Austin Bay

Now consider China's and Russia's response to North Korea's missiles. China and Russia approved UN sanctions on North Korea. Those sanctions, tentative as they are, establish a "no go line" for rogue behavior -- ultimately applicable to Iran as well.

No doubt North Korea embarrassed China, but Japan's increasing willingness to share Asian defense burdens with the U.S. tells China it must make some choices. Will Beijing play a mature, responsible role in protecting the global trading system? China's pro-sanctions vote says at crunch time it will.

What do the terrorists have to offer the Third World? Mumbai answered the question for 1 billion Indians: only mass murder. As a political message that's a historical loser. Anarchism and nihilism do not build wealth. In fact, wealth defeats them. Within a week Mumbai was back to work. It will take decades to stop them, but Mumbai demonstrates why terrorists fail.

At least terrorists without nuclear weapons, which brings us to Hezbollah and Iran. The Israel-Hezbollah war reveals Iran and Syria as actively engaged in hijacking an Arab country (Lebanon) as well as firing short-range ballistic missiles at Israel. In the long term, arming and funding Hezbollah will increase at least tacit international support for regime change in Damascus and Tehran. Tyrants use terrorists, and tyrants pursue nuclear weapons. The Lebanon-destroying shenanigans of Iran and Syria's Hezbollah puppet ultimately put the puppeteers at risk.

July also offered a lesson in timelines for democratic change. Sixteen years ago (Aug. 2, 1990), Saddam invaded Kuwait. Between 1990 and his overthrow in 2003, Saddam killed an estimated 250,000 people (mostly Kurds and Shia Arabs). Would anyone in 1990 or in March 2003 have predicted a freely elected Iraqi prime minister would appear before the U.S. Congress and thank America for giving his country the opportunity to create a democracy?

"Iraqis are your allies in the war on terror," Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told a joint session of Congress.

That happened on July 26, 2006.

Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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