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February 15, 1991 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-02-15

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Winning, Losing

Continued from Page 7

democracies and decentraliz-
ed economies as people show-
ed an overwhelming desire to
live in freedom.
A democracy's highest
priority is to meet the inter-
nal challenge of making a
better life for its citizens.
There is no need to distract
the population or deflect
resentment outwardly by
military adventure. There-
fore, democracies are reliable
peace partners. If the collec-
tive will of the world can
punish and/or deter would-be
agressors, peace can become
the international norm. As il-
legitimate force is interdicted,
more and more democracies
will emerge.
The new structure can come
into being only if dictators
understand that their use of
force will be overridden, by
force if necessary. This was
Saddam Hussein's miscalcu-
lation. He assumed that
democracies treasure life so
much and America's will was
so weak that it would yield
rather than go to war.
President Bush understood
the tragic truth of history.
Without steadfast will to stop
aggression — even at the cost
of lives now — there will be
many more wars and many
more lives lost later.
Unless Iraq is now stripped
of its extraordinary military
resources and its chemical
and nuclear machinery
dismantled, it will emerge
from this war as a greater
threat. Yet the European and
Arab nations that sought to
appease Hussein to the very
end now urge a settlement
that stops with the evacua-
tion of Kuwait.
Any agreement that allows
Hussein to escape with most
of his military might (and
possibly.with an imposed set-
tlement on Israel as well)
could turn his defeat in the
Gulf war into a triumph.
To avoid this danger, Presi-
dent Bush must correct a cen-
tral weakness of American
policy: the impression that he
fears to make democracy and
peace the decisive criteria of
Bush's embrace of Hafez
Assad, with his terrorism
unrenounced, even as he
ostentatiously avoided
telephoning Yitzhak Shamir;
the concealment of the
American soldiers (and all
Christian and Jewish sym-
bols) lest Saudi Arabians be
offended; America's verbal
protest, • without taking
substantive action as the
Soviet Union moved to crush
Baltic independence — all
give the impression that he so
much needs allied approval
that he will do anything or
swallow any national policy,

however wrong, to keep the
allies on board.
Nowhere is this inner con-
flict of American policy more
visible than in its treatment
of Israel during the past six
months. Arab hostility to
Israel was a given and not to
be challenged — as if our
Arab allies were doing us a
favor. Instead of affirming
that support for democracy is
the bedrock of our policy and
stipulating that our armies
must be able to call upon the
resources of our militarily
strongest ally, America press-
ed a low profile on Israel.
At times, America came
close to treating Israel like a
But which allies were at
risk of jumping ship? Kuwait
and Saudi Arabia, which can
only be saved by American ar-
mies? Egypt and Turkey,
which are at peace with Israel
and affirm its right to
Only Syria and those
Palestinians and Jordanians
driven by blind hatred for
Israel would be offended. In
any event, Syria has made
clear that its limited con-
tingents will not fight in any
strategically useful way.
From long historical ex-
perience, we Jews have learn-
ed that treatment of the Jews
is a litmus test of nations'
health. It is equally a highly
accurate early warning of
soundness or sickness in
The weakness which this
shabby treatment of Israel
revealed, combined with the
desperate, fawning European
attempts at appeasement,
may well have convinced Sad-
dam Hussein that he would
get his way.
The move to supply Israel
with Patriot missiles must be
more than an attempt to en-
courage it not to retaliate.
Sending American troops in
to man the missiles carries
the overtone of open embrace
of Israel as an ally and of an
end to fear of the Arab
Arabs and Russians, even
the Europeans, will deeply
respect the dignity and in-
tegrity of this gesture,
especially if it is followed up
by further acts of open
This gesture should become
an important turning point
toward a firmer American
policy. American military
might is so great that it can
assuredly win any war with
Combining power with a
new integrity and moral
leadership can assure an
American policy strong
enough to win the peace
worldwide. ❑

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