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You blame Bush for the wrong mistake

Reader comment on item: ISIS Rampages, the Middle East Shakes

Submitted by James Strom (United States), Jun 16, 2014 at 19:03

Bush assumed that a successor president would produce a new status of forces agreement; he did not think the whole thing would be over by 2011.

The bigger mistake of the Republicans under Bush was to think that the post WWII experience could be repeated. Harry Truman signed on to the policy of containment, along with seldom-mentioned nation-building projects, and he was fortunate to be followed by six presidents (eight if you count the bench) who embraced the very same policy to a greater or lesser extent, Carter being the weakest of these. The result was a spectacular success, and an outstanding contribution to the well being of Planet Earth. All of these presidents had had direct or vicarious experience of the nobility of US efforts in WWII and beyond, and it did not take much convincing for them to continue on the chosen path.

Bush and his spokesmen did occasionally talk of the war on terror being a project for multiple future administrations; he failed to realize that America is no longer a country capable of following through on such long term commitments. And he was replaced by a man who had no interest in such commitments in the first place. He had the opportunity to see the beginnings of change in the American spirit in Vietnam, and perhaps as early as Korea, but he missed that opportunity. The result is the failure you describe.

Our situation is bleak. With luck the radical Islamists will run into increasing opposition, as you say, as they attempt to seize more ground in the Middle East, but there is a real possibility that they will make a conquest of an area holding nuclear weapons. A new paradigm for American foreign policy has not yet emerged.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

I will concede your point if you show me proof of your assertion in the first paragraph.

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