- The Washington Times - Monday, March 17, 2003

At first glance, the events surrounding the Iraq affair seem quite bizarre.America, which provided the main power in defeating fascism in Germany, Italy and Japan in World War II, then defeated Soviet totalitarianism in the Cold War and has been the stalwart proponent of peace and democracy in the world since as evidenced by the Balkans, Kosovo and Afghanistan now stands under attack from much of the world.
The streets of Europe, which we freed from tyranny, are now filled with protests against America's attempt to deactivate the classical secular fascist Saddam Hussein. In the United Nations, which we created, America seems unable to convince the world to fight this latest version of fascism.
The domestic protesters against President Bush's policy include the usual members of the celebrity left Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon, et al. They have been buttressed by such political luminaries as Ted Kennedy, Carl Levin, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, and even former President Jimmy Carter, all members of the left wing of the Democratic Party.
Why this opposition to the elimination of fascist Iraq? Wasn't the left supposed to be genetically opposed to fascism in all forms?
Not necessarily. To examine this new alignment of world Realpolitik, one must draw not just on the apparent, but on the hidden intellectual equation involved in contemporary geopolitics.
In this case, the situation is quickly clarified. The United States, which strongly seeks the end of Ba'athist Party fascism in Iraq, in under attack from a new political coalition that of the left united in defense of such fascist states as Iraq, Syria and Iran. This is not accomplished by open support for these states, which would destroy the idealistic base of the left. Instead, support for the new coalition is seen in the massive movement to stop the American fight to dismantle the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein's oppressive regime, a situation the left calls peace.
But why?
The answer is simple. The left is angry and resentful of the string of victories of America under the center-right governments of Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., and now under the spiritual-political heir to the mantle of Mr. Reagan, George W. Bush. They intend to see these victories stop, lest the world continue to mimic the democratic free-market capitalism of the United States, especially an America headed by relatively conservative interventionist governments.
The left has witnessed defeat after defeat. They have seen the Soviet Union collapse, to be replaced by a capitalist democratic Russia, creating more than dozen free-market, generally conservative, governments of Eastern Europe. They have witnessed China still a totalitarian power move inexorably into the capitalist orbit. They have seen one left government of Continental Europe after another fall to center-right governments, whether in Italy, Spain or elsewhere.
Only a left Germany survives among the great powers, held up tenuously by the anti-American Green party, a socialist government ready to fall to the pro-American Christian Democrats. Even the supposed Labor government of the United Kingdom has renounced socialism and under Tony Blair, a friend of Mr. Bush and America, veers heavily toward the center.
In retreat, the left has mobilized against this expected war to rid the world of fascist Saddam Hussein. It is an unseemly coalition, but one we have witnessed several times before. In fact, 45 of the 55 Democratic senators voted against the first Gulf war after the United Nations approved it. When America insisted on placing medium-range ballistic missiles on European soil to stop the Soviet Union, the left also took to the streets. But Mr. Reagan's foresight won the day as the missiles contributed to the Soviet Union's demise.
Are the left really fascists in disguise? Hardly. But in this complex equation, they apparently would prefer the maintenance of fascism in Iraq, and elsewhere, rather than sit idly by and watch another stunning victory by America and the likes of George W. Bush.

Martin L. Gross is a syndicated columnist who has written several books on government including three New York Times best sellers.

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