More from O'Sullivan:
"My theory of the Cold War is that we win and they lose." - Ronald Reagan
What can we apply from our victory in the Cold War to the War on Terror? Well, we can adapt Reagan's theory of the Cold War for starters. And contrary to the naysayers then and now it is not merely an expression of mindless belligerence. It is a statement of intent. Sometimes it can be advanced with violence, sometimes without, but the intent is the same regardless.
Btw, this is why the Ron Paul campaign is now and forever shall be a joke, no matter how popular or unpopular the Iraq war is. Ron Paul does not particularly care about winning the War on Terror, if he even believes such a thing exists. That puts him outside the mainstream of the American people and even further outside the mainstream of the Republican party. Even then, he still might be a plausible candidate except for the fact that he makes no effort to persuade those who might disagree or even acknowledge they exist. Great job for someone who wants to be the chief executive of a constitutional republic.
Okay that aside, let's get the lay of the land in the Middle East and see who the main players are. In general, there are three sorts: the nation states, the terror groups, and the underlying tribal societies. Here the analog to the Cold War gets murky. First of all, the terror groups weren't nearly as significant. But most importantly, we have no real idea what civil society in Middle East might be like if we ever got the opportunity to engage it directly. In the Cold War, the people were our friends. To this day, America is in no place more popular than among the people of former Soviet satellites. Now, it's a grab bag. We have seen, in the space of 18 months or so, a change from bitter enmity to something approaching real friendship, at least among some of the Sunni Iraqi tribes. All in all, we shouldn't expect something like a real victory in the War on Terror to happen quickly.
But whether it's quick, or slow, or never happens at all, our intent is still the same.