Thursday, December 12, 2002

David Frum has something intelligent to say in NRO:

The Lesson of the Scuds

To me, one of the most interesting facts about that Yemeni Scud story was that the intercepting ship was Spanish. It’s a reminder of two things – that America is not waging this war in the unilateralist way the president’s critics complain – but second, that our allies receive too little attention and too little credit for their contributions.

My American Enterprise Institute colleague Radek Sikorski, the ultra-robust director of the New Atlantic Initiative, likes to remind Euro-skeptic conservatives that most of the troops now present in Afghanistan come from Europe, not the United States.

But if the forging of an effective coalition to fight the war on terror is an American success story, the larger relationship between the U.S. and its allies is not – and that failure is not entirely the allies’ fault. The U.S. has made a major commitment to anti-terrorist public diplomacy – but so far, almost all the effort has been dedicated to the Arab and Islamic world, and virtually none to the allied countries of Europe, Australia, and Canada. Americans did not make this mistake in the Cold War.

The U.S. has been dismantling its public diplomacy structure for more than two decades now. It needs to be rebuilt – and fast – as a global project, not just a unique appeal to one uniquely hostile region of the world.

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