Been avoiding OpinionJournal lately. Just haven’t had the time. Been missing out. Here’s Pete du Pont on what the last two weeks have really meant:
This month we’ve witnessed the death of two interrelated U.S. foreign-policy doctrines: containment and United Nations multilateralism. Containment was born of the need to limit Soviet expansion. Multilateralism came from the belief that individual nation-states should never again be allowed–as Germany did twice in the last century–to shatter global security.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush has accelerated the demise of these doctrines. He has continually said this nation will not wait to be attacked again. In May he elaborated a more coherent doctrine, one of pre-emption, when he spoke to West Point’s graduating class.
But the president signed the death warrant for containment and multilateralism this past Sept. 12, when he stood before the U.N. and admonished the international, multilateral body for not enforcing its 16 resolutions against Iraq. Any doubt about the death of these doctrines should have been dispelled last week, when Democratic congressional leaders endorsed the spirit of a proposed resolution authorizing the president to use pre-emptive force against Iraq to protect the security of this nation.
Forgive the long extract, but it was needed.
Maybe I’m just biased — du Pont is the only Republican Presidential candidate I ever worked for. Did some doorbell pushing and whatnot during the run-up to the Iowa Caucases back in ’88, and even “managed” “his” “campaign” for Professor Rick Hardy’s famous University of Missouri-Columbia mock election that same spring.
Give a freshman with a skinny tie and a big mouth a podium, and there’s gonna be trouble.
Got off topic there. If du Pont is right, the ramifications probably aren’t as great as he claims, but they’ll certainly be long-lasting, perhaps permanent — or at least as permanent as any new world order ever is.
Hopefully, we’ll go back to having a rambunctious, lucid Congress, willing to engage in real debate, and not act just as a rubber stamp or tiny yapping dog. So our actions abroad might become more unilateral, but certainly not before some serious multilateralism up on the Hill.
As for containment — madmen cannot be contained. And there’s not a rational actor in the world willing to take on the United States. That doctrine didn’t die with Bush’s words; it died along with 3,000 Americans last September.