Iraq as a Deterrent


I’ve had a few people either contact me here, via e-mail or in person who have tried to use the argument that the war with Iraq is a deterrent against others who would move to attack us. The most often noted example of this is Libya.

I don’t buy this argument for a number of reasons but a couple stand out. First, of all, the concept that Libya moved to normalize relations with us because they feared being next on our list is preposterous. Both sides had talked of normalizing relations for a long time before the Iraq war. It also does no good for fans of the administration to suggest that the war was the deciding factor for Libya. Why? Because if this is even remotely true it also means that the administration no longer gives a damn about its claim of promoting democracies in the area. Libya is anything but a democracy and yet we gladly accept them back into our good graces? The only reason we’re talking to them at all is oil and money. Same story as usual.

The second reason I don’t buy the deterrent argument is that it’s been clear from the start that it’s been anything but a deterrent. Instead it’s been nothing more than a huge irritant to the rest of the world. Where North Korea and Iran were once perfectly comfortable in their positions now what they see is an unpredictable, chaotic, common-sense-lacking administration at the top of our government. That’s done nothing but cause them to ramp up their offensive and defensive capabilities and with it comes the inevitable stress of such moves for all involved.

There’s a fine line between being viewed an easy target and that of a crazy tyrant. There was a nice period there where we straddled the line between them quite well. Now we’re very much perceived to be on the the less stable side of that line.

Now the situation is exacerbated even more with the conflict in Israel. Everyone around the world is worried about what path we’re going to take and that makes people we don’t trust very nervous. Is a nervous North Korea what we’re really after here? Nervous people often make the wrong choices folks. The assumption that nervous people just back down just isn’t accurate.

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  1. “Nervous people often make the wrong choices folks. The assumption that nervous people just back down just isn’t accurate.”

    Neither is the assumption that returning to the Monroe Doctrine (as your comments seem to advocate) would prevent all our foreign policy problems. It would only delay their arrival at our doorstep.

  2. I understand the concern. However, exactly how much help did we get from other countries with the current Iraq situation? How much help did we get from these countries in Vietnam? How much help did we get in Korea?

    These other countries look at each case individually and decide if the cause of the action is a true threat to their countries.

    Lastly, radical muslims (along with radical everything else) have been around forever. It’s funny how we managed to keep it off our doorstep with this approach for most of our existence and yet now the belief is that the only way to keep it away is to attack.

    As I’ve said many times. History shows us that this approach hasn’t worked out too well for Israel. It didn’t work for England in many cases and it’s not going to work for us either.

  3. That’s a cop-out. This isn’t 20 something years ago. Today’s world is very different. No one is blameless in contributing to events that brought us to the state of things as they are today. Yester-years approach is no longer a viable solution. Sorry but the genie’s out of the bottle, and he’s a mean blue-jin that must be dealt with.

  4. Talk about a cop-out. Today’s world is different? Remember the saying, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeated it.”

    Historical valuation is one of the very best tools we have in life.

    Terrorism has been on a pretty steady path for most of our existence. It certainly was the same factor for England and Israel 25 years ago and yet, somehow today, you claim our experience with it is somehow special and new.

    The tools are a bit different but the animal is still the same. Thinking we’re dealing with something special comes off to me as arrogance or worse.

  5. It’s arrogant or worse to assume things don’t change. Learn from history of course. People fail to realize the difference the internet and cell phone technology have made in the past two decades. The world has gotten smaller. I love technology but sometimes it’s our worst enemy.

    Television used to be our main method of gathering information about our neighbors on the other side of the world. But things are different today. You may learn from history and not repeat the same mistakes but that doesn’t stop you from making new ones.

    I appreciate greatly what President Reagan did for this country, but if he were President today I’m convinced he would be handling our foreign policy issues in much the same way they’re being handled today.

  6. Gary, I served in the military under Reagan. One thing I very much respected with Reagan and Casper Weinberger was that you always felt like they got it with respect to the Armed Forces.

    The only place Reagan ever sent us was into Grenada and the idea was to get in and get out. He sent a whopping 1,200 soldiers into Grenada and we had that situation cleared up in a flash. He did not send us into Libya, which was talked about continually back then.

    I trusted Reagan explicitly to use the US Armed Forces with extreme caution. I wouldn’t trust Bush to tie my shoes without looking both ways for how to reward his friends as part of the process.

  7. Hahahaha. That’s a great one! Boy I do miss that guy. I had my issues with Reagan. He cut taxes and then raised the hell out of them. I still feel he knew more about Iran/Contra than we’ll know in our lifetimes but such is the way of things. I also feel he gets FAR too much credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union (frankly the Soviet Union should get most of the ‘credit’ for their collapse) and I most certainly don’t feel he should be spoken about at this point for inclusion on our currency. Heck it’ll take me another few decades before I can forget about the James Watt fiasco.

    All that aside, the guy knew how to raise the spirits of an entire country that was desperately in need of it. We need someone like him now more than ever.

    He’d be, I suspect, extremely disheartened by the fracturing of the populace.

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