For the Record

THE FOUNDATION

“National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.” —John Adams

FOR THE RECORD

“Charlie Gibson got it wrong. There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration—and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different. He asked Palin, ‘Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?’ She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, ‘In what respect, Charlie?’ Sensing his ‘gotcha’ moment, Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, Gibson grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube that the Bush doctrine ‘is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense.’ Wrong. I know something about the subject because… I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, ‘The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism,’ I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine. Then came 9/11, and that notion was immediately superseded by the advent of the war on terror. In his address to the joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11, President Bush declared: ‘Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.’ This ‘with us or against us’ policy regarding terror… became the essence of the Bush doctrine. Until Iraq. A year later, when the Iraq war was looming, Bush offered his major justification by enunciating a doctrine of preemptive war. This is the one Charlie Gibson thinks is the Bush doctrine. It’s not. It’s the third in a series and was superseded by the fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine, the most sweeping formulation of the Bush approach to foreign policy and the one that most clearly and distinctively defines the Bush years: the idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world… Yes, Sarah Palin didn’t know what it is. But neither does Charlie Gibson. And at least she didn’t pretend to know—while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, sighing and ‘sounding like an impatient teacher,’ as the [New YorkTimes noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes’ reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.” —Charles Krauthammer

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