Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Presidents Kennedy & Bush

Michael Kelly's column today at the Washington Post focuses on the parallel between Bush's "preemptive war" doctrine and JFK's own philosophy: "In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, Bush clearly sees the American role in the world in terms akin to those President Kennedy expressed in 1961: 'We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to ensure the survival and the success of liberty.'"

He also corrects Ted Kennedy, who refers to Bush's view as "imperialism", noting that -- like Ted's older brother -- Bush' stance could be better termed "armed evangelism", and he goes on to explain the difference: "Unlike the European powers, the United States has never sought to own the world. In its peculiarly American fashion, it has sought to make the world behave better -- indeed be better. It is only in this context that the Bush Doctrine (like the Kennedy Doctrine) can be at all understood."

Now, Kelly doesn't come out in support of this view -- he concludes his piece by calling for a more serious discussion of the notion of preventative wars. But he does do an excellent job of clarifying what exactly Bush's view is and what it is about, as well as correcting Ted Kennedy on a number of points.

So, in conclusion... it's a good column. Read it.

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