Quarterly: What Victory Means

Quarterly: What Victory Means

Mini Teaser: America's opportunities after September 11 exceed its risks; here is a guide to seizing them.

by Author(s): Conrad Black

THE CONGRESS and people of the United States have given President Bush an unambiguous mandate both to punish the authors of the crimes of September 11 and to root out and destroy organized terrorism throughout the world. While the risk involved in fulfilling that mandate is great, the opportunity thus created is even greater. Ever since 1941, when Franklin D. Roosevelt pledged that America would avoid appeasement (in January), and when he promised that "this form of treachery will never again endanger us" (after Pearl Harbor), no country has dared to attack the United States overtly. Many applaud, more or less audibly, when the United States suffers any setback, but no state chooses to confront the United States directly. Indeed, all now unctuously proclaim their innocence of the events of September 11.

This constitutes immense progress since 1941. Japan and Germany were powerful and fearless nations, even though criminally misgoverned. The great efforts of a Grand Alliance were required to subdue them. The current terrorist enemy is typified by a platitudinous ne'er-do-well scion of a wealthy Saudi family, supported by the world's most contemptible regimes, promoting the massacre of innocents from an Afghan cave. These enemies are not nations, possessed of the sinews of war and commanding the adherence of millions of dedicated citizens. They present the combination, rarely encountered heretofore, of evil, education and fanaticism. Yet they are neither brave nor numerous. There cannot be an unlimited number of voluntary and relatively sophisticated suicide candidates. Security measures can close off most of the opportunities for such programmed robots to do real damage to the West, and these groups cannot function without the assistance of states. Elusive though they are, they command no real loyalty and, ultimately, the universal aversion to confrontation with the United States makes them very vulnerable.

But they have added to a pattern of mostly unrequited damage done to the United States. Vietnam, Iran-Contra, Beirut, Saddam Hussein's survival of the Gulf War, Somalia, the bombing of the Saudi barracks, East African embassies, and the U.S.S. Cole, and Kosovo's incitement of the irresponsible notion of a cause worth killing but not dying for--all of this confirmed in their views those who want to believe that the United States is a paper tiger. An officially unsponsored terrorist attack is the first step back toward renewed assaults on the scale, and with the lack of anonymity, of Pearl Harbor.

Seen in that light, the present campaign is in large part a contest to reestablish the equilibrium that existed in the world from 1945 to 1965, when the world's greatest power--as Roosevelt promised in 1941--was too formidable and dangerous an adversary to be attacked, even indirectly by apparently anonymous and stateless fanatics.

The United States must never be trigger-happy and must never again enter a war without full constitutional consideration, as it did in Vietnam. Even with reasonable legalities observed and a clear consensus obtained, it should never commit its forces, much less conscript forces, unless the legitimate national interest justifies it. The surest way to avoid suffering the provocations that could lead to war, as has been recognized since Roman times, lies in seizing this opportunity to rebuild the full power and credibility of American deterrence. The world must learn again that the United States, when severely antagonized, is to be feared; that it grinds its mortal enemies to powder as it did sixty years ago; that the widespread view in extreme Islamic circles that it is cowardly, decadent, and easily intimidated by the thought of casualties is false. America's real and illusory friends should not be allowed to impose any geographic or other limits on America's war on terrorism. It is good tactics for the Unite d States to concentrate on one country at a time, but the elimination of state-sponsored terrorism will probably require treatment of several countries in terms no gentler than what at time of writing is being meted out in Afghanistan.

It must be said in this regard that the war did not start off well. It appeared to replicate the less hopeful features of Desert Storm and Kosovo. There was apparently mindless coalition-building, failure to take out the head of the Taliban in the early days when the opportunity presented itself; seeming reluctance to use substantial ground forces, and ambiguity over what to do after Afghanistan once something worthwhile is achieved there. The unwaveringly determined stance of the President and some of his colleagues, and the evident determination of public and congressional opinion, were all that sustained optimism three weeks after the bombing began that we were not in for half-measures of a familiar pattern.

