- The Washington Times - Monday, February 5, 2007

Lessons of Napoleon

There’s a pair of photographs hanging on the wall of former NATO Ambassador David Abshire‘soffice in Washington, taken in 2005, showing Vice President Dick Cheney and a rather reserved I. LewisScooterLibby Jr. greeting Mr. Abshire and others at the White House for a briefing on nuclear issues.

“Scooter tried to block the meeting,” Mr. Abshire recalled during an interview Friday. “That’s why he’s got that resigned look on his face.”

While serving as NATO ambassador under President Reagan from 1983 to 1987, Mr. Abshire, who subsequently became Mr. Reagan’s special counselor with Cabinet rank, was given the Pentagon’s highest civilian award — the Distinguished Public Service Medal — for overseeing conventional defense improvements so that NATO countries wouldn’t have to rely as heavily on nuclear weapons.

He has also been an assistant secretary of state and, during the height of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, co-founded the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Studying the photographs on the wall, Mr. Abshire doesn’t mind saying he is “disappointed in Cheney.” Indeed, as president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency, he’s disappointed, if not alarmed, by what’s become of this country and its standing in the world.

“We’re really at a point of maximum danger,” Mr. Abshire said. “We’ve lost so much of our influence in the world. We have this situation in North Korea and Iran where we’ve not been able to deter them. And we’ve tried to do things with China — but we can’t get them to exercise the leverage.”

One reason, Mr. Abshire said, is a lack of leadership.

“So much of my life has been about the power of consulting, bringing people with you. That to me is leadership,” he explained.

With regard to the current situation in Iraq, the former ambassador said, “The first strategic requirement is unifying Washington. This new [National Intelligence Estimate] that’s come out just today talks about how little control we have over conditions in Baghdad. As difficult as Washington is, if the president — ‘the decider’ [as President Bush calls himself] — becomes the unifier, you create strategic strength by moving [forward] from unity in Washington.”

“I studiedNapoleonas a kid. He believed in dividing your opponents and being unified yourself.”

Tomorrow: Mr. Abshire, author of “The Grace and Power of Civility: Lessons From the American Experience for the Coming Four Years,” talks about the Center for the Study of the Presidency’s “Agenda 2008,” which identifies leadership characteristics needed in the next president.

Open the windows

“We’re all gonna die,” scribbles Washington’s chief global-warming skeptic, Christopher C. Horner, autographing an early copy of his about-to-be-released book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism.”

Mr. Horner, obviously, is one of the 10 percent of climate observers not rushing out to buy milk after that U.N.-sanctioned group of scientists late last week warned in its 21-page report that the pleasures we humans enjoy — whether barbecuing steaks or jetting off to Paris — have heated the atmosphere to the point that nearby Bethany Beach will eventually sink like Atlantis.

On the other hand, Mr. Horner’s 350-page resource claims that “catastrophic,” “man-made,” “global” warming is neither catastrophic, man-made nor global. Heck, it’s been snowing in Malibu, the author points out. Furthermore, he says, comparing our planet to 1000 A.D., the 1930s — or 1998 — it’s presently “cool.”

But what about AlGore’s dire predictions in his book/movie “An Inconvenient Truth”? (Mr. Horner titles one chapter, “Al Gore’s Inconvenient Ruse.”)

Mr. Horner reprints an interview the former vice president gave to Grist magazine, in which he acknowledges overplaying the dangers of global warming.

“Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem,” Mr. Gore explains. “Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an overrepresentation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.”

Mr. Gore, to recap, says 300,000 humans will die (that’s just the first wave) in little over two decades due to global warming.

“Those who don’t die will migrate or be swamped by migrants, according to Gore’s warning of ‘100,000,000 refugees.’ That’s one out of every 60 or so people on the planet fleeing their own swamped homeland to squat on someone else’s lawn or Superdome,” Mr. Horner adds.

“Gore’s was no mere movie but a forceful hour and 30 minute sermon, with more brimstone (and better air conditioning) than the American churchgoer might be accustomed to.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin @washingtontimes.com.

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