SOME REFLECTIONS ON "OUR" MONSTERS
By Hugo J. Byrne
Watching "Meet the Press" last Sunday I observed how Delaware's liberal democratic Senator Joseph Bidden warned the White House against "creating" new monsters that may hound our national interest in the future. Bidden's warnings came as a response to a question by Tim Russet on the possibility of hunting and destroying anti-American terrorist Bin Laden using the help of the so-called "Northern Alliance."
It is paramount for our understanding of the mortal dangers facing America today, the realization that one of our most tenacious foes could be our own frame of mind. Ignorance of the identity of our enemies appears to be dissolving fast in the wake of the terrorist attack we suffered on September 11. Intense suffering is often the source of very fast learning. What still worries me is our apparent inability to properly assess the facts at our disposal. Senator Bidden is giving us a typical example of that inability. While supporting the efforts of the Bush administration in its "war against terrorism", Bidden provided us reasons to be concerned about his future attitude on the subject. His obvious standpoint centers on the notion that a proactive U.S. foreign policy, should avoid "creating" the type of foreign leaders who may eventually turn against the best interests of their own people, the world and ours. Bin Laden and Panama's Noriega are continuously cited as examples of our sinister "monster creating" habit.
Avoiding the "creation" of "Frankenstein type monsters" through the implementation of our policies has been a mayor liberal argument since the sixties. That fear basically formulated the foreign policy of the Carter administration, the most deleterious to U.S. national interest during the XX Century. While trying to distance ourselves from the Somoza dictatorship, we promoted the Sandinistas to power. Our concern with civil rights for the Iranian people helped to topple the Sha, thus advancing the cause of Komeini, which was almost an earlier version of Bin Laden. Komeini's regime had the dubious glory of coining the phrase "the great Satan" in reference not even to our government, but to the U.S. as a nation. Komeini's totalitarian dictatorship was responsible for the invasion of American soil at our Embassy in Teheran, of kidnapping our diplomats, mentally torturing and humiliating them, while holding them as hostages during long months of American national shame. Komeini financed and at times masterminded terrorist activities in which American citizens were often the victims. Meantime, we gave lame lip service to our commitment to "human rights." That commitment, of course, did not include the people enslaved by the most fearful enemy of mankind, the Soviet Union, whose tyrants we kissed. Literally.
Then U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Andrew Young, best highlighted the self-defeating policies of the Carter administration. Castro's intervention in Angola, according to the arch-leftist activist, represented one "stabilizing force" in the region.
Carter's bid for better relations with Castro led to the establishment of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana, with Castro's apologist Wayne Smith as its first director, and, to the detriment of the U.S., the establishment of Castro's Interest Section in Washington D.C. Just as Castro's responded to Carter's diplomatic openings with the Mariel boatlift, Leonid Brezniev rewarded Carter's "love advances" with the invasion of Afghanistan. Nobody so far has been able to demonstrate how the U.S. "Interest Section" in Havana advances legitimate U.S. interests. On the other hand, the evidence of Castro's Interest Section in Washington D.C. threatening our national security, is now overwhelming.
Our support of the resistance fighters against the Soviet invasion during the Reagan administration was a proper response, partially credited with the demise of the Soviets, which nobody can seriously question advanced our national interest. Bin Laden was at the time one of the many group leaders in that struggle. The notion that we "created" Bin Laden is utter nonsense. We did not "create" Bin Laden any more than we created Noriega, Franco, Trujillo, Somoza, Batista, or Attila the Hun. This sick complex only reflects the "political correctness" notion that American actions and omissions are the only source of all problems on earth.
The worst implication of this mythology of "monster creation" is the negative effect it produces in our decision-making and reflects on the bland fundamental approach of our Department of State. That paralyzing syndrome is not of the exclusive present American domain. It played a devastating role in the past actions of many modern states, at times resulting in their demise. The case between Great Britain, France and the Belgian Kingdom during the so-called "Phony War" (1939-40), with the western democracies wasting precious time dissuading King Leopold II from a suicidal neutral position instead of undertaking the necessary immediate military occupation of Belgian territory, was one of the basic causes of the 1940 debacle.
The only real monster U.S. has created since becoming a world power is our strong tendency to hesitate and doubt when fundamental common sense and basic national interest demand action. In the very best words of Franklin Roosevelt, someone I do not exactly like to quote: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."