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June 6, 1944-June 6, 2004
By Alan Caruba
In 1948, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former allied supreme commander of the European theatre of war, published a book, Crusade in Europe. The book's dust jacket shows that the price was $5.00. My late father's friends had gotten together to buy him the book. I picked it up a few days ago to get a sense of what it was like when I was just a child of seven on June 6, 1944.
Eisenhower would go onto become President (1953-1961) and see the nation through the earlier years of a half-century "Cold War" with the Soviet Union to determine whether Communism would triumph over Capitalism and liberty. Not until the 1990s would the "evil empire", as Ronald Reagan called it, finally come to an end.
Eisenhower finished his retelling of the war in Europe saying, "The democracies must learn that the world is now too small for the rigid concepts of national sovereignty that developed in a time when the nations were self-sufficient and self-dependent for their own well-being and safety. None of them today can stand alone."
What Eisenhower could not have anticipated, however, was that the United Nations, founded in 1945, would like its predecessor, the League of Nations, consistently fail to deter war as a means by which nations would advance their agendas, whether it was independence or the looting of their neighbors.
The recent US, British, and allied military victory in Iraq and the occupation that has followed, along with the first tentative steps toward creating a democratic nation where none ever existed before, is an object lesson in (1) the inability of the UN to serve any useful role to deter war and (2) the need for the military power of the United States and its allies to end the threat of rogue nations. The UN is a charade, a façade, a useless doppelganger of the need to end gangster regimes by force of arms.
Focused on the threat of Soviet-style Communism, Eisenhower wrote, "We believe individual liberty, rooted in human dignity, is man's greatest treasure. We believe that men, given free expression of their will, prefer freedom and self-dependence to dictatorship and collectivism." If you listen to any speech President Bush gives these days, you will find the exact same view expressed when he speaks of the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Is anyone listening?
In the very last paragraph of his book, Eisenhower wrote "If they (the men and women of America) can retain the moral integrity, the clarity of comprehension, and the readiness to sacrifice that finally crushed the Axis, then the free world will live and prosper, and all peoples, eventually, will reach a level of culture, contentment, and security that has never before been achieved."
This is a noble vision, but it is far from achieved. Despite the increase in the number of nations that have embraced democracy, much of the world remains in the grip of a mere handful of men, about twenty, who rule over the lives of two billion people. They include Red China, most of the African nations, other nations of the former Soviet Union, and, of course, all of those in the Middle East with the exception of Israel and Turkey.
It is no accident that, when America has had to confront a threat or dispatch its forces in recent decades, it has been to these nations, ruthlessly disconnected from the modern world, that continue to pose a threat to global peace.
To end this threat, by might or by diplomacy, they must be transformed. That is the great crusade of the 2lst century.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the website of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba 2004
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