A mere week after the mid-term elections, I can already tell that it’s going to be a long two years.
Democrats have hastily begun talks of redistributive economic planning. Free single-provider health insurance for all (read: higher taxes) and increased minimum wage (read: higher unemployment) are just two examples of their populist directives.
Look at the bright side – these measures are pretty tame compared to some of the inane welfarisms proposed in the past. This summer, for example, Sen. Hilary Clinton and Rep. Rosa de Lauro proposed a bill that would provide subsidies to low-income parents so they could stay at home with their infants. Reasonable people would see this measure as economic incentive for couples to have children they can’t afford – a very rotten “carrot,” if you will. Then again, nobody ever said the Democrats were reasonable in the first place.
But perhaps most troubling is that the Democratic victory has effectively emasculated Bush’s rather effective policy toward terrorism. There is indeed cause for concern when Abu Hamza, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, rejoices that the Democrats enjoyed significant victories.
The answer to the question of why terrorists fancy the Democrats’ foreign policy is a lot simpler than it seems. The Democrats, after overwhelmingly supporting the Iraq war when it began, now point fingers at Bush and the Republicans for getting the country into the war because it isn’t going as well as planned. This is because Democrats treat foreign policy rather shortsightedly – they want to enact a timetable for withdrawal because the war is exceedingly unpopular, not because withdrawal is actually in the nation’s self-interest.
Remember in September when the Democrats assailed Bush for the war and brandished a National Intelligence Estimate that allegedly linked the war to an increase in jihad?
The funny thing is that neither Democratic leadership nor the mainstream media cared to mention the entirety of the report’s declassified key judgments released two days after the original New York Times report, which clearly stated that success in Iraq could deter jihadists elsewhere. “Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight,” the report states.
So there you have it: Terrorists like the Democrats because the Democrats do not want success in Iraq – success that may very well inhibit the spread of terror.
Bush’s compromise on the Iraq issue in response to the Democratic victory, symbolized by his calls for a “fresh perspective” on Iraq, thus don’t make a whole lot of sense.
The situation in Afghanistan is perhaps proof enough that hasty withdrawal proves disastrous to fledgling democratic governments. After being turned over to NATO forces, the insurgency and Taliban in what was thought to be a stable country has been significantly revived. This is an outrage, considering the Taliban harbored Osama bin Laden with open arms.
If the United States wishes to assure that the Taliban or similarly thuggish regimes do not regain power in Afghanistan, sponsor terrorism and hence compromise national security, it must remain relentlessly committed to the campaign that crushed the Taliban in the first place. The United States must secure recently liberated regions such as Afghanistan and Iraq until they are fully stable – not until political consultancy deems it appropriate to do so.
And then there’s Iran. Again, in the spirit of compromise, the Bush administration is now considering talks with Iran and Syria about the future of Iraq. Although Bush did mention isolating Iran, isolation isn’t a guaranteed policy. Instead, it’s just an ultimatum to persuade Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime to abandon uranium enrichment.
Yet diplomacy with Iran is unacceptable considering its rather undiplomatic track record. When I last checked, this was the same Iran that was thought to have produced improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used by Iraqi insurgents to kill and maim American soldiers; the same Iran that was providing monetary aid to Hezbollah; and the same Iran that, oh yeah, is in a standoff with the world over its nuclear weapons. Oh wait, sorry – its “civilian nuclear energy program.”
It requires no stretch of the imagination to recognize that Iran is not an ally of the United States even if it occasionally plays nice. Ahmadinejad is a theocratic reactionary suspected to have participated in the embassy takeover of ’79. Ahmadinejad, further, makes no bones about revealing his rabid hatred of Israel and the West. As such, it is either naively optimistic or flat-out thickheaded to glibly trust that Iran will stabilize Iraq when it actively advocates the destruction of sovereign nations.
In total, the brouhaha about redeployment and renewed diplomacy is nothing more than a Democratic push for the appeasement of terrorists and constituents alike. Rather than accept their conciliatory approach, the Republicans should stick to their “hawkish” guns. Sure, they already lost the midterm elections, but there’s little use in abandoning decent foreign policy without at least putting up a good fight.
Victoria Bekiempis is a sophomore majoring in history and French.