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by Steven LaTulippe

In my last article ("Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here") I touched on an issue that was raised in the first presidential debate when Jim Lehrer asked both candidates for their opinions as to what single issue represented the gravest threat to America's national security. Both candidates responded that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was clearly the most serious.

In that piece, I briefly stated my opinion that the much more imminent threat was the fallout from the ideology of global interventionism that has captivated the elites of both political parties. That resulted in considerable e-mail feedback, and prompted me to ponder the issue more in-depth.

It may seem a bit odd, and perhaps ironic, that the greatest danger to America derives from the attitudes of our own rulers, but I am nevertheless convinced that this is so. Since the end of the cold war, America's elites have become imbued with the idea that we are "the last remaining superpower" and that we should strive for "benevolent world hegemony."

This policy has numerous inevitable negative repercussions with which we are now coping on a daily basis.

There is further irony to be found when one realizes that this attitude is totally at odds with our nation's past history and character. Clearly, even a cursory reading of the opinions of our Founders indicates that they believed that America should be an example to all, but should otherwise eschew "going forth in search of monsters to destroy."

Having discarded the sage advice of our Founders, the current political elites have placed our nation in a serious jeopardy that is significantly worse than would otherwise be the case, far more so than would result from the proliferation of WMDs alone. I base this opinion on several conclusions:

#1 The doctrine of pre-emption is pointless, since we cannot prevent WMD proliferation

Part of the messiah complex that haunts our rulers' psyche is the idea that our government is omnipotent. Listening to the debates, it quickly became clear to me that our leaders believe that literally everything is achievable by our government. The feds now hold that every imaginable issue, both domestic and foreign, can be addressed and perfected by the actions of Washington.

They acknowledge literally no limitations on that power. Even the suggestion of practical limits draws angry retorts of "defeatism" and "lack of imagination and willpower." Despite repeated failures, from the war on drugs to the ongoing basket-case of our federalized public schools, our politicos persist in this grand delusion.

But the realities of WMDs are much more complex. Whether any of us like it or not, WMDs will continue to become more widespread. The technology for developing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons is spreading to all corners of the globe. This process cannot be reversed. Any well-trained microbiologist can manufacture bioweapons in a small, discrete lab which can be hidden almost anywhere. Chemical weapons manufacturing is almost as easy and nearly as undetectable.

If we embrace an ideology that any nation developing such weapons should be threatened or invaded, we will quickly find ourselves in a futile, quixotic crusade that is destined to fail. Even ideal intelligence will frequently be incorrect. September 11 and the intelligence debacle concerning Iraqi WMDs demonstrates that intelligence is usually far from ideal.

Attempts to appoint ourselves the global WMD police will result in our becoming the planetary bully and busybody, since such a role can only be accomplished by policies deemed humiliating and intrusive by the rest of the globe.

This will not be successful in containing the spread of these weapons, but it will be successful in breeding enormous hatred and contempt for America and consequently seriously imperil the safety of our citizenry.

#2 Dictators and WMDs: Just because they have them doesn't mean they'll use them.

One of the major arguments for our new role as globocop is the argument that dictators who gain access to WMDs will likely use them against us. Thus, we have no choice but to act aggressively against any despot who we believe is developing them.

This is simply not true.

Adolf Hitler, for instance, possessed a large stockpile of chemical weapons throughout WW II. But even up to