August 10, 2002


Yes, we need a 'regime change' in this rogue state... : Its government has no majority. It refuses arms monitoring. Its opponents are locked up without trial (Adrian Hamilton, 09 August 2002, Independent uk)
The idea that a pre-emptive strike could save the world a heap of trouble isn't entirely idle. Think, if Genghis Khan could have been taken out when he was still the leader of just a band and not the whole Mongol race, Europe and Asia would have been saved several million dead and the destruction of much of its civilisation. Remove Napoleon from the scene on his return from his ill-fated Egyptian foray and Europe would have been a different place.

The last century doesn't provide such good examples, of course. To have "changed regime" in Berlin in the early Thirties would have meant overturning a democratically elected leader in Hitler. As for the efforts by the allies to stop the course of the Russian revolution with troops after 1918, the results were disastrous despite having well-armed local allies.

Nonetheless George Bush has done something in the last week to set out the parameters to pre-emptive action. "We owe it," he put it in Maine last weekend, "to the future of civilisation not to allow the world's worst leaders to develop and deploy and therefore blackmail free countries with the world's worst weapons." And he went on to define such enemies of the people as regimes intent on building up weapons of mass destruction, oblivious of international law and UN resolutions, governments who imprisoned their opponents without trial and who could not claim democratic legitimacy at home.

Significantly, nowhere in the series of speeches he made this week did Mr Bush actually name these rogue regimes. But it is pretty clear reading the descriptions whom he must have meant. The government which is spending by far the most on weapons of mass destruction, and is now planning to raise its budget by an increase greater than the total defence spending of Europe, is, of course, based in Washington.

In the words of a great geopolitical thinker, or at least a greater than any Europe has to offer these days : "Let's get it on." It ought to put a significant dent in European delusions that they still matter in world affairs that the very concept of them attacking us is so absurd that it can't be taken seriously. One is tempted to call this a case of the mouse roaring, except that mouse won. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 10, 2002 8:52 AM
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