- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 30, 2004

The reason I am voting for President Bush has to do with Archiolus, a Greek poet of the seventh century B.C. One of his surviving verses, begins: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” The line became the title of a famous essay by the late Isaiah Berlin.

And the one big thing that Mr. Bush knows is that in a world of democracies we would come as near to world peace as human nature and the nature of interstate relations would allow. For since the first new nation came into existence in 1789, when the U.S. Constitution was promulgated, no democracy has ever fought a war with another democracy. And by democracy I mean, to cite Seymour Martin Lipset’s definition, a political system with a peaceful transfer of power and a social mechanism to enable people to influence decisions made by public officials. And the first time in history that we witnessed a peaceful transfer of political power as the result of a democratic election was in 1800, when a defeated President John Adams gave way to a triumphant Thomas Jefferson.

Let the nitpicking now begin about democracies as warmakers. How about Britain and the war of 1812 when British troops burned down the White House? Britain was not a democracy in 1812. The monarch decided who would be the country’s prime minister, not the House of Commons. Britain became a democracy with the Second Reform Act of 1867. Let the nitpickers nitpick: The unvarnished truth is that no democracy has ever fought a war against another democracy. There were spats between Britain and the United States in the late 19th century, but they were resolved peacefully. There were spats between France and Britain in the late 19th century, but war then as today was out of the question.

Nowhere have I found in John Kerry’s speeches and interviews a recognition of this simple fact: a world of democracies would be a world at peace. That is why Mr. Bush was right to go into Iraq, not only because Saddam Hussein was a war-maker but because so long as his police state tyranny dominated the Middle East, no country — whether Kuwait or Israel or Iran — was safe from aggression. Just as Hitler’s fascism meant war in Europe in 1939 and Nikita Khrushchev’s communism in 1962 meant nuclear missiles in Cuba and Leonid Brezhnev’s communism meant aggression against Afghanistan in 1980, so Kim Jong Il’s nuclear-equipped North Korea endangers the democracy of South Korea and Japan.

The only force that stands between North Korean aggression against democratic South Korea is that of the United States, because Mr. Bush has made it clear he will not seek United Nations permission to come to the aid of a beleaguered democracy. It is not that Mr. Bush is unreservedly for Israel in order to garner the so-called Jewish vote. It is that Israel is one of two democracies (Turkey is the other) in the Middle East and therefore deserves, like any other threatened democracy, the American umbrella.

Sen. John Kerry simply doesn’t understand the meaning of this concept, and for that alone he deserves to be defeated.

As for the Jewish vote, which seems to be a Kerry monopoly, the title of Irving Kristol’s 1999 article in the Israeli magazine Azure speaks for itself: “On the Political Stupidity of the Jews.” Wrote Mr. Kristol:

“In Israel as well as in America, Jews to this day continue to combine an almost pathologically intense concern for politics with a seemingly equally intense inclination towards political foolishness, often crossing over into the realm of the politically suicidal.”

It is time for Jewish voters to stop running with the foxes and learn the one big thing of the hedgehog: A world of democracies is a world at peace.

Arnold Beichman, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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