May 25, 2003
The Washington Post

Inevitably, The Politics Of Terror

Fear Has Become Part Of Washington's Power Struggle

by E. J. Dionne Jr.

"Mr. President, the only way you are ever going to get this is to make a speech and scare the hell out of the country."

So said Sen. Arthur Vandenberg to President Harry Truman in 1947. Vandenberg, a Republican, was giving Truman advice on how to get Congress to vote for aid to help Turkey and Greece in their fight against communist insurgents. But Vandenberg might as well have been laying out rule number one in the Politics of the Cold War. From 1947 until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the country was scared as hell about Soviet power and the threat of nuclear war. And these fears dominated political life.

If Vandenberg's words have a familiar ring these days, it's because the new Politics of Terrorism bear remarkable similarities to the old Politics of the Cold War. Fear has once again become a powerful tool and motivator.


[". . . President Bush has blessed the notion that U.S. nuclear weapons can, and should, be adapted for use against a growing list of enemy weapons in a widening array of circumstances."--Bruce G. Blair, "We Keep Building Nukes For All the Wrong Reasons," Washington Post, May 25, 2003]

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