Not like Ike

Earlier this week, my conservative cousin from New York made the following observations after watching diplomatic historian John Gaddis on C-SPAN’s “Booknotes” program:
“While [Gaddis] was disappointed with Bush’s failure to generate greater foreign support for his efforts in Iraq, [he] thought that the overall strategy of preemptive strikes against terror networks was correct. Gaddis is an expert on the history of the Cold War and is the official biographer of George Kennan. In his view Kennan’s containment strategy isn’t applicable to the new threat we face from groups that operate outside of the traditional nation state.
“Gaddis opined that if Kerry were elected conditions would likely compel him to follow a similar strategy. Perhaps he is correct but I am concerned that the left-wing intellectuals, government unions and trial lawyers that dominate the Democratic party have different priorities than national security.
“There is however historical precedent for Gaddis’ scenario. When Dwight Eisenhower was elected, many in his party favored a retreat from world affairs or a more confrontational approach towards dealing with the Soviet Union. Instead, Ike adopted to largely continue the containment strategy of his predecessor.”
Correct. However, Ike was in, but not of, the Republican party of that day. Kerry’s priorities are largely indistinguishable from those of the left-wing intellectuals, government unions and trial lawyers that dominate his party. In fact, Kerry no doubt fancies himself one of those intellectuals. Thus, my cousin’s concern that Kerry will not be willing to strike out preemptively and unilaterally against terrorists and those states that harbor them is well-founded.

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