Manifest Destiny: The Boots that Change the Landscape
If the current mess in the Middle East leads to full scale regional war, Gilad Shalit’s brush with destiny will be remembered as the occurrence that started it all.
And as surreal as it is, it not the first time that the fate of the whole world hinged on the life of one man.
Ninety-two years ago, in fact, the very fate of Europe hung in the balance in what became the eerie prelude to the First World War.
As you know it ended badly. In one moment Archduke Ferdinand takes a bullet and in the next instance 8.5 million people meet their nasty ends on battlefields all over the world.
And like just like the summer of 1914 in Europe, a wider war in this case seems inevitable. And when it happens it will be just another bloody chapter in a struggle that has gone on since Muhammad himself walked the earth.
This is what happens when civilizations collide.
At the epicenter of this latest verse stands Iran, this century’s Germany. Just as Hitler sought the return of a glorious Reich, the madmen in Iran have dreams of a restoration of their own not seen since Cyrus the Great.
Born of violence and maintained by the barrel of a gun, the Iranian government seems wholly bent on regional domination. From this stance they have attacked democracy and free markets at every opportunity. Their fingerprints can be found in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Venezuela and more frighteningly in North Korea.
Naturally, of course, they have also threatened Israel. In fact they have repeatedly made it clear to anyone who would listen that they fully intend to wipe her from the face of the map.
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Understandably, this psychotic saber rattling has made the Israelis nervous. And for good reason-while Arab nations can afford to lose war after war, an Israeli loss would be fatal.
But if the Iranians were only rattling conventional sabers, the world could go on about its business as it has done since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Politicians could posture, diplomats could negotiate, Arabs could protest and terrorists could even occasionally attack innocents. An insane and bloody calculus to be sure, but one that has provided an uneasy balance for decades.
But this is a bizarre balance that has always rested upon a single and accepted premise- that the Israeli Army was unbeatable. This single notion has not only maintained the bloody order but has given this important region a measure of stability. In short, it could be dealt with.
But an emergent, aggressive and nuclear armed Iran destroys this delicate balance. And by acquiring nukes, Iran will deal themselves the ultimate trump card. In an instant the unthinkable will become not just likely…but probable.
And it is here that Iran crosses a dangerous line. Nukes and the very real threat to use them endangers not only democracy and free markets but western civilization itself. This is simply completely unacceptable and has created a crisis that will need to be dealt with.
It is here, of course where the eyes of the free world look rightly to America.
It does so because it knows of the boys of Point du Hoc, the Ia Drang Valley, and countless other battlefields in countries all over the world.
It does so because it knows that tyrants swing from light posts and that dictators cower in bunkers when American boots hit the ground.
And it does so because it knows that American power and American power alone is the only force in the world with the clout to change the landscape-even in the Middle East.
Perhaps Iran didn’t get the memo, but it will shortly. It has to. Democracy, freedom and the free market will be defended at all costs. It is, after all, not only simply what we do but what we provide to the world at large.
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And unlike other hegemons, we require no tribute other than the right to trade freely and the promise that you'll never invade your neighbor.
The markets, of course, recognize these truths but will continue to drift. The current instability in the Middle East can only drive markets lower. After all, markets tend to tremble when they believe that there are no hands on the wheel. And at present there seem to be none
Fear, uncertainty, and doubt make for dreadful bedfellows.
But as it becomes increasingly clear that the U.S. will defend Israel and work to end greater Iranian ambitions, the markets will respond with rallies as it becomes apparent that the free world will indeed be open for business as usual.
When this new reality dawns, free markets everywhere will once again have America to thank. It is the reason my spine tingles at the sound of our anthem and is our national destiny.
Like it or not, Pax Americana wasn’t born with the fall of the Soviets, it came to be the aftermath of an assassin’s bullet in Serbia some 92 years ago. I can’t imagine what the world would look like without it.
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