This is not only a war against terrorism, however. It is also a war against the spurious moral relativism that demands proof equal to what a refined domestic criminal justice system would require before taking any military action. Such relativism equates the modest collateral damage that U.S. attackers try hard to avoid with seizing aircraft and smashing them with no warning into buildings full of innocent civilians. This sort of casuistry must be exposed as the cowardice, malice, and hypocrisy that it is. These sentiments are not just audible in the Arab media. They are almost unavoidable on the BBC, in the Guardian and other leftist and anti-American British newspapers, and are widespread in the continental European media. This is a Manichaean contest between imperfect good and unambiguous evil and, fortunately, the good possess overwhelming strength and the wicked are relatively weak. President Bush's assertion of September 11 that no distinction would be made between terrorists and the states that assist them must be enforced. All legitimately suspect states must either undergo the grace of spontaneous or assisted, but permanently verified, conversion, or receive unsustainable punishment for their complicity until their support for terrorism durably ceases.

In pursuit of such a goal, the United States should not expend the energy of a single serious individual in analyzing whether the world likes it or not. Throughout the world there is a division between the nativists and the broadly Western but generally American emulators. The United States must be officially neutral in any such kulturkampf But as it adheres to its best traditions, it should be conscious of pleasing its admirers and giving pause to its adversaries in other countries.

The whole world is obsessed with America's panache, economic might, and popular culture, and it takes note of its military power and high culture. Envy being the energetic force that it is, much of the world outside the United States, abetted by the carriers of the great liberal death wish within, want America to behave, in Richard Nixon's phrase, like "a pitiful helpless giant." If it does, the influence of lesser states and peoples is magnified, and the guilt and shame of the minority of Americans who are in fact anti-American is appeased. These forces, for the good of all civilized people, must not be appeased. They must be severely disabused.

The War for Islam

THE fundamental problem with the Arab world is that many Arabs believe that their people have been in retreat since the battle of Tours in 732, which led to their expulsion from France. Some believe that success can only be recovered by reverting to the militancy of early Islam, minus early and contemporary moderate Islam's respect for other "peoples of the book." What has now been unleashed is not a war against Islam; it is a war for Islam, for the salvation of a humane and tolerant civilization. Both the secular extremists such as Saddam Hussein, and the clerical militants who have usurped secular authority, as in Iran, must be humbled.

The comparatively brave moderate Muslims, especially in Arab countries, must be respectfully and generously helped. And the weak "allies", such as the Saudis, who will not have any offensive action launched by the Americans from their territory, and the Egyptians, who, despite receiving billions of American dollars in assistance every year, endlessly revile the United States in their state-controlled media, must be submitted to President Bush's litmus test: they are "for us or against us."

Those regimes owe their survival to the United States. If they are unable to command the adherence of their own countrymen from the distractions of the extremists, they will fall eventually with or without American support. And fall they might. That is why the task of promoting progressive government, power-sharing, and responsible behavior in the Arab world will be easier the more crushing is the American victory over those extremists. At the same time, various forms of the American assistance to which these countries have become so accustomed that they imagine it to be unconditional will be indispensable as well.

The United States has need of local intelligence and proximate staging areas. Beyond that, it has in this conflict no military need of allies at all, and the unseemly and indiscriminate pursuit of coalition building seemed at the beginning to become an end in itself. The administration wisely declined most offers of contributions of manpower, presumably to avoid a Kosovo fiasco, where in exchange for a few technicians or quartermasters or support troops a veto on the conduct of the war was extracted.

The United States, as its President made clear on October 7, is grateful for the support of its friends, but it asks no one to fight its battles for it. The Secretary of State should not have been proudly reporting to the press on September 12 that he had been speaking to "Chairman Arafat" and the rabidly anti-American Egyptian foreign minister. The British foreign secretary's demeaning visit to Tehran was in the same category. With such a coalition of potential supporters, including some of the world's most accomplished supporters of terrorism, declared enemies are almost superfluous.

Arafat could join a genuine coalition, even after the murder of the Israeli tourism minister, if he moved decisively toward a permanent resolution that deals with the fundamental problem in the Arab-Israeli dispute, which is how to share the land between two legitimate claimants to it. Britain, in the darkest moments of World War I, incited ambitions to the same territory at the same time in both the Jews and the Palestinians. Contrary to some Arab claims, it did not sell the same real estate simultaneously to two different buyers, but it did encourage competing bids. As President Bush has acknowledged, two states must exist in space where there is barely room for one.

But that cannot happen until the Palestinians stop pretending that the Jews are not an indigenous people, and that the Palestinians are the protagonists in an epic poem that will end with the departure of the Jews in the footsteps of the Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Turks and British before them, with a small number of Jews perhaps permitted to remain as a timorous minority. The Palestinians must accept the legitimacy of the concept of a Jewish state, as the majority of Israelis (conditional on it being reciprocal) have accepted the concept of a Palestinian state.

