Writing for the National Review Online, Victor Davis Hanson discusses whether the seven states in the Greater Middle East have become more or less of a threat since 9/11. He concludes that the situation is messier, but better than before:
Few argue that Afghanistan or Iraq is worse off than when under the Taliban or Saddam. Nor is Syria in a stronger position. Despite their respective nuclear and petroleum deterrence, both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are ever more sensitive to the dangers of Islamic radicalism. Libya no longer poses the threat of using WMD against its neighbors and is less likely to fund international terror. Iran is the wild card - closer to success in obtaining the bomb, but closer as well to becoming isolated by international pressure and the events that it cannot quite control across the border in Iraq.Hanson worries about increasing isolationism due to the Bush administration's "unpopular work of trying to restore hope to the Middle East", while "the aloof Europeans pose as the moderate alternative":
A new strain of what we might call punitive isolationism is back ("more rubble, less trouble"), in which we should simply unleash bombers when evidence is produced of complicity in attacks against Americans, but under no circumstance put a single soldier on the ground to "help" such people who are "incapable" of liberal civilized society.A Pew and Council on Foreign Relations survey from November 2005 "finds a striking revival of isolationist sentiment among the general public":
The hard Right is candid in its pessimistic dismissal of American idealism and worries that a new muscular Wilsonianism will lose the ascendant Republican majority and betray conservative values. The Left buys into the neo-isolationism since it means less of an "imperial" footprint abroad and more funds released for entitlements at home - as well as a way of tarring George Bush and regaining Congress.
Fully 42 percent of Americans say the United States should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own." That represents a sharp increase since 2002 (30 percent), and is on par with the percentage expressing that view during the mid-1970s, following the Vietnam War, and in the 1990s, after the Cold War ended.
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