by Ernest O'Neill
One of the basic principles of democracy is respect for the sovereignty of individual states and their right to choose their own form of government and their leaders. This basic principle seems to have been rejected by the Superpower that has always been regarded as the "gentle giant" and protector of democratic ideals; this birthright has been sold for "a mess of pottage" - the indefensible and provocative doctrine of pre-emptive war. It will take many months of bitter experience in Iraq and copy-cat unjust wars before apologies can claw back the original restraint and respect of the democratic superpowers.
Restraint and the patient wielding of influence are the weapons of wisdom. So while one cannot destroy every terrorist mosquito in the world, one can create an anti-missile mosquito net. And while one cannot create an atmosphere of fear that any state may be invaded because it is regarded as a threat, one can persistently and diplomatically encourage citizens in their desire for democracy and justice.
Roosevelt made the famous statement that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" _ these present days cry out for the faith and commitment that enabled Europeans to live through continual bombings and "carry on life as usual". America breathes that kind of confident courage; it's far past time for the nation to stand up in its true colors and build an economy that will shame terrorism and create a just Palestinian state that will remove its root of bitterness.
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