A line approximately twenty miles from the Mediterranean must be drawn as the boundary of the West Bank, as Israel cannot go back to being nine miles wide, as it was prior to the 1967 war--a war initiated by the Arabs and won by Israel. The Israeli settlements beyond that line and in Gaza should be surrendered in exchange for Palestinian renunciation of a practically unlimited right of return. The miserable wretches that the Arab powers have kept festering in refugee camps for over fifty years should then begin moving at once into what will be vacated former Israeli settlements. For more than half a century, the Arab leaders have distracted the Arab masses with the plight of these refugees, rejecting any effort to help them, in most cases in order to draw attention away from their own misgovernment. In a final resolution of the Arab-Israeli dispute, a generous aid package could be arranged to help the refugees, provided it was administered honestly and not simply trousered by Arafat and his cronies--as has b een the case with hundreds of millions of dollars up to now.

But only a decisive American victory in the present conflict with terrorism will create the conditions in which such a resolution could become imminent. There are now too many Arabs who believe the West is in retreat and that the Americans are fundamentally weak, using their weaponry as a substitute for moral purpose and physical courage. Because they want to believe this, they also believe that with escalated terrorist attrition, the United States will abandon any support for Israel. They think the United States can be bullied into a craven plea for an end to terrorist harassment--to the opprobrium of the old international Left, the anti-Semites, the forces of envy, and all the ancient wellsprings of anti-Americanism. All those who believe this, or anything resembling it, must be convincingly disabused for a just peace to become possible.

The theory, widely professed in Europe and the Middle East, that Israel is the core of the present crisis, is nonsense. The terrorists' greatest contempt is reserved for their own weak or Westernized fellow Arabs. Israel was only brought into the matter by the prime suspects in their television propaganda after the fact. Israel presents neither the principal problem, which is general Arab feelings of under-achievement, nor the solution. Israel is not even really a major symptom of those feelings, as the dissatisfaction would remain even if Israel vanished. But it is a sort of last straw to discontented Arabs, and one that they are not yet convinced is permanent and irreversible.

Jewish spokesmen in Israel and abroad, who claim that Israel plays no role in this crisis and that the target of the terrorists, after moderate and Westernized Arabs, is the entire West, overstate the matter slightly. Were Israel not an issue, the terrorists would probably have attacked New York and Washington years later, after completing the purge of reasonable secular Muslim leaders that started nearly fifty years ago but crested with the toppling of the Shah of Iran and the assassination of Egyptian President Sadat. But the basic point, of the solidarity of civilized people--including most Muslims and including Israel--against this form of evil, must be maintained against the quibblers who claim that September 11 was a comprehensible gesture against support for Israel, globalization, abuses of capitalism, and miscellaneous other perceived American shortcomings.

An adequately convincing defeat of the extremist Islamic forces in the present conflict might convince the Arabs of the durability of Israel. Arafat was momentarily frightened by Hamas in October. If the American military performance is purposeful enough, he may grasp that a permanent resolution, crafted along the lines represented by the correlation of forces on the ground in the contested territory, may be his best course.

The corrupt and short-sighted ruling house of Saudi Arabia should learn that it has more to fear from the United States, if that country is provoked, than from those who blew up the American barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996. Syria, a puny and primitive country, should retire from Lebanon, where it has no legitimate right and where it has been sponsoring terrorism on a prodigious scale for more than two decades. It must shut down and send packing the 15 U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations to which it now gives shelter and encouragement. Saddam Hussein must be driven from office or humbled into permanent compliance with UN requirements for the abandonment of his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. And Iran must detect the necessity of ceasing to incite Hizballah to outrages and of promoting terrorist activity generally.

If the United States pursues any goals less ambitious than these, and they are certainly attainable to so powerful a country as galvanized as it was by the atrocities of September 11, its actions will be indecisive. Even a success against the Taliban and the terrorist cave-dwellers of Afghanistan will be only a palliative, as the expulsion of Saddam from Kuwait has proved to be. If the American people and government wish to be spared such outrages in the future, as they rightly do, they will comprehensively defeat and destroy this enemy.

They must leave those states tempted to support terrorism (while retaining plausible deniability for their actions) in no doubt that backsliding will lead to instant and lethal consequences for them. Anything less will not really be a victory and will not ensure that the victims of September 11 died for something worthy of such a great sacrifice. The authors and supporters of the events of September 11 should, in Winston Churchill's words to the U.S. Congress at the end of 1941, be "taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget."

