George W. Bush - Grand Strategist; Current President One of History's Heroes

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 11, 2004 | Go to article overview
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George W. Bush - Grand Strategist; Current President One of History's Heroes


Byline: Tony Blankley, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Boston Globe - the respected, liberal newspaper owned by the New York Times - ran an article last week that Bush critics may wish to read carefully. It is a report on a new book that argues that President Bush has developed and is ably implementing only the third American grand strategy in our history.

The author of this book, "Surprise, Security, and the American Experience" (Harvard Press) to be released in March, is John Lewis Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett professor of military and naval history at Yale University. The Boston Globe describes Mr. Gaddis as "the dean of Cold War studies and one of the nation's most eminent diplomatic historians." In other words, this is not some put-up job by an obscure right-wing author. This comes from the pinnacle of the liberal Ivy League academic establishment.

If you hate George W. Bush, you will hate this Boston Globe story because it makes a strong case that Mr. Bush stands in a select category with presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and James Monroe (as guided by his secretary of state, John Q. Adams) in implementing one of only three grand strategies of American foreign policy in our two-century history.

As the Globe article describes in an interview with Mr. Gaddis: "Grand strategy is the blueprint from which policy follows. It envisions a country's mission, defines its interests, and sets its priorities. Part of grand strategy's grandeur lies in its durability: A single grand strategy can shape decades, even centuries of policy."

According to this analysis, the first grand strategy by Monroe/Adams followed the British invasion of Washington and the burning of the White House in 1814. They responded to that threat by developing a policy of gaining future security through territorial expansion - filling power vacuums with American pioneers before hostile powers could get in. That strategy lasted throughout the 19th and the early 20th centuries, and accounts for our continental size and historic security.

FDR's plans for the post-World War II period were the second grand strategy and gained American security by establishing free markets and self-determination in Europe as a safeguard against future European wars, while creating the United Nations and related agencies to help us manage the rest of the world and contain the Soviets. The end of the Cold War changed that and led, according to Mr. Gaddis, to President Clinton's assumption that a new grand strategy was not needed because globalization and democratization were inevitable. "Clinton said as much at one point. I think that was shallow. I think they were asleep at the switch," Mr. Gaddis observed.

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