PERSPECTIVErnDon’t Tread on Usrnby Thomas FlemingrnIn the closing days of 1993 two familiar specters, recently absentrnfrom our nightmares, returned to haunt the globalrnconsciousness: the Russian bear, in the person of VladimirrnZhirinovsky, and the Yellow Peril, in the form of North Korea.rnThere were, of course, other bugbears to frighten the childrenrnof democracy—the parade of new Hitlers led by Miloshevitchrnand Aidid, but neither the Serb nor the Somali possess therngreat talisman of fear, nuclear weapons.rnWhy is the bomb so important? After all, even our conventionalrnweapons could pave over North Korea in a matter ofrndays, and until the Russians can manage to subdue Ukraine andrnKazakhstan, they are hardly in a position to menace Poland,rnmuch less Western Europe. But the bomb is a symbol both ofrnAmerican supremacy—we are, so far, the only nation barbaricrnenough to use it—and of the Cold War, whose principalrnstrategy consisted of a vast computer game that measured victoryrnin terms of potential megadeaths.rnYes, the wodd is a dangerous place. It always has been. Onlyrnin America could an idiot become rich and famous by predictingrnthe end of history. The same people who promotedrnFrancis Fukuyama are the type to laugh at our ancestors forrntable-rapping and witch-hunting, but no superstition of thernpast can possibly rival the absurdities promulgated every day byrnuniversity professors prophesying doom and bliss in virtually thernsame breath.rnThere is more than one way to confront a dangerous wodd.rnThe governing classes of the United States, knowing thatrnmuch of their power derives from the terror they have systematicallyrninspired for 50 years, would like us to go on wringing ourrnhands and rattling our sabres till the end of time. But afterrnso many years the sabres sound more like rattles designed tornpacify a baby—in this case, the American people.rnPacifists have their own perilous answers to the problems ofrnviolence—unilateral disarmament, and turning the other cheekrnuntil the victim’s head spins and there is no more cheek to punish.rnThe older American attitude, which might be described asrnan armed and dangerous neutrality, was summed up in TeddyrnRoosevelt’s maxim, “walk softly and carry a big stick.” Our firstrnflag, the coiled rattlesnake, bore the legend; “Don’t Tread OnrnMe,” and we have adopted it here as our personal motto, bothrnin foreign and domestic affairs. Leave others alone; respectrntheir property; treat them fairly; and punish them swiftly andrnseverely, whenever they break faith or violate your rights. Suchrna “Tit-for-Tat” strategy is the long-term winner in the computerrngames analyzed by George Axelrod, and it is the most securernbasis for all human relations.rnIt was also the American foreign policy, in a nutshell, downrnto Wodd War I. (In the Spanish-American War we managedrnto deceive ourselves into thinking we were the injured party.)rnBut the “war to end all wars” was, in Woodrow Wilson’s opinion,rna crusade to change the world, and in sending an armyrnonto European soil, the President was repealing the policy ofrnisolation that had been declared by George Washington. Ironicallyrn(in the modern sense of “inevitably”), we went to war notrnfor the sake of France but for the very empire from which wernhad to liberate ourselves in two wars.rn”Lafayette, we are here.” This famous declaration was madernon July 4,1917, in the Parisian cemetery where the Marquis dernLafayette lay buried. On behalf of the entire American ExpeditionaryrnForce, Chades E. Stanton proclaimed that “here andrnnow in the presence of the illustrious dead we pledge ourrnhearts and honor in carrying this war to a successful issue.” Anrnarmy of conscripts was an odd tribute to a man who had gonernto America as a volunteer, but the Wilson administrationrnknew that wodd power could never rest upon a basis of citizenvolunteers.rnEmpires require conscripts and mercenaries, andrn12/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn