Thomas Sowell

Spain's decision to turn tail and run, in response to a terrorist bombing, not only tells terrorists how to get their way in the future, it should also tell us about the dangers of outsourcing our foreign policy to our allies or to the United Nations, as so many on the left want us to do.

In an age of international terrorist networks, perhaps about to be supplied with nuclear bombs by North Korea, foreign policy is a matter of life and death on a scale almost unimaginable. In this grim context, it is all but unbelievable that anyone would want to put the fate of this country in the hands of a grossly ineffective United Nations or in the hands of allies who can flee from the fight without notice.

The sheer repetition of words -- the mantra of "the international community" and the anathema of "unilateral action" -- has become a substitute for examining the hard realities and the track record of those to whom we are supposed to defer when it comes to a mortal threat in a nuclear age.

Even the Soviet Union, with its huge nuclear arsenal, was a threat that could be deterred by the prospect of retaliation. But suicide bombers cannot be deterred. They can only be annihilated -- pre-emptively and unilaterally, if necessary.

The so-called "international community" that the left has so long envisioned consists in reality of disunited nations, too many of whom are short-sighted enough to cooperate with terrorists in hopes of deflecting their wrath toward someone else.

Throwing others to the wolves is a strategy that has been tried before. France threw Czechoslovakia to the wolves in 1938 to try to buy off Hitler. Less than two years later, Hitler's armies invaded France -- using, among other things, tanks made in Czechoslovakia.

Those who are impressed with French airs of sophistication and condescension toward the United States should check out the hard facts about French foreign policy over the past century -- which has been one short-sighted disaster after another. They have been consistently too clever by half -- at Versailles in 1919, at Munich in 1938, and in Algiers and Vietnam in the 1950s.

The only other nation with a comparable track record of self-inflicted catastrophes over the same span of time has been Germany. A hundred years ago, Germany had emerged as a great nation in the forefront of economic and technological achievements, with every prospect of a prosperous life for its people to enjoy.

But the Kaiser could not leave well enough alone. He had to push for military glory.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate