21.3.03

WINNING THE PEACE. Two views on the kind of United States that will emerge from the war, and the life of the world order to come. Georgie Anne Geyer sees nothing good in the destruction of the existing international institutions. Daniel Henninger is more reassuring. "'World opinion' should rest assured that most Americans would just as soon get out of bed every day, do an honest day's work, come home to barbecue some hamburger out back, go to the kids' soccer games, drink beer with their pals and let Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder do whatever they wish with their own people." I suspect Henninger is onto something. We'd just as soon be left to the Pursuit of Happiness. Alas, some of the rest of the world finds that offensive. The international institutions that will emerge over the next 20 years will reflect that reality, much as the United Nations and the Atlantic Alliance reflected the reality of 1945, which came about in part because the United States opted not to get involved in the affairs of the world. How to resolve the tension: isolation and leave well-enough alone has its attractions, but it also provides the malevolent with opportunities to gain strength?

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