- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 25, 2006

Last week Sen. John Kerry revealed his plan to “redeploy” U.S. forces from Iraq. This plan is different from fellow Defeaticrat Rep. Jack Murtha’s plan to “redeploy” U.S. forces from Iraq to Okinawa, which Mr. Murtha seems to think is in the general neighborhood of Iraq. Iraq is in the Middle East, Okinawa is in the Far East: C’mon, how far can it be to get from the Far to the Middle? After all, the distance between the farthest fringe of the kook left and the center of the Democratic Party seems to be closing up every week.

Anyway, Mr. Kerry doesn’t want to waste time “redeploying” to Okinawa. When America “redeploys,” it’s not going to take a connecting flight via Japan and risk its luggage getting “redeployed” to Bratislava. No, sir, in John Kerry’s America, we “redeploy” nonstop, straight back to Main Street in time for the Redeployment Day parade.

You gotta hand it to these guys: “redeployment” is ingenious. I’ll bet the focus-group consultants were delirious: “surrender,” “lose,” “scram,” “scuttle ignominiously,” “head for the hills” all polled poorly but “redeploy” surveyed well with all parts of the base, except the base in Okinawa, where they preferred “sayonara” — that’s “redeploy” in any language. The Defeaticrats have a clear message for the American people. Read da ploy: no new quagmires.

This is the most artful example of Leftspeak since they came up with “undocumented immigrant.” In fact, if it catches on, I’ll bet millions of fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community now start referring to themselves as Redeployed Mexicans.

The only teensy-weensy problem is this: If America ever adopts the Kerry plan, the Murtha plan or some variation thereof, does anyone think al-Jazeera, the BBC, Le Monde, Der Spiegel et al. will use the word “redeploy” in their headlines? Or will they use a word closer to what’s actually going on?

In a sense, the Democrats have already psychologically redeployed. Last week they unveiled their “New Direction for America.” It’s a six-point plan, two of whose points are “Cut College Costs” and “Ensure Dignified Retirement.” On the first point, it’s true the education system remains a problem: Many hardworking Americans are trapped in low-paying dead-end jobs as U.S. congressmen because an inadequate education left them with the impression Okinawa is in the United Arab Emirates. On the second point, I’m all in favor of a “dignified retirement”: Why not try it on John Kerry as a pilot program? As for the other four points, none has anything to say about national security or foreign policy.

The Defeaticrats’ “New Direction for America” foresees a future for this country as a kind of Lesser France. That would be problematic enough: The dependency culture favored by the Dems has mired much of Europe in permanent double-digit unemployment, a moribund economy and unsustainable social programs. Presumably, Nancy Pelosi and company would respond by saying their pledge to “give America a raise” — i.e., increase the minimum wage — shows their party is in tune with real people’s real needs rather than a lot of foreign adventuring that has nothing to do with how real people really lead their really real lives. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. Not even the Democrats can redeploy from the whole planet.

If you were a 5-year-old boy standing in the London streets in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee parade and marveling as the hussars and lancers of the mightiest empire the world had ever known passed before your eyes, it would have seemed inconceivable you would celebrate your 80th birthday in a decrepit ramshackle broken-down strike-bound basket-case of a state. Permanence is the illusion of every age. And, if you’re interested in a “dignified retirement,” you might want to give some thought to the shape of the world the day after tomorrow.

Today, lots of experts crank out analyses positing China as the unstoppable hegemon of the 21st century. But the real threat is not the strengths of your enemies but their weaknesses. China is a weak power: Its population will get old before it gets rich. Russia is a weak power: If Africa has health crises, the Middle East has Islamists and North Korea has nukes, then Russia has the lot — a dying population whose men have a lower life expectancy than Bangladeshis with Muslim separatists sitting on top of the biggest pile of nukes on the planet. Europe is a weak power, remorselessly evolving month by month into Eurabia.

Islam is a weak power: In the words of Mahathir Mohammed, the former prime minister of Malaysia, one of the least worst Muslim nations in the world, “We produce practically nothing on our own, we can do almost nothing for ourselves, we cannot even manage our wealth.” But in Iran they’re working full-speed on nukes that will be able to hit every European city.

North Korea is a weak power: Its population is starving but it’s about to “test” the latest variation on its No Dong missile. I mean “test” in the sense I test my new shotgun by firing it through your kitchen window. They’re going to launch it and see where it comes down — maybe Tokyo, maybe San Diego; maybe they’ll aim for Los Angeles but it’ll fall in Vancouver. Hey, that’s why we call it a “test,” right?

The danger we face is not a Chinese superpower or an Islamist superpower: If it’s a new boss, you learn the new rules and adjust as best you can. But the greater likelihood is of a world with no superpower at all in which unipolar geopolitics gives way to nonpolar geopolitics, a world without order in which pipsqueak thug states who can’t feed their own people globalize their pathologies.

There would be more stories like that one the other day about the three decapitated policemen whose heads were found in the Tijuana River. But Nancy Pelosi would carry on talking about college tuition as the world sinks into economic decline, arbitrary bombings and kidnappings, and the occasional nuking.

John Kerry gets all huffy if he thinks you’re questioning his patriotism, so let’s be charitable and assume the Defeaticrats simply miss the point: For the rest of the world, what’s at issue in the Iraq war is not the future of Iraq but the future of America. Can the world’s leading nation still lead or is Mr. Kerry’s Vietnam Syndrome “seared” (as he would say) into its bones?

Luxembourg can be Luxembourg. America doesn’t have that option. In a nonpolar world, there’s nowhere to redeploy to.

Mark Steyn is the senior contributing editor for Hollinger Inc. Publications, senior North American columnist for Britain’s Telegraph Group, North American editor for the Spectator, and a nationally syndicated columnist.

© Mark Steyn, 2005

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