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History Demands Respect

Reader comment on item: A Neo-Conservative's Caution

Submitted by Daniel W. Weil (United States), Mar 9, 2005 at 17:43

When Lyndon Johnson early in the Kennedy presidency told Speaker Sam Rayburn how impressed he was by the people being appointed (later termed the Best and the Brightest), the Speaker famously replied he would feel more comfortable if one of them had served time as a county sheriff.

The same may be true of the Bush II presidency, except rather than sheriff, I would substitute the term historian, or at least someone respectful and knowledgable about history. Your comments in this article point out a fatal flaw in how foreign policy is being handled by the President (and I strongly believe that he, not his advisers, drive policy initiatives).

The examples you cite have a thousand years and more of what can be termed redundancy - beginning perhaps with the Athenian experience with democracy, and the short lived post-Czar pre-Bolshevic Russian attempt and, of course, the liberation of Cuba.

To paraphrase that great philosopher, George Gershwin, democracy is a some-time thing. Americans generally and their leaders and commentators in specifict, tend to forget that the American experiment with democracy had over a hundred years of awesome and painful development. Like a tree with beautiful branches and enticing leaves, what makes it what it is are the roots. Democracy, I suggest, can't exist without roots and the elements needed to nourish them.

Of special significance is the point you make regarding alternatives. This administration seems to sometime forget that it is fundamentalism which is our greatest threat. And the heart of fundamentalism, of course, is totalitarianism - as so well described by Jeanne Kirkpatrick in her seminal article, "Dictatorships and Double Standards."

The second prong that requires intense concern is unification or conscious parallelism by fundamentalists in different lands.

And lastly, history teaches that Americans have little tolerance for long term hostility - a fact Dean Rusk said was the greatest mistake he made (in the sense of overlooking) when overseeing the Viet Nam conflict. President Bush doesn't quite seem to understand that the body bags will soon define policy in the Middle East - and that Congress will reassert itself if the American public makes known its displeasure.

I am sure that those in the know read or are informed of your writings. What is of concern is whether they really understand what is being said.
Submitting....

