With the events of Sept. 11, US foreign policy has been turned
On that day, a savage attack by hate-filled terrorists brought a
new kind of war to American soil and caused an overnight reappraisal
of America's worldwide goals, friends, and foes.
The immediate goal became the defeat of those who had murdered
thousands of innocent people - most of them American civilians - and
who proclaimed the intent of murdering more.
Enlisted in this cause was an unlikely grouping of nations
ranging from such stalwart democratic allies as Britain to former
cold-war enemies like Russia to bewildering theocracies like Iran
(yes, Iran!), which dislikes Taliban-style terrorism but not Hamas
and Hizbullah-style terrorism.
Some of these uneasy coalitionists joined up because it was the
right and principled thing to do. Some feared terrorism in their own
backyards. Some feared the wrath of the United States if they didn't
declare their allegiance. Terrorist-harboring countries like Sudan,
Somalia, and Yemen were quick to proclaim their newly developed
antiterrorism bona fides. Some governments were quick to offer
tangible support. They included those of Germany and Japan,
sensitive since World War II to foreign military commitments. And
some presumed American friends, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, luke-
warmly professed fidelity while muting their public support.
For President Bush, the ideological and democratic coloration of
such nations was not the critical factor. The litmus test was
whether they could and would help in defeating the immediate
challenge of terrorism. Just as Roosevelt and Churchill wooed
Stalinist Russia, hardly a champion of democracy, to their side in
defeating Nazism, so did Mr. Bush recruit some less-than-engaging
members of this melange to support him internationally in the war
against terrorism even as he suborned the questionable Northern
Alliance to spearhead the war against the unquestionably more-evil
Taliban in Afghanistan.
It was an understandable political imperative, which, with a so-
far brilliant military campaign, has served the United States well.
Osama bin Laden, of course, rails against democratic America's
support of undemocratic regimes such as those in Egypt and Saudi
Arabia, as well as Israel (ironically, a lonely democracy in the
Middle East). Never mind that Mr. bin Laden's own goal is not
democracy, but the destruction of such democratic societies as exist
in America and Israel. Never mind that his goal is not the
implanting of democracy in Egypt and Saudi Arabia but the
replacement of the regimes there by narrow Taliban-like
dictatorships that would serve his Islamic extremist will. …