THIS IS NOT only a secular problem, of course. No serious person wants a cultural war between militant Islam on one side and tolerant Muslims, the West, and most of southern and eastern Asia, on the other.

(Such a struggle, though tragic, would lead inexorably to the crushing defeat of the Islamic radicals, but with all the problems coalitions create and too late to help many of the moderate Muslims.) But there is no irreconcilable difference between Islam and other cultures.

Respected Islamic scholars and theologians must debunk the heresy of the suicide murderers for Allah known as the "Sixth Pillar of Islam." The world ought not be subjected to the profanation of Western religious and moral leaders invoking God's mercy on the victims of September 11, while noisy Islamic usurpers sketch a lascivious eternity in paradise for the perpetrators of the monstrous crimes that made those people victims. The United States obviously cannot direct the behavior of Muslim theologians, but dealing severely with those influenced by these heretics would make the case of legitimate Islamic theologians more imperative, as well as more persuasive.

And the Islamic militants who constantly invoke their alleged proximity to divine Providence must be made to understand the meaning of religious pluralism. Other, senior religions have legitimacy also, as does religious skepticism. But the Islamic fanatics who claim to have a monopoly on true spirituality, despite the worldly evidence to the contrary, must be introduced to the dangers of intolerance. The Armed Forces of the United States, and any who join with them in the present crisis, have the privilege of demonstrating that the philosophical underpinnings of Western civilization are not an unrigorous jelly of hypocrisy, vulgarity, and feebleness. Without triumphalism or condescension, America's doubters and enemies must be taught that the intellectual and spiritual strength of the United States is of a piece with its military power, and not a void that sophisticated weaponry is employed to disguise.

The rout of America's Islamic enemies (defined as those who do not oppose the evil of terrorism), the exaltation of America's friends, the distribution of economic assistance generously in support of the deserving, and the encouragement of progressive regimes in countries liberated from current oppressors could reverse the profound Arab problem of perceived failure, masquerading behind misdirected religious fervor. But the discouragement of terrorism and the uplifting of the oppressed and misdirected should ultimately not be confined to Muslim countries. Cuba and North Korea will eventually have to account for their behavior and show cause why they could be trusted, failing which the full repertoire of persuasive and coercive techniques can be applied to them. This should be possible to sell to the United Nations, if not before its implementation, then after the benefits of its imposition are being enjoyed throughout the membership of the General Assembly.

The Great Powers and the Americas

FROM THE present crisis, better relations could and should result between the United States and Russia, China, and India. All three have behaved like great powers, recognizing at once, and without any sanctimony about Israel or the Third World, the intolerable nature and implications of the actions of September 11. The United States has no natural dispute with any of them and should pursue formalized, treaty-based bilateral relations with each. This is the first time that Russia, and especially China, have accepted the deployment of American forces so close to their own borders. Further constructive relations can be built from there, and President Bush's trip to China in October and President Putin's to the United States in November were a good start.

There are indications that the Russians are prepared to redefine the ABM Treaty to permit the necessary testing for development of a missile defense. As the United States rightly pursues a defense against nuclear attack by minor powers, it should do so as cooperatively as possible with the Russians and Chinese. The United States is right not to accept a deliberate policy of vulnerability to nuclear attack, but it should not be beyond the wit of statesmen of legitimate great powers to distinguish that necessity from the strategic balance among themselves.

Russia's relationship with NATO will have to be defined, as will the post-Cold War purposes of NATO. Such definition has been tangled up in questions of relations between Europe and America, and Britain with both Europe and the United States. A successful prosecution of a far-flung war against terrorism will provide direction, as well as impetus, for such an elucidation. NATO should refine its mission statement to include unconventional threats outside the European theater, and seek parallel agreements with Russia to pursue common objectives together.

With India, and with Pakistan, whose leader has also behaved admirably, the United States may be able to assist in a reduction of tensions by assisting both countries to achieve economic progress, and by helping Pakistan establish credentials as, with Indonesia, one of the world's leading Muslim countries.

