Wednesday, February 11, 2004

A New Foreign Policy for a New World

Tony Blankley cites a report in the Boston Globe about a book by John Lewis Gaddis arguing that George W. Bush is a master strategist. Surprise, Security, and the American Experience apparently puts Bush in the category of James Monroe and FDR, the architects of the previous two major contours of American foreign policy. cover The end of the Cold War has effectively ended the world shaped by FDR; a new foreign policy is required to meet the demands of a new world. More than other candidates for the office and more than its last occupant, Bush has the vision to formulate that new policy.

Blankley provides two crucial quotes from Gaddis describing Bush's reaction to 9/11 and assessing the results of that reaction which amounts to a reorientation of American foreign policy.

First: "[Bush] undertook a decisive and courageous reassessment of American grand strategy following the shock of the 9/11 attacks. At his doctrine's center, Bush placed the democratization of the Middle East and the urgent need to prevent terrorists and rogue states from getting nuclear weapons. Bush also boldly rejected the constraints of an outmoded international system that was really nothing more that a snapshot of the configuration of power that existed in 1945."

Second: "So far the military action in Iraq has produced a modest improvement in American and global economic conditions; an intensified dialogue within the Arab world about political reform; a withdrawal of American forces from Saudi Arabia; and an increasing nervousness on the part of the Syrian and Iranian governments as they contemplated the consequences of being surrounded by American clients or surrogates. The United States has emerged as a more powerful and purposeful actor within the international system than it had been on September 11, 2001."

It is difficult to know what the long-term effect of the current budget deficit will be. Nevertheless, it is difficult to argue in light of Gaddis' remarks that there are other candidates who understand America's place in the world more clearly than Bush.


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