Creating An Unsafe World
President Wilson entered World War I to make the world "Safe for democracy." The rise of the Fascists and World War II shattered his dream and the hopes of civilization that cataclysmic upheavals could be forever avoided. The long Cold War created a perilous world where major powers jockeyed for control with the threat of weapons that could destroy every living thing on earth. The fear of communism exerting a domino effect on small poverty-stricken countries led to the quagmire of Vietnam and the embarrassment of the Contra affair.
With the demise of the Soviet Union, the world breathed easier, believing that, at last, human efforts could concentrate on growth, space exploration, and scientific advance, rather than pressuring its greatest minds into developing new means of destruction.
Throughout history, there have always been regional conflicts, ethnic discord, and religious clashes. The super powers of each era have eventually stepped in and calmed the storms through diplomacy, cultural pressure, or an armed presence.
Iraq was undoubtedly a crude, cruel, despotic regime under Saddam, killing its own citizens, brutalizing and maltreating its minorities, and rattling defiant sabers at a world that failed to grant it the dignity and respect it felt it deserved. Its value to the world defined primarily by the black gold pooled beneath its deserts, it was one more unsettled region like Rwanda, Liberia, or Somalia. It demanded the same kind of response: unwavering political efforts to assert human rights, economic pressure from the world community and condemnation from its neighbors.
Instead, the greatest superpower in the world shunned continued diplomacy and invaded. The same dream of creating peace and democracy was verbalized at every opportunity. The lessons of unrestrained aggression and ignoring ethnic/religious diversity, first learned centuries ago in ill-fated crusades, were ignored. When you know you're right, it's hard to concede that everyone else isn't wrong.
What have we created -- a more unstable, troubled, and violence-prone world; an earth that shudders at the armed convulsions racing across its brittle, fragile surface. As new fires flare across the entire Middle East, we hear rumors that an attack on Iran is in the planning stages. From the world's model of a democracy forged out of the wilderness and renowned for its desire for peace, prosperity, and humanity, we have become the hated face of the enemy, an imperialistic throwback to the 19th Century. We have become the all-powerful but hated Rome of the ancient world.
Despite its grandeur, Rome fell. Not to another superpower, but to the ceaseless raids of uncivilized savages who used their own brand of violence to defeat a culture that knew only violence to maintain itself and made no effort towards exploring peaceful options.
Are we doomed to repeat the past?