As long as the well-established arrangements with Taiwan are adhered to and China's trade practices conform to reasonable standards of fairness, there should be no bar to good relations with that country. But it is clear that China will eventually emerge from the bondage of underdevelopment in 25 or 30 years. There need not be any particular issue between the United States and China at that time, but they will be the world's two most important countries. When that happens, the United States should be sure that it is set at the head of a hemisphere with 80 to 90 percent of China's population, enjoying a higher living standard and generally higher economic growth rates than China. The avoidance of a needless rivalry between China and the United States would be assisted if the Americas constituted a well-knit economic growth zone. This would be an economic bloc, not a neo-colonial arrangement. The United States thus has a further compelling motivation to assist the principal countries of Latin America, as it ha s assisted Mexico, in developing sophisticated economic and political systems. Much has already been accomplished in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, and this progress must continue. America's leadership in such circumstances would be benign and uncontestable. Nothing could launch progress toward such a development so well as a decisive American success over all those who tolerated, sympathized with, or even secretly professed to understand the reasons for the enormities of September 11.

Assuming a satisfactory outcome of the terrorist crisis, which now seems relatively remote to Latin Americans, the prestige of the United States will be more transcendent than usual in its own hemisphere, where its pre-eminence has been unquestioned since the times of President Monroe 175 years ago (other than the three weeks of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962). The moral and material capacity for American leadership in the whole world, but especially in its own hemisphere, will be practically unlimited.

President Bush's excellent relationship with Mexican President Vicente Fox, the first really democratically elected Mexican leader, going back to when they were both governors of neighboring states, could be deployed to project the Mexican-American relationship ever farther into economically and politically compatible countries of the Americas. The achievement of this objective may require the brushing aside of Euro-Hispanicist notions of a greater role in pan-American affairs than is realistic, just as France's claim to some tutorial status in Quebec is, to say the least, presumptuous.

Despite the posturings of the faint-voiced detritus of Canadian nationalism, Canada is not really, by most criteria, an independent country. Eighty-five percent of Canada's foreign trade is with the United States, which comes to more than 42 percent of its entire GDP. This is a higher figure than the corresponding one for the state of California. It requires a skilled dialectician to tell a Canadian from an American from a northern state. In having opted, nearly forty years ago, without the issue ever having been put explicitly, for a political system to the Left of the United States, Canada doomed itself to lose an irreplaceable number of its talented people, while gathering ever more closely those of all walks of life dependent on government support. In that time, the Canadian currency has declined from par with the U.S. dollar to 62 cents. The comparative standard of living has descended almost half again as precipitously. The African-American community in the United States, for which Canada, like all fore igners, expressed great solicitude in the intense civil rights times of the 1960s, now enjoys a higher standard of living than Canada. Whether it wishes it explicitly or not, Canada will be steadily more closely integrated with the United States.

It is therefore in the Americas, more than in Europe, that an "ever closer union"--the language of the Maastricht agreement--is likely to emerge. In the present European Union of 15 countries, there are 11 official languages. In the Americas, there are only four such languages, and that is including French, which is spoken by barely one per cent of the total and is nowhere a principal national language. The United States, if led imaginatively, has an incomparable position from which to move the hemisphere forward, now that most of the Latin Americans have so obviously developed the ambition to be advanced countries in all respects. Nothing would, to use present jargon, be more empowering to the United States in leading such a movement than a resounding victory over the forces of chaos.


NOR COULD anything be better designed than a resounding victory over terrorism to cure those Europeans who believe that if they all stand on each others' shoulders they can be a rival, rather than an ally, of the United States. President Bush was right to praise the solidarity of the British, French and Germans on October 7, and many Europeans have undoubtedly grasped that Israel and the United States are not the ultimate target of the terrorists; the whole West is.

The remarks of the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, and some other European countries too, have been splendid. NATO was commendably swift in recognizing September 11 as an Article 5 attack upon all NATO states. But this admirable state of solidarity did not confer the right .to define the terrorist enemy narrowly. Some Europeans may have to learn that alliance with the United States is not a permit to exercise a right of veto over American responses to acts of war directed against it, in exchange for expressions of moral support, token comradeship-in-arms, and counsels of excessive moderation.

The recent and present applicants for membership in NATO know that to be an American ally is a privilege. It may be that the present crisis, if managed well from Washington, will remind some allies who had forgotten it of that fact.

It is forty years since President Truman's Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, said that "Britain has lost an Empire but not found a role." This continues to be an arduous process. It is not for the United States to intervene in it, other than to cease its decades-long practice of trying to propel Britain headlong into Europe. This was an understandable project when Britain could put metal up the backs of the Europeans as cold warriors. But the agreed next step after British adherence to European Economic and Monetary Union would be a common European foreign and security policy.

