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The End of Cowgirl Diplomacy

Commentary by Greg Lewis / NewMediaJournal.US
July 12, 2006

Ann Coulter was once heard to remark that "There are no liberal men, only big hairy liberal women." That's one possible explanation for why Democrats, during the 1990s, exercised what might well be called Cowgirl Diplomacy.

If President Bush has indeed been practicing Cowboy Diplomacy, as a recent Time Magazine cover story ("The End of Cowboy Diplomacy") suggests, then let's be thankful at least that his predecessor's diplomatic strategy of ignoring threats from Islamist terrorists and rogue nuclear states has finally come to an end. And let's also be thankful that Time has missed the mark again: Cowboy Diplomacy is alive and well and being practiced by the Bush and Olmert administrations.

It's difficult to say precisely when the preferred Democrat policy of Cowgirl Diplomacy ended and Bush's Cowboy Diplomacy began. The 9/11 attacks, which were in hindsight certainly among the predictable outcomes of Clinton's "cowgirl" approach to international terrorism, represent without doubt the turning point. Two months later, in December of 2001, President Bush notified Russia that the U.S. was withdrawing from the 1972 ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty, one of whose points of agreement was that the United States would not defend itself against incoming enemy ballistic missiles, not that there is likely to be any other kind. So "Goodbye Cowgirl Diplomacy in the sand," with apologies to Neil Young.

Democrats are doing everything they can to keep Cowgirlism alive. With regard to what's going on in Iraq, they're advocating that America should cash in its chips and withdraw altogether from that conflict, preferably immediately, but, if not, then at least according to a schedule that will enable al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations currently forced to engage western democracy militarily in Iraq to pace themselves, knowing there is a declared end in sight for them in the Middle East.

Democrat Congressman John Murtha has recently carried Cowgirl Diplomacy to new heights, suggesting that America is the "greatest threat to world peace" on the planet today. Not only does Murtha recommend that we retreat from the war that Islamist terrorists have declared on our country and which we have taken to them through our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, he now asserts that it is not Islamist terrorism (nor North Korean or Iranian nuclear capabilities) that present an imminent threat to global peace, but that the United States is the "real" culprit.

Murtha's pronouncements, while absurd to any thinking human, would seem to be manna to the hard left that has emerged as the voice of the Democrat Party in recent months, but they are in fact nothing less than a death knell to Democrats' hopes of winning back a majority in the House of Representatives in the upcoming Congressional elections. Not even bothering to mention Iraq as one of the issues on which the party will campaign in the fall will be seen to be a fatal oversight, one which the American electorate will not fail to take note of.

But it's not only in their insistence that we need to withdraw from the now-global war against Islamist terrorism that Democrats demonstrate their utter lack of any grasp on the international diplomatic situation. Granted, that situation is becoming more and more complex with every passing week, but a political party that insists it's grown up enough to deal with international diplomacy issues has got to do better than Dems have.

We face on several fronts apparent threats, not only to our own country and way of life, but to western democracy as it is practiced in the U.S., Israel, and Old and New Europe. North Korea seems determined to pout its way onto the international stage by launching missiles to attack water. While many have asserted that Kim and his cronies "learned a great deal" from their failed missile test, in fact, the reality seems to be that they'll need about 17 more such failures before they'll learn enough to even begin to present a truly credible nuclear threat to the U.S. mainland.

Wack as the pipsqueak North Korean dictator is, he would be signing his regime's death warrant by even attempting to attack us or one of our allies, particularly Japan. Indeed, one wonders what his (and the UN's) reaction would be if the U.S. and Japan staged "joint" missile trials in North Korea's offshore waters, with the missiles launched from a U.S. submarine, for example.

The stated "fear" of the international diplomatic community is that Kim would unleash his 1.1 million man infantry on South Korea if we or our allies dared to flex our military muscles within missile-shot of his impoverished and beleaguered citizenry. Conventional wisdom is that we'd better not risk such an event by, for instance, taking out North Korean missiles on the launchpad. To do so would bring down the wrath of Kim on our ally to his immediate south.

That may well be true. But it's not a good reason not to take out Kim's missiles on the launchpad. The fact is that preemptively disrupting the recent North Korean missile tests would have served no useful purpose. While it's galling to let the international community draw the conclusion that Kim "one-upped" us with his in-your-face Fourth-of-July tests, we need to simply shrug off the intended insult as inconsequential.

For that is precisely what Kim Jong Il's regime is in the grand scheme of things: inconsequential. And in the aforementioned grand scheme, that term also aptly describes the Iranian regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While Ahmadinejad is certainly posturing like a banty rooster, and while he is certifiably insane, the fact is that his potential nuclear capability is very easily deterred: I have no doubt that with two days' worth of targeted air strikes, the Israeli military could delay Iran's achieving "nuclear" status by as much as a decade, if not cripple it altogether.

While terrorist regimes are certainly threats that cannot be ignored, they are abetted by the policies of many of our "allies." There is a palpable hatred of the United States being fomented among the socialistically-inclined people of Old Europe. With Tony Blair relegated to lame duck status in Great Britain, and with Silvio Berlusconi out of power in Italy, only Angela Merkel stands among the leaders of these European countries as a friend of our President.

Vladimir Putin, into whose soul Bush has asserted he had a glimpse, finding therein an ally . . . well, Putin has problems of his own. It seems that Democracy is a somewhat recalcitrant entity to try to control in any way the KGB-bred Putin is familiar with.

It further seems that Putin has discovered that U.S. interests might not be compatible with Russia's. Putin stands to gain nothing if we're successful in overcoming the forces of international terrorism; in fact, it appears to be in Russia's best interests that America continue to have to spend its military resources fighting one significant war and several other skirmishes against terrorism.

By accusing Bush of "Cowboy Diplomacy," Time Magazine seems to want to paint him broadly as someone who "shoots first and asks questions later." Nothing could be further from the truth. Bush exercised remarkable restraint in the runup to the invasion of Iraq, as witness the dozens of UN resolutions that were implemented prior to the time our actually putting some teeth into them became necessary.

One is reminded of the wonderful 1980 film, "The Stunt Man," in which the guy who actually performs the stunts attributed to the film's star is described as the star's "cock and balls." In this light, it's no wonder the Left (and its surrogate, the UN) can't understand the so-called "Cowboy Diplomacy" they categorically (and ignorantly) reject. As Ann Coulter might say, "What do they know about cock and balls?"


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