Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pre-emptive strikes, the New Monroe Doctrine and Iran

I am a big fan of the Monroe Doctrine circa 1823. Paraphrasing, it says, if a European Nation attempted to intervene and exert influence and power in our hemisphere (meaning the Americas), we would not allow it.

Two things to consider about this:
1. When this came out, European nations were still mucking around in Central and South America significantly - including in Mexico on our border (no surprise - this was Napolean). Europe contained the only nations with any power that could have threatened us (in any meaningful way) at that time.

2. In a 21st century world, when everyone is less than a 20-hour plane ride away, the hemisphere component of this is no longer relevant. Every place on earth is in our hemisphere. A terrorist sitting in Tehran can pick up his nuclear suitcase and be on our shores faster than my commute when the Mass Pike has an accident on it.

The Monroe Doctrine has been a philosophically critical reason we have not had sustained war on inside our borders (excluding the Civil War for obvious reasons). Recast, what it now means to me is that if your nation or organization (such as Al Qaeda) has the means and desire to unduly influence or threaten the US, we have the right and obligation to our citizenry to preempt and DISable the threat - using the best means at our disposal.

Given this, I am mentally prepared to take on the burdens of preventing another 9/11 on our shores or any of the other increasingly viable threats being hurled by saber-rattling Iranian mullahs and their leader -- even given what the consequences of that may be.

This seems to me to represent another angle on the "means" to hurt us. I am not very well convinced they lack desire.

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