Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Grand Strategy of the U.S.

Because this is the silly season, we continue to get nothing else from Bush’s political opponents on foreign policy than an emphasis on no WMD’s in Iraq and the view that the threat was not imminent, as Bush had claimed. This is both wrong and misleading (never mind for the moment the continued misquotations by the liberal press and it’s use by his opponents). The real questions that will have to be addressed in this campaign are much more important than that and generally fall under the term "grand strategy." Bush has one--loosely called the Bush Doctrine--and he is implementing it. It has to do with so-called preemption, unilateralism, and hegemony. Of course, reasonable people may disagree with it, yet there it is and it cannot be ignored. The historian John Lewis Gaddis was interviewed at length for this Boston Globe story on this issue. He has a book coming out on it in April (and has already written on it as Powerline notes). The book will be essential reading on the subject not because it will the last word, but because it will be first very public example of the conversation that has already begun, and which ought to be had, especially in an election season. And it will be a good start to that conversation. Please read the Boston Globe article with care, and file it. You will need it and more will be added to your file over time. This will mean--self-evidently--that we will have to have a conversation about very fundamental things, never mind the understanding that John Quincy Adams, or Teddy Roosevelt, or Franklin D. Roosevelt, or Ronald Reagan had of American ends and means in the world.

I only note in passing the reference in the article to Bush as Prince Hall being transformed by 9/11 into Henry V. If his opponents don’t see this possibility, they might as well keep their day job. With such large issues moving through the world, this is not the time to underestimate your political opponents. They do so at their peril, and to the disadvantage of the conversation that ought to take place.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Amazing, simply amazing, that this conversation on grand strategy should take so long to get started. W has been seen as a foreign-policy big-picture man for years now (I myself was sure of it by day’s end 9/11/01) by Steve Den Beste, the folks at Winds of Change, many a poster at, & probably you too (this is my first visit here), not to mention on the Web pages of Opinion Journal, National Review, American Spectator, & the Weekly Standard. In particular, the argument about in what sense the Iraq invasion was about WMD is already old—on the conservative & hawk-lib side. (It was about the big picture in terrorist subcultures, cranky despotisms, democratic values, gradually but inexorably accelerative tech advancement & resultant ongoingly changing world security conditions, WMD, & proliferation, not about lots of WMD ready to rumble in Iraq during the runup to the war—I thought we’d find more WMD there, but never thought that that was what it should be exclusively about.)

P.S., the Website seems still out of whack. Meanwhile, a copy of John Lewis Gaddis’s article “A Grand Strategy of Transformation” is at:

Here are Google search results on "A Grand Strategy of Transformation"

Its good to know that I can continue to turn to Peter’s revisionist history for my weekly laughs. Peter, are you comments motivated by your desire to amuse me, or is this all just symptomatic of your increasing unease as Bush’s approval ratings continue to sink in this election year? By the way, did you know that Bush Jr’s ratings are EXACTLY where Bush Sr’s ratings were nine months before losing the 92 election?

Thanks to ForNow for the comments and the lionk to the Gaddis "Foreign Affairs" article. I know that this is not a new issue, and that it shouldn’t be, and that many smart people have reflected on this for some time. I merely used the Boston Globe article to note that just maybe the more public aspects of the discussion will move in a direction that will prove more fruitful.

I haven’t looked at the Gaddis article yet, but I did come across an entire Journal of American History edition (published as a book) in which the liberal historians got together with an angry issue trying desperately to "de-bunk" the "clash of civilizations" view of the war of terror against Western civilized nations. So much for objective history when your raison d’etre is to attack the president and those scholars who actually believe in the forces of good & evil (and ignore any legitimacy to their arguments) over that everything is just so "complex" that you will have to shut up and listen to the experts while buildings are ripped down. Probably the same people who cheered on 9/12/01 that America "deserved" it or whatever crap the Chomsky academics were shoveling. The world since 9/11 has taught us (or reminded us) just how little common sense (most) academics have and how good, old common folk know what it’s all about.

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