There is no War On Terror

This post originally appeared on The Agonist

In the late 40's and early 50's a Venezuelan child's first experience of America might have been being treated by an American doctor with American anti-biotics. Today a Venezuelan child's first experience of Cuba is probably being treated by a Cuban doctor with Cuban drugs....

In 1956 when Britain, France and Israel conspired to seize the Suez crisis from a Muslim nation it was an American president who gave them the curt order to stop. This was probably the capstone of US/Arab relations, which had probably been the friendliest of any of the great powers for well over a hundred years. Arabs saw America as a foe of colonliasm and as their friend.

John Edwards didn't mention either of these facts in his speech, but it's very clear that he gets it. When one reads the speech what one is struck by immediately is by how much good will there is in it, at how much Edwards is neither scared nor contemptuous of the rest of the world. The speech, with its careful words of reaching out to both allies and enemies; with its promise to make sure that every child in the world is educated (something that should be done not just with American money, but with American teachers in a way similiar to the Peace Corps), is the reasoned manifesto of a man who actually understands that while every nation has to have a military, it really is the last resort, and not the first and that military action is as likely to weaken you and make you enemies as it is to do anything good for you.

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