If any such regime had been in existence since 1980, Britain could not have regained the Falklands, which in turn helped bring democracy to Argentina. The United States could not have used its air bases for the Libyan raid of 1986, and there would not have been 40,000 British servicemen in the Gulf War. Britain has been America's most reliable ally since Suez, as the opening phase of the terrorist crisis demonstrated. Britain should not, and is not, in any hurry to be subsumed into the pre-Thatcher European economic system and to surrender its unique relationship with the United States to a committee of European foreign ministers. The United States should be in no greater hurry to fire the deputy sheriff.

These are complicated questions that cannot be plumbed to their depths here, but the best circumstances for exploring them would be in the aftermath of a decisive victory over the common enemy, in which Britain will undoubtedly play its customary distinguished supporting role. In the meantime, the British should understand that the United States will facilitate the continuation of Britain's ancient role as an Atlanticist state if it wishes to play that role. Britain could be indispensable to maintaining European American solidarity, promoting Eurointegration for those who seek it while retaining a high degree of national sovereignty for countries that wish that, all in the context of strengthening the trans-Atlantic commercial and security relationship.

Britain must not, and surely will not, interpret such a role as Harold Macmillan's self-serving claptrap about "a Greek Empire within the Roman Empire." Much less should it imagine itself in some Mephistophelean design to prevent America from being America through the transmission of pusillanimous advice about how to deal with international terrorists.

Obviously it is up to the individual European countries to integrate or retain their sovereignty as suits each of them. All Europe should understand that U.S. security assurances, and the power of the American economy to tug their relatively sluggish and socialistic systems forward (except for Britain's post-Thatcher economy), are best accessed through an Atlantic Alliance based on closer economic relations with the Americas. Europe must have the incentive to see itself as a powerful ally rather than a reflexive rival of the United States. Here, too, nothing could be more conducive to the acceptance of this perspective than successful American leadership in the battle against terrorism, which the European public recognizes as the common struggle of civilized people--even if elements of the ineffable European Left do not.

Energy and the Environment

IT MAY NOT be readily apparent, but the terrorism crisis we face may even provide a platform for making real progress on the issues of energy and the environment. Though most of its objectives are admirable, Kyoto, as written, is nonsense. The idea that the United States might have to pay $40 billion to (individuals in) the Russian government as a penalty for excessive energy use according to some pollution voucher trading system, while most of the world was being carried on America's back above an economic recession, is one conspicuous example of such nonsense.

The United States should long ago have reduced its dependence on foreign energy sources for strategic as well as environmental reasons. This will now have to be done by a combination of tax-based restraint, development of new domestic petroleum sources, expansion of dependable nuclear power (where there is much to learn from France), and of clean coal. The present level of importation of oil encourages geopolitical delusions as well as corruption in OPEC, and is an unsustainable American self-indulgence.

President Bush was right, if unnecessarily abrupt, in puncturing the moralistic balloon of Kyoto. A re-integration of Iran and Iraq into the world, and the development of a stable and broader-based government in Saudi Arabia, would expand the world's oil supply and render it more stable. So will a more sensible balance between environmentalists and the energy industry in the United States. So will the rapid application of more efficient and environmentally sound production techniques in Russia and other former components of the USSR. Meanwhile, the sooner we dispel the delusion of grandiosity that afflicts the leaders of some oil exporting countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, the better. Richard Nixon spoke of energy self-sufficiency thirty years ago but no one was listening. (Many were too busy trying to depose him as President.) Americans should listen now. No person, and no circumstances, would attract the country's attention more successfully than this President, from the greatest o il-producing state and with a background in the industry, after successfully destroying America's mortal enemies in the chief oil-producing region of the world

THE BURDEN of the foregoing is that there is now a unique opportunity to invigorate those who admire America, reward its friends, convert those who resent it, and destroy or intimidate its enemies. We have a rare chance to demonstrate righteous strength and intelligent generosity. If this opportunity is not seized, another one will only come again after a greater and bloodier outrage.

In crushing the evil that has assaulted America and all civilization, America and its genuine allies can demonstrate that the world is not governed on the basis that cowardice is accepted as wisdom, nor philistinism as Olympian serenity, and the spitefulness of the weak will not be mistaken for moral indignation. This is a high calling.


Conrad (Lord) Black is chairman of Hollinger International, Inc., and serves as chairman of the editorial board of The National Interest.

Essay Types: Essay