Just Imagine . . .

Trying to believe in the make-believe world of the present age.

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

After listening to a variety of American, Middle Eastern, and European pundits, I wish that their understanding of the way the world works were true — or at least even that they believed it to be true. If so, just imagine the following…

That when all the Israelis vacate the Gaza Strip and, like most of the Arab world elsewhere it is free of Jews, indigenous Palestinian consensual government will at last quickly bring peace and tranquility there to its own delighted native citizenry.

That Arab-Israeli communities near the border are agitating to be annexed by Palestine in order to join their brethren under the aegis of Mr. Arafat’s non-Zionist utopia.

That with the promised two-state solution and a return to the so-called Green Line, a few thousand Jewish émigrés can choose to live in safety in newly autonomous Palestine in the same manner as hundreds of thousands of their Arab counterparts now do in Israel.

That Pakistan, Iran, and Libya, either in fear or out of admiration, bowed to pressure from the EU and the UN to release information about their WMD programs.

That Saudi Arabia is now hunting down al Qaedists due to belated sympathy and concern about 9/11.

That Syria and Iran believe that the United States is in a “quagmire” in Iraq, and that because of such failure there they are now more bold and aggressive in their relationships with America.

That in accordance with the angry themes of the Arab state-run media, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia will shortly announce that they can no longer allow their citizens to visit such a satanic place as the United States.

That had Mr. Carter been allowed to employ his patented Nobel-Prize winning Korean model of curbing nuclear proliferation with Muammar Khaddafi, Libya would now be free of nukes.

That Democratic senators in anguish over zealous scrutiny of immigrants from the Middle East will soon repeal their near-unanimous prior support for the Patriot Act and demand a return to a more enlightened pre-9/11 visa policy.

That there will be a special inquiry of Senate and House members who voted for regime change in Iraq on the basis of their flawed analyses of intelligence information — as well as post-facto investigations of Operation Desert Fox in December 1999 and other previous preemptory strikes against perceived terrorist threats.

That South Korea will further promote its Sunshine Policy by asking the rest of the American forces on the DMZ to relocate to Pusan or return home.

That in exasperation with American unilateralism and in accordance with the “German Way” Mr. Schroeder will ask the United States to transfer its remaining troops to Eastern Europe.

That smaller European countries like Holland, Denmark, Spain, Poland, and others are bewildered by Mr. Rumsfeld’s crude suggestion of an “Old Europe” — and his equally inappropriate hint of a bullying Paris-Berlin Axis that purportedly tries to stifle expression and independence in Europe.

That Greece and Turkey, after the fiasco in Iraq, find a “unilateral” United States “intrusive” and “disruptive” to their efforts to adjudicate problems in the Aegean and on Cyprus — and thus jointly ask for a withdrawal of American troops from their shores.

That in humanitarian concern over 50,000 needless civilian deaths last year from heat and earthquake, France will ask the United States for cooperation in installing air conditioners in Paris and Iran will request building inspectors and American architects for advice on seismic retrofitting.

That the Europeans will invest $100 billion or so in an EU rapid-reaction strike force to provide the United Nations at last with some real muscle that can be used in a more sober and judicious fashion under the proper aegis of Security Council wisdom.

That after Iraq we can now agree that the careful, multilateral, and decade-long approach toward Mr. Milosevic is the lawful and most humane way to deal with a purported mass-murderer.

That the United Nations has emerged stronger and won respect for its institutions as a resolute and disinterested adjudicator of the world’s problems.

That because Mr. Kerry voted against the 1991 war, he opposed sending troops under U.N. auspices to the Middle East; that because he voted for the 2003 deployment, he advocated sending American troops without the U.N. to the Middle East; and that because he later voted in 2003 to deny funds to troops in the field, he opposed U.S. deployment unless it was under the auspices of the U.N.

That the Democrats will end the mistaken Iraqi commitment, bring home the troops, turn Iraq over to the U.N., craft a new burden-sharing agreement with our a host of willing allies in Afghanistan, and pledge that the United States renounces any sort of further preemption

That we will reopen investigations into why we removed Mr. Noriega, Mr. Milosevic, the Taliban, and other late fascists who, in fact, may have not really posed an “imminent” threat to the safety of the people of the United States.

That bin Laden will shortly announce an end to his war against America just as the last American soldier in Saudi Arabia — his oft-stated prime grievance against the United States — leaves the kingdom.

That when bin Laden is captured, critics of the administration will praise American efforts to have taken out both the Taliban and the Baathists, along with the capture of both their odious leaders.

That the suicide bombing of the last three years in the United States, Russia, Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Bali may be attributable to a variety of unconnected Christian, Jewish, and Hindu religious extremists — and is a reaction to understandable provocation.

That a long-term, scholarly study of the social and economic background of the Hamas suicide bombers, the Hezbollah killers, the al Qaeda leadership, and the suicide-murderers of September 11 will soon reveal a consistent, predictable, and unfortunate pattern of impoverishment, lack of education, and absence of contact with or knowledge of the West.

That the newly created intelligence commission finds that Mr. Bush is too gullible and ignores inferences from raw intelligence and thus is culpable for September 11 — and that Mr. Bush is too hair-triggered and over interprets inferences from raw intelligence and thus is culpable for invading Iraq.

From what I read and hear, I would expect that all these propositions might be credible. But if these logical inferences do not come to pass, then there is something else going on that suggests what many people are writing and saying is not quite plausible — or even what they themselves privately believe to be true.

* * *

Why is this? For all the most recent invective about his lack of spontaneous televised eloquence, almost every necessary and dangerous initiative Mr. Bush has undertaken since 9/11 — protect American shores, destroy the Taliban, scatter al Qaeda, take out Saddam Hussein, promote democracy in the Middle East, put rogue regimes with weapons of mass destruction on notice — has worked or is in the process of coming to fruition.

In response to that success often we have met dissimulation, pretext, and rhetoric of those who have much to lose and very little to gain by seeing the old way of business — status quo alliances, deductive anti-Americanism, corrupt Middle East policies, and bankrupt ideologies such as moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, and multiculturalism — go by the wayside.

And so we get fantasy in place of reality.

©2004 Victor Davis Hanson

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