Friday, August 16, 2002

The General, Not a Team Player

Why is Brent Scowcroft stabbing the Bush administration in the back over invasion plans for Iraq? Hopefully obtaining the fawning attention of the left-wing British press is an insufficient reason. Part of the reason may stem from the perception cited by The Guardian’s Julian Borger that the current President Bush “has surrounded himself with far more radical ideologues on domestic and foreign policy.” In other words, he’s actually a conservative instead of a middle-of-the-road establishment Republican like his father. Unlike George H.W. Bush who was clearly uncomfortable with the allegedly simplistic world outlook of Ronald Reagan, Bush has ended up being for more Reagan Jr. than Bush Jr. when it comes to matters of both policy and style.

Bush and his advisors are making the War on Terrorism a matter of clear moral distinctions - as they should. Just as the cosmopolitan diplomats shuddered when Reagan called the Soivet Union an Evil Empire, so their counterparts today deride Bush for his "cowboy adventurism" and embrace of unilateralism. Yet that strategy is the only way the U.S. will be able to make any progress. And until the foreign ministers of Europe come up with a convincing explanation of why Saddam Hussein is no longer a threat to his own citizens, the rest of the reigon and American lives everywhere, we'll all be better off for it.


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