Monday, June 03, 2002

SAY WHAT? The Washington Post's report on the President's West Point speech reads like an editorial -- sorry, "news analysis" -- but isn't labeled as such and has this bizarre take:
Bush's new description of his foreign policy ... sharply revised the positions he took as a candidate, when he emphasized the need to limit U.S. intervention to regions with immediate bearing on the nation's strategic interests. ... [T]he speech wove together a number of additional themes ... into what a senior administration official described as an "overall security framework" .... The framework places Bush in a far different position than the campaigner of two years ago who criticized President Bill Clinton for trying to be "the world's policeman," depending too much on the views of others to set American priorities and spending too much on foreign assistance with no direct U.S. benefit.
First, the Post piece misses the point of the speech, which isn't to update candidate Bush's foreign policy for the post-September 11 world, but to continue laying the rhetorical groundwork for what will be -- unless George W. Bush is a political suicide -- a revolution in American foreign policy and the international law of war, to wit, the right of preemptive war against terrorist-harboring or -sponsoring states. Second, it's absurd to imply, as the article does, that the intervention resulting from this policy revolution wouldn't have an "immediate bearing on the nation's strategic interests" or would allow the "views of others to set American priorities." The danger is that hostile states like Iraq will acquire weapons of mass destruction and either directly use them against the United States or give them to terrorists who will. The proposed solution is a mixture of diplomatic and military intervention to destroy such regimes. If that kind of intervention doesn't have an "immediate bearing" on our strategic interests, I don't know what does.

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