April 17, 1997 | Commentary on National Security and Defense
Imagine it's the year 2000 and you have a son or daughter in the U.S. armed forces, stationed in some hot spot like Israel's Golan Heights.
You receive some terrible news: Syria has launched an attack using chemical agents that wreak hideous deaths upon a large number of U.S. troops. You pray your child wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As you are making urgent calls to find out whether your loved one is safe, a question is gnawing in the back of your mind: "Didn't the United States sign a worldwide ban on chemical weapons? Wasn't the treaty supposed to make it virtually impossible for renegade nations like Syria to get their hands on the frightful stuff?" You resolve to call your congressman and ask about this -- as soon as you find out whether your son or daughter is all right.
When you make that call, what you learn is an outrage: The U.S. Senate ratified a treaty in 1997 that made the use of chemical weapons against American forces more likely, not less!
That's right. If the Senate caves in to a relentless pressure campaign being mounted by the Clinton administration and the professional "arms control" community, it will soon ratify -- hastily and without proper review -- the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), a treaty aimed at "banning" chemical weapons.
This treaty, one of the most potent pieces of politico/military naiveté to come down the pike since President Jimmy Carter, will not just fail in its goal to bar the production and stockpiling of chemical weapons. It actually will disarm the "good guys," like the United States, which are the only countries that will conscientiously abide by the treaty.
This, in turn, will encourage "bad guys" -- rogue nations like Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea -- to build up their chemical stockpiles and possibly use them.
After all, even in World War II, we saw the murderous Nazis refrain from using chemical weapons because they knew "the good guys" could retaliate in kind. Based on the other atrocities they committed, it's hard to imagine they would have behaved in the same way if we hadn't had our own chemical weapons.
As usual, the Clinton administration is not taking foreign policy and U.S. security seriously. The only reason this treaty is being pushed so hard by the White House is because of the political brownie points President Clinton will score for signing such a "humane" document.
Yet, if the Senate allows itself to be rushed to ratification, here's what will happen:
Why put the argument in terms of "good guys" and "bad guys?" Because that's precisely the point that treaties like the CWC fail to recognize; the same truth liberals were never able to face during the Cold War: In this world there are, indeed, good guys and bad guys. "Moral equivalence" is just as much a delusion today as it was when the Soviet Union stood on the brink of world domination.
By treating all nations as moral equals, the Chemical Weapons Convention makes the same fundamental mistake that almost lost the Cold War for America. One would think liberals would have learned this lesson by now.