12 August, 2006

Historical Parallels

The Rule of Reason -
Our Islamic Nemesis, Then and Now

One must observe that neither Jefferson, Jay nor Madison responded to the Barbary "crisis" by proposing to "democratize" the Barbary States for the sake of "peace" in the Mediterranean, or rebuild towns damaged by American bombardments, or pay compensation to "innocent" Muslims affected by the fighting. And all they got in the way of European response to the idea of an international military effort to subdue the Barbary States was indifference and expressions of "such is life" tolerance of Barbary extortion. Further, Jay was correct in his assessment of Europe, in that it benefited from American action at no cost to it, not even in an expression of gratitude. Today, Europe is similarly benefiting at the expense of the U.S. expending blood and treasure fighting the wrong war.

The historical parallels of and differences between that age and this one are noteworthy, not only in terms of actions taken, but in terms of a nation asserting its right to reply to force with force. Jefferson and Madison were not by nature "men of war," but they nonetheless settled on war instead of continuing to pay tribute to barbarians and submitting to their extortion. Their decisions were not governed by an unreasoning, emotional anathema to "violence." In that era, the U.S. had to wait until it was solvent enough to dispatch a navy to end the "crisis." And when the causes of the "crisis" were dealt with, there was no more crisis to bedevil the country. (continue reading ...)

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