Sunday, September 25, 2005

Secretary of Flower Power?

Big government may be bad, but naive government is far worse. On Thursday, Senator Mark Dayton (D - MN) introduced legislation to institute a Department of Peace and Nonviolence. While the House version of this bill has the department subordinate to Homeland Security, Dayton's Folly goes so far as to make this a cabinet level position.

In Dayton's own words, these are the responsibilities of the department:

•hold peace as an organizing principle, coordinating service to every level of American society; •endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights; •strengthen nonmilitary means of peacemaking; •promote the development of human potential; •work to create peace, prevent violence, divert from armed conflict, use field-tested programs, and develop new structures and nonviolent dispute resolution; •take a proactive, strategic approach in the development of policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution of conflict, and structured mediation of conflict; •address matters both domestic and international in scope; and •encourage the development of initiatives from local communities, religious groups, and nongovernmental organizations.

I believe he left out "distribute flowers in airports." Much of what he cites in this job description is already the purview of the US Department of State, the primary mission of which is diplomacy. What Dayton would like to do is create yet another department with the same mission and set them at odds with each other.

What Senator Dayton fails to recognize - or chooses to ignore - is that it takes more than one side to achieve a peaceful resolution in any conflict. Peace in many parts of the world would not be possible were it not for the threat of US military intervention. Peaceful negotiations are all well and good, but that assumes both sides truly want to find a peaceful solution. Short of that, the side with the greatest deterrent will prevail.

We've tried the flower power approach in the past. We endured four years of Jimmy Carter walking on egg shells, hoping he didn't upset our enemies. The net result was almost 70 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days, and being released only upon the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. We endured eight years of Bill Clinton's lack of foreign oversight, resulting in a nuclear equipped North Korea, a nuclear equipped India and Pakistan, a terrorist organization so brazen after 41 unanswered attacks that they dared strike the US mainland.

Sorry, Senator, but if you truly want peace, you must first be prepared to fight. Until you convince your enemy that you are willing to fight to win, there is no hope of finding a peaceful solution to conflict. Flower Power may have been a great slogan on college campuses in 1969, but it has no place in the US Senate. In the meantime, I suggest you read up on the Department of State. I think you'll find that they already encompass your idealistic views and more. Just remember that when all is said and done, it is the overwhelming threat of US military action that truly brings about peace, not the meaningless words of diplomats.



Alan Fraser said...

I may have missed it but you didn't seem to blame Clinton for the West Nile virus. Was it there?

The total lack of accountability for the Bush administration in anything at all makes this piece rather less than credible.

Kannafoot said...

There are already enough people on the left trying to blame Bush for everything from global warming to the flat tire they got on their way to work. When it comes to foreign policy, I do not hold Bush at fault. Rather, 30 years of lackluster inaction have put us where we are today. It's plain fact that Carter was rendered impotent when 70 Americans were held for 444 days; an act of war that demanded a harsh US response and got none. Likewise, Clinton stood idly by as US interests were struck by terrorists 41 times between 1996 and 2000. The longer you let an enemy think they can hurt you, the more they begin to believe it themselves. Bush has taken action both in response to terror attacks and as a preventive measure to take the fight to our enemies. While you may not agree with those actions - and a growing number of people do not - they are certainly better than the inaction that got us here.