Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Case for Fear

Perhaps the most common accusation made against Republican politicians is that they rely on the “politics of fear” in order to frighten Americans into voting for them. Supposedly, the GOP uses foreign attacks on the country as reasons to vote Republican, and uses them to scare the American people into voting for the “party of national security.” This is supposed to represent a sort of moral failing of the GOP; that the Republican party uses terrorism as campaign talking point to attract voters.

They do. And there is nothing wrong with that—in fact, to do otherwise would be irresponsible. Anyone who does not realize that the world is (as it always has been) is a dangerous place simply has not been paying attention.

The threat of radical Islam has been in existence for decades. For a long time, it was unable to do much against America—its technological capabilities were simply not adequate. But the world is changing—military technology is becoming cheaper and more available to rogue nations. Were an Islamist terrorist group able to get even a small nuclear weapon, or tiny amount of smallpox virus, the damage that resulted could be unbelievable. Republicans tell people to be afraid of Islamic jihad—and people should be afraid.

(Although it should be noted that one of the most feared threats of radical Islam—the suitcase nuke—is not actually a threat at all. Nuclear weapons just cannot be compressed to suitcase size while remaining effective. Any real suitcase nuke would have an impossibly short shelf life, and would probably kill the person carrying it as well. The threat of radical Islam is dire enough without making up nonexistent threats).

China is another threat. It is not another Soviet Union—yet—but it’s trying. Its economy is booming, and it is expanding its military might. It has allied itself with the totalitarian Russia, and is encouraging its puppet state North Korea to attempt to get nuclear weapons. China cannot be considered an imminent threat (its economy is too dependant on that of the United States for it to be too aggressive), but it very well could be in the future.

The Democrat party has no coherent strategy for dealing with these (and other) threats, beyond the ever popular “talk to them and maybe they’ll go away.” Barack Obama’s entire foreign policy is built around the idea of simply talking to our enemies, a strategy which might not work so well on, say, Iran, which is governed by an irrational dictator. (And does Obama really think that “economic pressure and political isolation” will work on Iran? We’ve applied both to Cuba for half a century, and it hasn’t worked there).

The Republican party is not always correct on foreign policy either—it is possible to make a reasonable case that in hindsight, the Iraq War was a very bad idea. But they do at least realize that national security is an issue that must be dealt with, and have a coherent plan for doing so.

Were the Republicans attempting to exploit an irrational fear, then their tactics would indeed be despicable. But the threats they warn against are very real, and it is the Republican party that can best handle them. (Not so much because the Republicans have any special store of foreign policy sense, but rather because the Democrats have absolutely none).

Indeed, such “fear-mongering” has long been a part of conservatism. For years, conservative warned against the threat of Communism. William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, George Will, and the rest of the early conservative minds were accused of the same kind of “politics of fear” that contemporary Republicans are, and were rarely given attention until the election of Ronald Reagan. But they were mostly right, and so are Republicans today. There are real threats out there, and we should be frightened.


At June 27, 2008 at 6:01 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

Indeed there are very real threats out there. But...

The Republican party should quit merely giving lip service to it. If their intentions to thwart these threats were genuine, they wouldn't be sending $20 Billion in arms to Saudi Arabia. What's more, they wouldn't be sending gobs and gobs of "foreign aid" that, for all practical means and purposes, is often used for things that are in stark contrast to its original intent.

Goldwater warned about those very things.

At June 27, 2008 at 11:24 AM , Anonymous FredHead from, TN said...

Desperate Cons, take their frustrations with John McCain out on their own party.
Those mostly young people who are following Obama without any knowledge of what he will do to our country need to wake up before it is too late.

For those of us who are old enough to remember, Obama is a spitting image of Jimmy Carter, who also had these fantasies about cozying up to enemies.

That four year period was the worst in this century in terms of blatant mistakes in policy leading to problems at home. Carter's efforts created the current situation in Iran.
It is absolutely critical for our country that these people who are supporting Obama do a little homework to fully understand what this person is going to unleash on our nation.

Without any question, Obama should be the next president of the United States.
Barack Obama said that he would be willing to meet immediately with Cuba's new leader, Raul Castro as well as other dictators without preconditions.
Obama has stolen speeches from thatRacist Spike Lee's movies.Do you really want a Prez whose ideas for this country are stolen from racist, anti-Semitic Spike Lee's movies glorifying Nation of Islam leaders?
Like him or not, it's enough to make me vote for John McCain.
Barrack Obama is as far left as it gets. You far left libs have not had a president since Jimmy Carter. Don't get too excited yet. There is a long way to go on the road to the November election. Unless the Cons hand it to them.
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

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