve notion that our international antagonists are merely misunderstood. Not since Jimmy Carter has American foreign policy been so obsequious or short-sighted. Rather than isolate Argentine menace Hugo Chavez, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have managed the remarkable feat of backing Chavez's acolyte in Honduras, ousted president Manuel Zelaya, while still eliciting ridicule from Latin America's most notorious thug. Zelaya, who sought to defy Honduras' constitutional prohibition against a president seeking multiple terms, was duly prosecuted by his country's attorney general, removed from office by its supreme court, lawfully replaced by a president from his own political party, and finally deported when his supporters threatened national insurrection. Obama and Secretary Clinton — standing alongside Chavez, Cuba's Castro brothers, and the Organization of American States — want to restore Zelaya to power and chastise the Honduran government for adhering to the rule of law. Apparently Obama longs for the bad ol' days when the Castro boys and their Soviet Russian patrons established communist dictatorships in Central America. Or perhaps he believes that Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin is just a harmless fuzzball, rather than an erstwhile KGB officer who laments the fall of the Iron Curtain. That would explain why last year, as a candidate, Obama's initial reaction to the Russian invasion of neighboring Georgia was to urge both sides to "show restraint." Worse still as president Obama courts Russia's cooperation by abruptly canceling plans to deploy anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. He didn't revoke these promises in exchange for Russian cooperation. He simply did it and hoped that Russia would cooperate — just as his climate change policy is to disembowel America's economy and hope China, India and others do the same to theirs. The Poles and Czechs endured decades of Russian Soviet oppression. We should help empower them to defend themselves. Instead Obama's policy is a slap in the face — no matter how his administration spins it. To the Russians and the Iranians, against whose developing ballistic missile program the defenses offered protection, Obama's pusillanimous maneuver further demonstrates weakness. Russian president Dmitri Medvedev applauded Obama's decision, just as a shrewd negotiator insincerely compliments the strength of an adversary he recognizes to be weak. The Kiev Post explained, "Russian diplomacy is largely a zero-sum game and relies on projecting hard power to force gains." That is, Russia plays hardball and plays for keeps. In his speech to the U.N., Obama tossed about platitudes: "the yearning for peace is universal" and "the most powerful weapon in our arsenal is the hope of human beings." But "yearning for peace" is not universal — certainly not among governing authorities in places like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea who routinely trample "the hope of human beings" in their own country and in others. "Two great threats facing the survival of the modern liberal West," cautions Lee Harris in The Suicide of Reason, are "exaggerated confidence in the power of reason" and "profound underestimation of the forces of fanaticism." Because most western nations haven't faced a direct threat to their placid existence in more than a generation, we too readily forget that the majority of the world's inhabitants live their entire lives governed not by reason and rule of law but by the law of the jungle and the iron fist of an oppressive government. Reagan understood that regimes that threaten, attack and oppress peaceful neighbors are indeed "evil" and that they can be deterred only by strength and determination. Much of the world criticized him when he stood up to "the evil empire," when he walked away from arms deals that would have weakened us and strengthened our adversaries, and most notably when he exhorted Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." Today we know that Reagan's critics cowered because they lacked his vision. History is replete with leaders like Obama whose sincere desire for peace blinded them to devious designs of others. Seeking peace is laudable, but lasting peace is rarely attained by those who appear desperate for it.
Mark Hillman is a Centennial Institute fellow and Colorado's Republican national committeeman. He formerly served as Colorado senate majority leader and state treasurer. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.