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Reader comments (72) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
1Looking Back [38 words]NobodyFeb 1, 2011 22:48182196
Embracing the Brotherhood [1120 words]Raymond MooreDec 18, 2005 10:1030136
1Muslim Brotherhood [14 words]SirSethDec 30, 2005 04:1230136
Neo conservatism caution [93 words]steven lNov 26, 2005 17:3528874
Democracy will not successful in the middle east [20 words]BhekiMay 11, 2005 04:0322058
A liberal's views [104 words]RobshapazApr 28, 2005 11:3521871
Quote Regarding Chile 1970 Reference [97 words]Pamela BeckApr 4, 2005 11:0421326
Gujrat Chief Minister [103 words]Emmanuel PApr 2, 2005 08:1521302
DP Not a Neo-con [204 words]GWMar 19, 2005 21:1321068
Gujarat Chief ministers' visit [508 words]RayMar 18, 2005 23:4921063
NEOCONS UNITE ! [92 words]Randy SizemoreMar 18, 2005 22:1321062
Chief minister of Gujarat visit to the US [46 words]A Hindu from BangladeshMar 18, 2005 13:2921058
Out with the Shah... [198 words]Robert B. ArbetmanMar 13, 2005 15:0620972
Old PC games [70 words]Octavio JohansonMar 12, 2005 08:0320961
What does Neocon mean? [126 words]Timothy LaneMar 11, 2005 23:5520960
...sugar is sweet, but this "neo" fad is making me sick. [47 words]NathanMar 27, 2006 08:1820960
SUI GENERIS? [61 words]David GuyMar 11, 2005 14:4720959
Neocon versus paleocon [53 words]McGroartyMar 11, 2005 13:0520955
Is there a definition to a Neo Conservative? [175 words]Abir ChaabanMar 11, 2005 08:3920952
Question [27 words]Neila Charchour HachichaMar 10, 2005 19:1920949
Encouraging Islamic Reformation [148 words]LorenzoMar 10, 2005 15:0720948
Caution isn't enough [34 words]Ted SimanMar 10, 2005 13:5420947
Irrational Exuberance? by John Derbyshire [59 words]Mr. DowntownMar 10, 2005 10:0220944
Caution First, Euphoria Much Later [79 words]Vivian E. WolfeMar 10, 2005 05:4020941
Out of the frying pan into the fire? [14 words]Lenn ChowMar 9, 2005 22:5820937
You could not be more correct. [197 words]H. YazdiMar 9, 2005 21:0420936
I Agree 100% [18 words]AlexMar 9, 2005 20:3820935
Caution Tale for the Neocons. [502 words]Arlinda DeAngelisMar 9, 2005 18:3320933
History Demands Respect [383 words]Daniel W. WeilMar 9, 2005 17:4320931
Neo-conservative or just clever? [34 words]Octavio JohansonMar 9, 2005 17:1220930
Golden Opportunity missed! [125 words]vincent villanoMar 9, 2005 16:1420929
Neo Cons / Israel [220 words]D SagMar 9, 2005 16:0920928
Why worry? [63 words]BillMar 9, 2005 16:0820927
Dictionary definition [119 words]Scott AdlerMar 9, 2005 15:3020926
From frying pan to the fire; [131 words]Goerge FranklMar 9, 2005 14:3820924
Condemning the Neocons: classic propaganda [128 words]JohnMar 9, 2005 14:3520923
Islam behind Democracy [344 words]A Hindu from BangladeshMar 9, 2005 14:0920922
Ignoring the danger signals [64 words]Ronald RothmanMar 9, 2005 13:5520921
Syria and Hezbollah [79 words]B. AlotaibiMar 9, 2005 13:4020920
Constitutions [91 words]CraigMar 9, 2005 13:1120918
Why did we drain the swamp only to find ourselves up to our "rears" in aligators [122 words]Cindy ConnerMar 9, 2005 11:2020915
Neo Conservative [34 words]Paul RinderleMar 9, 2005 09:5820914
Replacing autocrats with democrats [100 words]LouisaMar 9, 2005 09:3420910
neo conservative [9 words]MichaelMar 9, 2005 08:2720908
Neo-Conservatism and Islam [13 words]Brandy HansMar 9, 2005 07:2320906
AOL Mardh 9th report on Lebanon shows anti-Israel bias [54 words]lila ImasMar 9, 2005 05:0520903
Thinking outside the box [351 words]Kenneth SikorskiMar 9, 2005 04:2120902
Perhaps the rule of law is the Greater Need [266 words]JonMar 9, 2005 04:1020901
Neocon subtext [66 words]Marvin RabinovitchMar 9, 2005 03:1820900
Changes in Transition Period [689 words]Dr. Jamshid IbrahimMar 9, 2005 02:2020899
Islamist government is not necessarily a threat per se [367 words]Seb DakinMar 9, 2005 01:4620898
You have been labelled a neo-conservative [101 words]Octavio JohansonMar 9, 2005 01:1920897
Democracy v Republic [68 words]Raymond SingerMar 9, 2005 01:1220896
Steps? What steps? [57 words]Wayne WagnerMar 9, 2005 00:5720895
Adam is Right [4 words]GeoffMar 9, 2005 00:2520894
Neo Caution [141 words]J. GlueckMar 8, 2005 23:2620893
Mercilessly convincing [29 words]Emmanuel PrattMar 8, 2005 22:3620891
Definition of neo-conservative [128 words]Adam WeinrichMar 8, 2005 22:3420890
Reality [31 words]Joel KirsteinMar 8, 2005 21:5620889
Great article [18 words]pat tharpMar 8, 2005 21:0820888
Brilliant insights [3 words]Jeff PerrenMar 8, 2005 20:5720887
"Honesty?" Honestly! [166 words]Alan NitikmanMar 8, 2005 20:4920886
You can't make anything out of cookie dough except cookies [377 words]Peter J. HerzMar 8, 2005 20:2220885
Cynical Skeptics Unite!! [289 words]Darwin BarrettMar 8, 2005 20:1320884
Islamists [51 words]Donald W. BalesMar 8, 2005 20:0220883
Russia [33 words]Richard ValierMar 8, 2005 18:5620882
Not too random responses [70 words]Howard J SchwartzMar 8, 2005 18:0420881
Euphoria too Soon [76 words]Allen GinsburghMar 8, 2005 18:0320880
As always, you are so right! [26 words]IsaacMar 8, 2005 17:4520879
Funding for other groups [121 words]David W. LincolnMar 8, 2005 17:2620878
DANIEL PIPES STANDS AS THE LONE VOICE OF REASON [57 words]JERRY BORISMar 8, 2005 17:0520876
Hezbollah [39 words]Karen PerryMar 8, 2005 16:5120875

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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