The case for pluralism at ground zero

During my lifetime, our foreign policy has been defined by two wars: a cold one with Soviet-style Communism and a hot one with Islamic-style terrorism. Neither kind of war is good, but cold is better. We have no monuments, sites, or dates to honor American victims who died on our soil because of the Cold War. That’s why it was called “cold.”

This is not in any way a justification for the horrible dictatorships in the Soviet Union. That regime had much in common with many Mideast countries: an ideology that suppressed dissent and brutalized its citizens; old men holding onto power and eliminating rivals at any cost; lack of human rights or freedom of conscience.

There are differences, too. Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) was the doctrine that assumed neither the Soviet Union nor the United States would launch its nuclear weaponry on the other, for fear of retaliation in which millions of its own citizens would be destroyed. Leaders of both superpowers preferred life to death. I’d be more concerned today about the efficacy of a MAD doctrine with a theocracy, especially when we’ve seen suicide-bomber citizens happily give their lives to kill innocent civilians because they expected rewards for their actions in an imagined afterlife.

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