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The Libyan Nightmare That Almost Was

BY CHRISTOPHER G. ADAMO - Among the defining endeavors of Ronald Reagan’s Presidency was his push for the development of a space-based nuclear shield, known as Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Derisively caricatured as “Star Wars” by its peacenik detractors, Reagan envisioned a multi-layered array of various high-tech protections, safeguarding the Western world from nuclear aggression, which was primarily expected to originate from the Soviet Union.

Always eager to find fault with Reagan’s judgment and in particular, his pro-American conservatism, liberal critics warned that, among other possibilities, such a system might be useless against random attacks from rogue governments that managed to acquire their own nuclear stockpiles. Invariably mentioned among such unstable regimes were North Korea under Kim Il Sung, along with Libya, headed then as it still is (at least for the moment), by Colonel Moammar Kadafi.

But rather than weakening Reagan’s case for SDI, the looming likelihood of some unbalanced tinhorn dictator acquiring nuclear capability, and then being more likely to wield its horrendous destructive power with little regard for retributive consequences, actually bolstered awareness among the intellectually honest of the dire need for viable defenses. The more inevitable it became that small states, outside of the major world power “nuclear club,” could someday amass the technology to construct their own nuclear weapons, the more urgent it became to contend with the possibility ahead of the terrible day on which it became reality.

Sadly, the national will to invest the time, energy, and most importantly, the money into Reagan’s goal of an adequate barrier against incoming nuclear tipped missiles from belligerent nations was never sufficiently long-range or steadfast to ensure its timely implementation. Though such a defense system could have been developed for a fraction of the cost of the countless futile “social programs” that have failed miserably in the past three decades, at no time during that period has the outlay of funds been deemed critical enough to warrant their expenditure.

Furthermore, any focus on the nation’s military readiness has fluctuated drastically under the ensuing administrations of pro-military leaders such as Reagan and Bush, interspersed with the draft-dodging Bill Clinton and decidedly anti-American Barack Obama. As such, support for SDI has never been consistent or reliable enough to provide the workable base of expertise and inventiveness necessary to allow for the development of technologies that would be extremely new and advanced. As a result the program that might one day save America from the unfathomable horror of a nuclear strike is still not entirely in place.

On a more positive note however, the agenda of peace through strength, instituted by Ronald Reagan and embraced with fervor by George W. Bush in the wake of 9-11, set in motion a sequence of circumstances that, in the particular case of Libya, ought to be cause for loud and ceaseless celebration throughout the free world. Not surprisingly, the network mouthpieces have been absolutely silent on the matter during the raging Libyan turmoil of the past several weeks.

It is first worthwhile to briefly revisit the timeline of America’s use of military force in Iraq, and its actual political repercussions, without digressing into the perpetually negative “interpretations” of those events by the liberal political/media propagandists. From such a perspective, America’s ultimate effectiveness, and the ramifications of its inevitable success, is inarguably obvious.

American forces, in conjunction with a coalition of military units from other nations, initially invaded Iraq in March of 2003. After only a few weeks, the campaign was able to reach and liberate Baghdad, driving Iraqi president Saddam Hussein into hiding. Strenuously braving the harassment and carnage of an Islamist insurgency, and perhaps even more devastating to American moral and determination, the deliberate undermining of the effort by the liberal press, U.S. military personnel began the long and arduous task of securing and stabilizing the occupied nation.

On December 13, 2003, the world was stunned by the news that Hussein had been found, captured, and subsequently turned over to the provisional Iraqi government where he would eventually be tried, convicted and executed for the crimes of his heinous regime. Even more stunning was the announcement, only six days later, in December 19 joint statement by President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair that Libya had negotiated an end to its quest to develop a nuclear bomb.

Kadafi had not forgotten the painful lesson of U.S. retribution when Ronald Reagan sent American F-111 aircraft to bomb Tripoli on April 15, 1986, in response to escalating Libyan terrorist activities. More significantly, he had seen the degree to which President Bush was determined to take the war on terror to the enemy’s doorstep in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The timeline of the events of 2003 is glaring, and their causal relationship virtually incontrovertible. It is hard to comprehend the degree to which today’s Libyan situation might have differed, had George W. Bush been unwilling to resort to “cowboy diplomacy,” or ambiguous in his reaction to the growing middle-eastern threat to America. What is admittedly a dire and combustible situation in Libya might have been a catastrophic atomic holocaust, had Kadafi continued on his earlier course of developing weapons of mass destruction.

However, since George Bush left office his successor has worked tirelessly to annul and undermine any gains made by America on the world stage, under the absurd and nihilistic premise of establishing international harmony through weakness and subservience. A stark and undeniable contrast is evident between Kadafi’s ultimate capitulation on acquiring nuclear weaponry, and the intransigence of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is pressing forward in his relentless pursuit of them with no intention whatsoever of arriving at a peaceful settlement with the current Administration. It epitomizes distinction between international relations based on strength and principle, and those mired in blind idealism and weakness.

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