Jonah Goldberg

According to a poll conducted by the European Union, a majority of Europeans see Israel as the chief threat to world peace. And, in a sense, they're right.

One could also say that the American founders were the chief threat to world peace. Why couldn't they just go on tolerating tyrannical rule from Britain? It would have made things so much easier.

You could also say that Sir Thomas More was the chief threat to civic peace when he refused to place king over God.

You could say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the chief threat to peace in Sunndydale by refusing to allow demons to rule in evil tranquility.

OK, you get my point by now: Just because your resolve creates friction doesn't mean your resolve is wrong. If Britain refused to stand up to Hitler, there might have been "peace." But at what price?

Israel isn't peaceful because its neighbors won't let it live in peace. Israel refuses to be destroyed, so there's conflict.

Similarly, America refuses to sit still while others plot our demise. Not surprisingly, then, Europeans think America is the second biggest threat to world peace. Actually, we're tied - with Iran and North Korea. There's a nice symmetry there. Since we're the occupiers of Iraq, Europeans think we've taken Iraq's place in the Axis of Evil. Maybe they think that was our plan all along?

Anyway, America is the only nation out there willing to sacrifice blood and treasure for the sake of world peace. We are the engine for the global economy, we are the chief guarantor of global stability and security, and we are the model for countless nations in countless realms - from law to politics to education. More importantly, America understands - much like the British did in the 19th century - that such delicate machinery needs to be maintained as well as protected from saboteurs. September 11 reminded us of that.

Oh sure, Europeans care about peace, but they believe it can be attained through talking. In his wonderful book "Of Paradise and Power," historian Robert Kagan argues that America and Europe no longer share a common worldview. Americans believe it is necessary to use force when force is necessary. Europeans - in large part because they don't have the option of using force - believe that force is never necessary. America is from Mars, Europe from Venus, Kagan writes.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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