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Monday, November 24, 2003

# Posted 9:26 AM by Patrick Belton  

TWO GOOD PIECES in the Weekly Standard today: The first is on why the U.S. military requires staying power, and more divisions, for theaters such as Iraq, rather than Secretary Rumsfeld's dream of a lighter, faster, leaner army. The second, by Bob Kagan and Bill Kristol, beautifully praises the President's pro-democracy rhetoric during his trip to London, and hopes that it is the President who wins in the councils of his advisors:
There can no longer be any doubt that whatever Republican "realist" inclinations the president may have inherited from his father and his father's advisers when he took office, he has now abandoned that failed and narrow view and raised the torch previously held high by Ronald Reagan--and before that by John F. Kennedy and Harry Truman.

In this respect, Bush has broken from the mainstream of his party and become a neoconservative in the true meaning of the term. For if there is a single principle that today divides neoconservatism from traditional American conservatism, it is the conviction that the promotion of liberal democracy abroad is both a moral imperative and a profound national interest. This is a view of America's role in the world that has found little favor in the Republican party since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. Reagan was a modern exception--the product, no doubt, of his own roots as a Truman Democrat--but this aspect of Reaganism was largely abandoned by Republicans after 1989. And so we are not surprised to see traditional Republican conservatives, of whom there is no more esteemed intellectual spokesman than George Will, now denouncing the supposed folly of such ambitious ventures. Nor are we surprised that in Bush's own cabinet, neither his secretary of state nor his secretary of defense shares the president's commitment to liberal democracy, either in Iraq or in the Middle East more generally. Indeed, the only thing that surprises us, a little, is the failure of American liberals--and European liberals--to embrace a cause that ought to be close to their hearts.
If the President would like to earn a place in the ranks of TR, JFK, Truman and Reagan by promoting a principled policy of national strength in the service of democracy, this Scoop Jackson Democrat, for one, will not be minding in the least.
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