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In last night’s debate, moderator Charles Gibson asked the Republican participants if they agreed with President’s Bush’s foreign policy. Romney attacked Huckabee for his statements in a recent article of Foreign Affairs that Bush’s foreign policy was “arrogant” and “a bunker mentality.”
You would have thought that his statement was an invitation to play “dog pile” because everybody else piled on with their own protestations that Bush’s foreign policy wasn’t “arrogant,” and that the invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do, except that he didn’t do it quite right. Everybody jumped on Huckabee except for Ron Paul. They didn’t pile on Paul for his comment about what a huge leap Bush took in adopting the policy of pre-emptive war. They smiled, rolled their eyes, and proudly asserted that warrantless wiretapping and all of the other [illegal] activities are more than justified in the fight against Islamic terrorism.
It is hard for me to work up much sympathy for Huckabee for the grief he took, but the words he probably now regrets saying about Bush’s foreign policy have the ring of truth. Only Paul seemed to understand the radically different road Bush embarked on. It is a road that the rest of the Republican candidates seem determined to follow.
Looking Back: When Huckabee observed that “we gave the world the impression we were going to do whatever we wanted to do,” I suspect he had no inkling of how close to the truth he was. On September 23, 2003 an article written by a staff writer appeared in the Christian Science Monitor under the title, “A Bush Vision of Pax Americana,” reporting on the first released National Security Strategy. The 31-page document asserted American dominance as the lone superpower – a status no rival power would be allowed to challenge. That article was followed five days later by Jay Bookman’s Op-Ed piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution titled, “The President’s Real Goal in Iraq,” showing how the new strategy lays out a plan for permanent U.S. military and economic domination of every region on the globe, unfettered by international treaty or concern. And to make that plan a reality, it envisions a stark expansion of our global military presence.
While the 9/11 attacks were used to justify the new policy, it had been shaped by persons who had become influential staff in the Bush Administration well before the Trade Towers and the Pentagon were attacked. The views can be found in much the same language in a report issued in September 2000 by the Project for the New American Century, a group of conservative interventionists outraged by the thought that the United States might be forfeiting its chance at a global empire. The vision of a beneficent nation spreading freedom and democracy by whatever force necessary [Do we have an oxymoron here?] was the basis for this Administration’s foreign policy. Look where it has gotten us, with both our allies and our enemies.