If the cold war presidents had acted like George W. Bush …

February 3, 2008 | By | Reply More

Fred Kaplan’s has written a new book, Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power. He argues that George W. Bush’s failures stem from two great misconceptions: A) that the world changed after Sept. 11, when it didn’t, and B) that the United States emerged from the Cold War stronger than before, when in fact it was weaker. Here’s what I found especially interesting (from Part I of excerpts of this book published by Slate.com):

If America’s Cold War presidents had adopted Bush’s strategic post-9/11 strategic outlook, they would have attacked the Soviet Union at some point during the long standoff, on the grounds that Communism was the “root cause” of many problems. If Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill had thought the way Bush did while planning the strategy for World War II, they would not have formed an alliance with the Soviet Union in order to beat Nazi Germany, because Communism, especially Josef Stalin’s version of it, was evil, too. They might even have declared war on both Russia and Germany—and, in their high moral dudgeon, suffer catastrophic defeat.

The great divide in thinking about American foreign policy these past few years is not so much between Realists and Neoconservatives; it’s between realists (with a small r) and fantasists.

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Category: Military, Politics, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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