- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 4, 2000

Almost daily the American people are told that the United States is the superpower, the only superpower like no other in the world, in history. Is this really true?

If it is, then why are we paying tribute to North Korea, the world's biggest basket-case?

If it is, then why is Saddam Hussein still a functioning dictator in Iraq?

If it is, then why are we pleading with Iran's theocracy to let's be friends again?

If it is, then why is Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic still in power?

If it is, then why is Osama bin Laden functioning in Afghanistan, the world's second biggest basket-case?

If it is, why are we trying to do the impossible, to seal the unsealable Canadian-American border against terrorists?

If it is, why, with all our super-dooper power and expenditure of billions of dollars can't we rid ourselves of the multi-billionaire Latin American drug lords?

Many years ago, Mao Zedong coined a telling phrase to describe America a paper tiger. Is America the Superpower really America the Paper Tiger?

Obviously, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-il, Ayatollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, and Slobodan Milosevic think the United States is a paper tiger. Are they wrong? Can America the Superpower resolve the dilemma of the Nuclear Age the impotence of power when confronted by Lilliputian challengers wearing body TNT?

It is seriously misleading for people to go on yapping about America, the Superpower. Or that we are about to enter the "American Century." Of course, we have the world's biggest economy, the world's most advanced military technology; we're decades ahead of everybody in the space sciences, atomic weaponry, missile delivery. The biggest everything but we're still paying blackmail to Kim Jong-il.

Some 20 years ago, Henry Kissinger said: "Among the free countries today only the United States possesses the military capabilities and the domestic cohesion to maintain the world balance of power. Without our commitment there can be no security. Without our dedication there can be no progress."

If Mr. Kissinger was right in 1978 about America's role his words are even more true today. But now we must reckon that the world balance of power under American leadership could be undermined by, perhaps, a few hundred underground terrorists for whom there is no turning back from their genocidal missions. If some of them are not 100 percent jihadists, they had better be because their families back in Algeria or wherever are Osama bin Laden's hostages.

It was Mao who said that "power comes out of the barrel of a gun." Today his admirers would say that power comes out of a barrel of nitroglycerine. The Colt .45 in the Wild West was called the equalizer; today the great equalizer is a remotely controlled bomb in a pizza delivery van.

Here is a problem globalized terrorism which calls for American leadership in the pursuit of a solution. And what better place to exercise that leadership than in the United Nations Security Council, over which Ambassador Richard Holbrooke will preside for the month of January?

A century ago, Otto von Bismarck, the great German statesman, said: "We live in a wondrous time in which the strong is weak because of his moral scruples and the weak grows strong because of his audacity."

Today, however, Bismarck's words have a more ominous ring. What if Saddam or Osama bin Laden came into possession of a small atomic weapon?

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