I’ve never really focused too much on the concept of the Bush Doctrine — President Bush’s spoken pronouncements about his foreign policy goals in a post-9/11 world — instead focusing on what Bush has actually done. I therefore seemed to have missed the fact that the Middle Left is crowing about his abandonment of the doctrine, while the traditional Middle Conservatives and the Neo-Cons are bemoaning his abandonment of that same doctrine. The only ones who still believe it exists are the extreme Leftists, who see Machiavellian motives in all Bush does, so are perfectly content to see the Doctrine still dominating world politics as a force of evil.
As I said, I didn’t know all this. Norman Podhoretz, however, who has cheered the Bush doctrine all along, and who has seen it as the most potent guide in the battle to win World War IV, has paid attention to the celebratory cheers and mournful wails accompanying the Doctrine’s apparent demise. He contends, however, that both the celebrations and the wakes are premature. In a lengthy Commentary article, that you can read here, he restates the Bush doctrine, and then goes on to explain its continued vitality.
Podhoretz notes that much of the celebration on the Middle Left comes from the fact that those celebrating misunderstood both the limits and the flexibility of the Doctrine as stated. Meanwhile, on the Middle Right , those mourning have forgotten that, no matter how committed Bush is to his ideals, he’s still functioning in a political world where he can commit himself only to what is do-able and sustainable. Podhoretz also takes to task the hoary all conservative real politik cadre, who want desperately to retreat to the talky-talk world that blessed us with the foetid pond out of which climbed today’s terrorists.
As you may have guessed by now, I think it’s an excellent article, and well worth reading — especially if you want to be reminded that the President is staying the course. It’s also a reminder that if each of you, personally, gets demoralized and doesn’t vote in November, thereb paving the way for a Democrat victory, America will lose that rare thing in a dangerous world — a pragmantic visionary.
I’ll close this post by including Podhoretz’s take on why those who are obsessed with body counts in Iraq have lost sight of the fact that Americans accomplished something stunning there:
I must confess to being puzzled by the amazing spread of the idea that the Bush Doctrine has indeed failed the test of Iraq. After all, Iraq has been liberated from one of the worst tyrants in the Middle East; three elections have been held; a decent constitution has been written; a government is in place; and previously unimaginable liberties are being enjoyed. By what bizarre calculus does all this add up to failure? And by what even stranger logic is failure to be read into the fact that the forces opposed to democratization are fighting back with all their might?
Surely what makes more sense is the opposite interpretation of the terrible violence being perpetrated by the terrorists of the so-called “insurgency”: that it is in itself a tribute to the enormous strides that have been made in democratizing the country. If this murderous collection of diehard Sunni Baathists and vengeful Shiite militias, together with their allies inside the government, agreed that democratization had already failed, would they be waging so desperate a campaign to defeat it? And if democratization in Iraq posed no threat to the other despotisms in the region, would those regimes be sending jihadists and material support to the “insurgency” there?