Ask anybody to name who won the last Olympics and they'll all swallow the bait. They'll scrunch up and try to remember. Actually, nobody ever wins an Olympics. It's a process of teams and individuals from different countries winning medals.
If Russia has the most gold medal winners, the Russians can say they won the Olympics. If Americans win more medals of gold, silver or bronze we can say we won the Olympics. If Burkina Faso sends one athlete who finishes third in the javelin throw, then Burkina Faso can say it won the Olympics because 100 percent of its participants came home with a medal.
Oddly enough, in a competition vastly more important than sports, and which offers clear-cut winners and losers, nobody ever thinks of keeping score. I'm referring to the virtues of democracy versus the depredations of dictatorship.
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Does anybody think it's an accident that America is so much more desirable a place to live than Cuba? Or that Canada is more desirable than Venezuela? Or that Norway, Denmark and Sweden are more desirable than North Korea, Iran and Zimbabwe? Can you explain the miseries of totalitarian states – as dictators always try to do – by blaming floods and droughts and pestogenic crop failures? Of course not. The free countries turn out to be the prosperous countries. People in free countries are comfortable, hopeful and unafraid. The others live in dread of the late-night bashing down of the door. Democracy is the clear winner. Dictatorships are miserable. I say let's make it worse for them! With all the misbegotten ideas that inspire the idealistic militants of the world to march in the streets, why aren't there demonstrations and marches of courageous intellectuals spearheading the fight for more democracy?
Can anybody name a time when a democracy made war against another democracy? If you can, the history trophy goes to you. I can't.
And if you history-prodigies have time to tutor me, could you please explain why so many volunteers, ever-ready to preach the cause of "justice," choose to support a Cuba over a USA or the Palestinian Authority over Israel – the only democracy between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean?
I've long favored yet one more international organization. We have a United Nations with an Arab bloc, an African bloc, a Communist bloc. Where's the appetite for a "UFN," a "United Free Nations," which would work on spreading the blessings of democracy to more and more people? We thought we had such a force in 1945 with the advent of the United Nations, and yet we're still suffering from the birth defect of our lame and ineffective U.N. How could we have overlooked, even in the naivete of 1945, that dictatorships were treated every bit as well as democracies? Indeed, a founding member, the Soviet Union, was a totalitarian nightmare responsible for more slaughter of innocent people than the Nazis! How can any "U.N." that treats dictatorships and democracies alike ever really cure the world? Such elementary frustrations led journalist Arthur "Bugs" Baer (alluding to the edifice that was razed in order to build the U.N.'s HQ) to beg the U.N., "Please, fellows, do something quick, or put the brewery back!"
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I make no claim that my work has ever moved the cause of democracy forward worldwide, but I know for sure that my own life has been lifted and possibly saved thanks to one of my pro-democracy rants on radio. I needed a dicey operation a few years back, and one of New York's most famous and skilled surgeons offered to come in and perform the procedure himself, because he was so much in agreement with something I'd ranted about. I had posited that every graduating high-school student in America should spend two weeks in the dictatorship of his or her choice, as a sure-fire way to stoke the flames of pro-American patriotism. Although my plan has yet to be implemented, I'm happy to report that the operation was highly successful!
Meanwhile, there are many ways short of war to make tyrants miserable. As this is written, North Korea's Kim Jong-un is toying with the notion of canceling the planned June 12 summit with President Trump. Kim senses Trump is desperate for this meeting, largely in hopes it could lead to a Nobel Peace Prize. Experts agree that Kim figures that will make it easier to wheedle concessions out of Trump.
I say, have Sarah Huckabee Sanders announce, "Oops! So sorry! President Trump won't be able to attend the Singapore meeting after all!
"He forgot that he had promised to dedicate, on that very day, the opening of a new hydro-electric plant in Guatemala!"