Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Realism and restraint
Reason likes Ike. I’m more sceptical — he was promoted by the establishment so high and awfully fast. Eisenhower wasn’t really of the peaceful, pious but mind-my-own-business (‘respecting your space’, a virtue as English as it was classically American) Old Right but was of a generation that at least understood it. (Robert Taft would have been a good president.) In this article he certainly seems better than the régime now. (For that matter so was second-term Bill Clinton nicely caged by a Republican Congress. Hooray, gridlock.)

Mr Bush’s campaign promises seven years ago haven’t gone down the memory hole:
We know that a blunt realist can win the presidency, because one recently did -- in 2000. Recall Bush's pre-9/11 support for a "humble" foreign policy that would not stir fear or resentment abroad: "I just don't think it's the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, 'We do it this way; so should you.' " He warned against overstretching the military. He opposed nation-building. He said -- something few dare to say -- that the Clinton administration had been right not to intervene in the Rwandan genocide. In the pre-9/11 Bush, Eisenhower would have recognized something of himself.
Biretta tip to Bruce Schmoetzer:
I don't know about you, but I am just plain tired of being told that the nation is "on orange alert" and that "terrorist-proof" 1 gallon plastic bags will save us. Maybe a little jaundiced, quiet pragmatism is in order.
Some Jeffersonian ‘free trade with all but entanglements with none’ mixed with a Burkean dislike of radicalism and Bob’s your uncle.

Speaking of Burke here is a gem via Joshua Snyder:
[I]nstead of listening to the foolishness of the neoconservative ideologues, the Cheney-Bush team might better heed the words of a real conservative, Edmund Burke: "A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood."
— George McGovern, who unlike Mr Bush has actually been in combat

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