America no longer gets away with murder
In an interview last week with the BBC, George Bush laid claim to something very similar to Charles I's Divine Right of Kings. For in answering a question about torture, Bush said that the President of the United States was justified in its use because in defence of God's own country no holds are barred.
In other words, the leader of a nation of such righteousness just had to be allowed to get away with murder. The smile that accompanied this declaration was so insufferable that the interviewer was dumbfounded.
In the old days, when America really did occupy the moral high ground, at least in the West, American presidents could get away with such statements. Indeed, except on the far Left, they struck a chord. If Barack Obama wins the next election, the US might once again begin to recover that degree of trust. But that will not happen quickly, and will not even begin to happen if the Cold War warrior Senator McCain wins. So for the foreseeable future, while the US may plausibly still remain the free world's shield, its strength as the West's conscience is fatally weakened.
Under such circumstances all talk of enforced regime change, let alone with nuclear weapons, has to be out of the question: something certain to do more harm than good. In today's world, therefore, it isn't pacifism which has to be dismissed as absurdly unrealistic - only for the birds - but rather bellicosity. An American-led war would not be so much bad as mad.
Politicians seem to think that to admit this truth would give aid and comfort to Islamist terrorists. Quite the opposite is true. Gandhi should be their mentor, not Churchill. ·
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