Maggie Gallagher

In Afghanistan, where 10,000 American soldiers are welcomed, working to train Afghan police and military to take over the role of maintaining peace: "As soon as our troops are needed no longer, they will depart."

"The people of Bosnia, the people of Kosovo, of Macedonia, they too know that they can trust us to do our jobs and then leave. The same holds true for the people of Kuwait. Twelve years ago, we helped liberate their country, and then we left. We did not seek any special benefits for ourselves. That is not the American way."

Fifty years ago, he pointed out, we did the same for Europe.

Fears about the so-called U.S. arrogance and unilateralism (which is another word for nationalism) will no doubt remain. Power makes people uncomfortable. But in our case not so very uncomfortable. The French cater to Iraq and criticize America loudly in part because they know they can: Americans aren't going to threaten France, so why not make nice to the people who might hurt you?

Even deeper, if the United States can be trusted to take action, why not indulge in doubts, second thoughts and moral quibbles? The regime in Iraq puts "millions of innocent people at risk," Powell reminded Europe in Davos. "Multilateralism cannot become an excuse for inaction." Not, at least, in a world where the U.S. can be trusted to act.

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.