By Dick Morris
February 19, 2003
Unlike so many issues in public policy, this one will be determined shortly one way or another. One may have to wait years before we can determine if a legislative course succeeds or fails. Usually, by the time the verdict is in, the voters have shifted their attention far away.
But Iraq either will be found to have the chemical and biological weapons we fear it has and the incipient nuclear capacity or these nightmares will prove to have been paranoid. The fact that the denouement will take place in a few weeks, while the whole world is watching, makes this outcome a seminal one for our politics and the new world order.
My money's on Bush. He wouldn't be pushing us toward this war unless he felt he had the goods on Saddam.
If Bush is right:
The left in the United States
will be discredited for many decades to come. In the opposite
of the Vietnam syndrome, where the left proved to be correct
- it didn't make a bit of difference in the cold war whether
we won or lost in Vietnam - it will now be proven massively,
totally wrong. With each weapons lab and bomb factory our troops
find, the credibility of the entire left wing of the Democratic
Party will go down the drain, not to rise
Politically, in the United States, Iraq will become a term like "Munich" to debunk the appeasers. Like "Vietnam" it will be a place that becomes a lesson. It will stand as the prime example of how reflexive opposition to violence undermines the long term cause of world peace. Those who are now marching for peace are on their last march. Soon, the reality of the world around them will force its way into their consciousness and the shame of the inaction they urged will keep them indoors in the future when the peace trumpet summons them again.
The United Nations Security Council will go the way of the General Assembly. The takeover of the larger body by a myriad of tiny nations with no power and less credibility doomed it to the role of a by-stander when U.N. action was called for. Now, the subservience of the U.N. Security Council to the veto and voice of nations like France will make it irrelevant as well, just as the Soviet vetoed marginalized it during the Cold War.
Nor will NATO survive the ravaging of the French and German intransigence. No longer will the alliance be the forum for joint decision making about Western military action.
What will be?
The lesson of the Iraq War will be that the world is uni-polar and that anyone who wants a voice needs to be heard in the Oval room at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Brussels won't do and the U.N. headquarters will be marginalized. The only forum in which to speak will be in the bowels of American foreign policy decision making.
Britain understands the new reality. By flying to Texas and Washington, Tony Blair shows that he realizes that it is only by injecting himself into the US decision making context that he can influence the outcome of events. It will be a very long time before France or Germany recover their voices after we find the weapons caches in Iraq.
Bush's poll ratings going into
the war are slipping. His job approval appears to have dipped
below 60%, less than Clinton had during his entire second term.
But they will be very high coming out of Iraq. And that's what