Monday, July 25, 2005

The Real Domestic Threat

One of the biggest lies of the Left is that participation in the Iraq War would make New Zealand a target of terrorism.

Apart from the sheer cowardice of such a statement--that we should sacrifice our values of freedom and democracy just because our opponents resort to terror and tyranny--the analysis is flawed.

Pinko commie peaceniks have no credibility when it comes to issues of war. Those nancy-boys and girls are the first to duck and hide whenever it comes to signing up and putting their own lives on the line, and then they bitch and moan that those who are brave enough to fight for freedom muster the courage to do so.

But that's just an aside. The real issue is that while the Left claim to care about freedom and democracy, they aren't prepared to back up their words with action. The nonsensical idea that Saddam would have succumbed to world pressure--diplomacy--despite never having worked with any other tyrant, anywhere else on earth, does not concern them. As much as they would like to state that they are on the side of liberty, the fact is that unless you are prepared to stand up against terrorism, you are in fact tacitly supporting it.

The stupidest claim to come from liberals is that New Zealand would become a target of terrorism if we sent troops to Iraq. That argument slightly ignores the reality that we have had troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and that terrorists do not distinguish between combat and non-combat troops. Still, we have not been a target.

Cause and effect are difficult concepts for liberals to understand. And there is no evidence that participation in military endeavours against terrorist elements in the Middle East causes domestic terror at home. Yes, Britain has recently been targeted by Muslim terrorists, and yes, it has participated in Iraq. So has the United States been targeted, as has Spain.

But that's not the end of the story. France, one of the major opponents of the War on Terror, has been subjected to terrorist attack. So too has Russia. The conclusion: refusal to participate in actions against Iraqi insurgents does not make a country immune to terrorist attack.

Although the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, India and Saudi Arabia all have markedly different foreign policies towards Iraq, and various levels of domestic public sentiment towards participation or otherwise in the war, they have all been subjected to Islamic threat.

If we look at countries that have favoured military intervention in Iraq--and the list is a long one--the voice against terror is a loud one. Former East European countries, such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the former Yoguslavia, and Romania are particularly supportive of US-led intervention. They have backed up their support with action. Their domestic populations have largely favoured government support. And there's good reason for this.

Countries that previously lived under the tyranny of communism understand how important it is to liberate oppressed peoples. They have suffered under outrageously cynical and self-serving regimes that exploited their people in the name of ideology, and preached to the rest of the world that all was happy and merry in the Communist Bloc. The heirs of the same long-haired hippies who criticised Ronald Reagan for taking a hard-line against Communism in the 1980s never got to hear the true Eastern voice, as it had been silenced for so long. But it is the same voice, in albeit a different accent, that has suffered under Saddam and Islamic fundamentalism, and is seeking the same rights and liberties that socialist-loving Left-wingers take for granted in Western democracies.

Eastern Europeans treasure their new-found freedoms. They treasure them, and are prepared to defend those freedoms for all peoples, because they know the reality of living in terror. They know that mere diplomacy did little to affect their plight under the iron fist of Soviet communism: it was only the threat of force that crushed the Union and allowed them to set their own destiny.

So back to the question. Why is it that countries that have not supported the War on Terror have been targeted, while many countries that have supported the war have been immune from threat? Well, there are two parts to that answer.

Firstly, there is widespread public support for military intervention within those countries. There is no liberal elite jumping up and down trying to convince the populations that they are wrong, when reality dictates otherwise. People in the former Eastern Bloc understand that in order to gain liberty and freedom, there is a cost to be paid. And they are prepared to pay that cost, with force, if necessary. Threat of terrorist repurcussions does not cower them. They are brave, and prepared to stand by their beliefs and motives.

Secondly, the likes of Bulgaria and Romania are still not on the world radar. The reason that France is targeted by terrorists is not because of its world view on terrorism, but because France has a reputed tradition of freedom and liberty. France's other tradition, of cowardly backing down against military threat whenever it has counted, is what makes France a particularly attractive hit. Attacks in Paris make world headlines. They also make Parisians even more frightened of standing up against the threat.

On the other hand, Prague is used to being threatened. Warsaw has been decimated before. The inhabitants of Sofia become stronger when under attack. Apart from the fact that terrorists seek to maximise world exposure of their actions--a hit in Eastern Europe would never get the same effect as it would in the West--such an attack would not change domestic public opinion. If anything, it would harden their resolve.

Terrorists learned the lesson of the September 11 attacks. The Taliban is almost non-existent now, because it chose a soft target in a hard country. The United States whacked back, because Americans are strong and resilient, and have proved time and time again that they will stand up to protect their own interests when it counts, and will take unilateral action even in the face of negative public opinion, when it sees fit, for the greater good. That hard-line attitude by the world's one remaining superpower is resented by many, yet the Left refuse to understand that it is exactly that hard-line attitude by the one superpower that guarantees us the little security that we have in the world today. To the same extent, civilians in Eastern Europe are a soft target, but the people are hard enough to withstand that threat.

So what would be the consequences of New Zealand if it participated in the War against Terror? Well, the reality is that New Zealand would become a target of terrorism. But not as a consequence of its participation--because it is a target already. What makes New Zealand a target for terrorists is our belief in freedom and democracy--but our unwillingness to back that commitment up with action. We are still under a heavy liberal influence, which would buckle at any sign of terrorist threat. Unlike Australia, which participates in the world and pulls its weight, New Zealand's liberal agenda has made us soft and lacking in resilience.

And that's the great tragedy. It isn't New Zealand's actual stance in the world that makes us a terrorist threat, but the cowardice of liberal New Zealanders who, instead of supporting our international actions, constantly seek to undermine them, and give terrorists the belief that we will roll over at the slightest threat.

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