The action taken by Bush against Iraq is nothing new in history. The parallel with the Eisenhower Administration, his Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles in particular, is striking.
Colin Powell resigned because he did not approve of the war and the way it was going - though he performed his duties with dignity and as much conviction as he could. Condolezza Rice will make a good - and much better - Secretary of State for President Bush, because she subscribes to a modern-day version of the Dulles Doctrine. Consider:
"Still another foreign-policy concept, the Eisenhower Doctrine, proclaimed by both houses of Congress on March 9, 1957, was really the Dulles Doctrine. Mr. Dulles conceived and defended this resolution before Congress, asserting that the President was prepared to use armed force to support any Middle Eastern country that asked for help against Communist aggression."
Just substitute "Communist" and insert "terrorist" or "insurgent" in its place, and you have a foreign policy that would have made Dulles proud.
Whoa there, Manning, you say: Isn't this a simplification of things? Again, we can turn to his obituary in the May 25, 1959 edition of The New York Times:
(1) "For example, during his campaign speeches in 1952, Mr. Dulles maintained that the Democratic party's policy of 'containment' must be replaced by a policy of 'liberation.' What United States foreign policy needed, he said, was more 'heart.'" [Powell always advocated containment; the Bush Administration wanted liberation and "to win hearts and minds." It is arguable that the second objective has not been achieved, but, with the passage of time, will be.]
(2) "At Iowa State College on June 9, 1955, Mr. Dulles said 'neutrality has increasingly become an obsolete and except under very exceptional circumstances, it is an immoral and shortsighted conception.'"
(3) "Mr. Dulles will be remembered for his part in leading the Republican party out of its long tradition of isolationism into a new era of internationalism. Often criticized during his tenure for seeming inflexibility in his dealings with the Soviet Union, there was growing appreciation during his last months in office that his line was basically sound." [Mr. Bush, too, will be remembered for breaking his own original campaign promise to oppose "nation-building," a good thing in this commentator's opinion, and for once again making the GOP the party of liberal interventionism. History, if it is to be unbiased, will record such interventionist policies as sound once more.]
What is most striking to me is the way Vietnam could have been avoided if we'd had a bit more help in dealing with it. Consider:
"Although Mr. Dulles never specifically confirmed it, there is good reason to believe that during the month of July, 1954, he and Admiral Arthur H. Radford twice tried to get the British to agree to a United States air strike, with planes based on carriers and in the Philippines, against the Communist forces attacking Dienbienphu, a key French stronghold in the north of Indochina.
But the British would not go along, as Mr. Dulles might have expected. The plan was abandoned, and Dienbienphu was lost."
"But the British would not go along ..." - smacks of the attitude of France and Germany vis-a-vis Iraq.
Also, consider that for the doves, the peaceniks, the anti-wars of today, Bush is a reckless cowboy, intent on bombing anyone to hell for the crime of not being a Christian - conveniently forgetting, of course, that the creatures we're fighting are intent on bombing everyone to hell who isn't Muslim, including fellow Muslims who are too "heathen" for their liking. This bull-in-a-china-shop sentiment among liberals was the same during the Cold War:
"An important part of Mr. Dulles' 'brinkmanship' was 'massive retaliation,' the boldest of all his phrases. He said in a speech on Jan. 12, 1954, that the President and National Security Council had decided 'to depend primarily upon a great capacity to retaliate instantly, by means and at places of our own choosing.'
The storm aroused by these words obliged Mr. Dulles to explain later that of course the punishment must always suit the crime, that he was not talking about indiscriminate bombing of Moscow."
Only a fool could have thought Dulles was talking about an indiscrimate bombing of Moscow. The same fools today think that we're launching a full-scale war against Islam and the Islamic world.
Contemplate also the snippet from Time magazine's 1954 Man of the Year issue. The parallels with today are arresting:
"Americans of 1954 knew that the technical peace was not real, that they had to keep almost 3,000,000 men under arms, maintain a peacetime conscription and spend an average of $855 a family for defense. The year that saw the hydrogen explosion at Bikini - the biggest explosion in man's explosive history - was not one to foster illusions about an indefinite peace."
We should not be lulled into a false sense of security during this current war, believing that peace, technical or otherwise, is real, forgetting the lessons of 9/11, believing that the War on Terror is mythical dragon-slaying. Just as John Foster Dulles attempted to garner "united action" against Communist aggression via the SEATO act, this time the world is wise to back Bush on the issue of Islamofascist/fanatic terror.
Mr. Dulles' policies paved the way for how Kennedy and Reagan would deal with international Communism. And the parallels with the War on Terror not only exist but are analogous.
"The election was about the use of American influence," Bush says in the latest issue of Time’s Person of the Year issue. John Foster Dulles, who fifty years ago adorned the same publication's front cover, felt the same way.