Friday, April 24, 2015

The ideological ancestry of Cheney-Bush nationalism

Jacob Heilbrunn, Unleashed: The GOP vs. The World The National Interest 04/22/2015 has quite an interesting account of the development ofd the current warmongering worldview of the Republican Party:

... the GOP has, over the years, become wedded to a liberation doctrine that essentially allows its champions to present bombing and invading other countries at will as acts of supreme moral virtue. The crucible for that doctrine was the 1950s, when a small insurgency on the right — what Dean Acheson called “the attack of the primitives” — targeted both the Truman and Eisenhower administrations as soft on Communism. After China went red and Stalin’s Soviet Union exploded an atomic bomb, a radical conservative faction, spearheaded by William F. Buckley Jr., declared that the Truman administration had it all wrong. Containment was inadequate, a cowardly recipe for defeat. Eisenhower’s secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, who fired Kennan from the Foreign Service in July 1953, promised nothing less than the rollback of Communism.

As Russian tanks rolled into Budapest in 1956, however, the Eisenhower administration stood pat. Rollback was exposed as so much bluff and bombast. But as Sam Tanenhaus noted in the previous issue of The National Interest, for Senator Barry Goldwater and his admirers the dream remained alive. They went to war —against the liberal Republican establishment that allegedly was intent on appeasing America’s foreign enemies. [my emphasis in bold]
This is something to keep in mind when left-leaning war critics hold President Eisenhower up as some kind of model peace President.

The Sam Tanenhaus article to which Heilbrunn refers is The Bush Restoration 02/23/2015. Referring to the Cheney-Bush Administration's hawks, he writes:

The martial dogma they embraced struck many as new. In fact, it was an offshoot of the rollback or “liberationist” doctrine espoused by militant anti-Communists in the 1950s and 1960s. At the time, this approach was rejected as irresponsible by Democratic and Republican presidents alike. But it flourished on the right. Its first major political spokesman was Barry Goldwater. “In addition to keeping the free world free, we must try to make the Communist world free,” he declared in The Conscience of a Conservative. “To these ends, we must always try to engage the enemy at times and places, and with weapons, of our own choosing.” This crusading foreign policy was later taken up by neoconservatives in Bush 43’s administration and at outposts like the Defense Policy Board and the Weekly Standard. Together, they created the Bush Doctrine, which was Goldwaterism revived. “Deterrence, the promise of massive retaliation against nations, means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend,” George W. Bush said at West Point in June 2002. “Containment is not possible when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies. . . . We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge.” [my emphasis in bold]

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