Friday, November 28, 2008

Obama: Change a Bush Just Might Believe In

The antiwar left is not too happy about Obama’s national security choices. A speech Obama made six years ago indicates that Obama’s approach to foreign policy is much like that of George H.W. Bush. Obama may prove to be less an idealist than a realist.

A Washington Post article by E.J. Dionne Jr. entitled “Obama’s Bush Doctrine” explains that the meaning behind Obama’s “apparent” decision to keep Robert Gates on as defense secretary and to select Hillary Clinton as secretary of state can be discovered in understanding Obama’s words and his George H.W. Bush approach to foreign policy.

In electing Barack Obama, the country traded the foreign policy of the second President Bush for the foreign policy of the first President Bush.

According to the article, Obama’s has been “relying heavily on foreign policy specialists” that are closely associated with Clinton. His choice of Clinton will enhance his image of strength because Clinton has “strong ties to the military” and she has a “carefully cultivated image of tough-mindedness.”

And the article notes that Gates can help Obama organize the withdrawal from Iraq and “bless it.”

The article also reports that Obama has had conversations with Bush senior’s “closest foreign policy adviser, Brent Scowcroft”.

Obama has drawn counsel from many in Scowcroft's circle, and Gates himself was deputy national security adviser under Scowcroft.

The article goes on at some length to analyze a famous speech Obama gave in 2002.

Antiwar Democrats cheered Obama for addressing a rally against the Iraq war in Chicago's Federal Plaza on Oct. 2, 2002. His opposition to the war was a major asset in his nomination struggle with Clinton. . .

Obama did indeed denounce the impending war as "dumb," "rash" and "based not on reason but on passion." But in retrospect, the speech may be most notable for other things Obama said that separated him from some in his antiwar audience.

Not only did Obama state five times that he didn’t oppose all wars, and that he would willingly “take up arms myself” to prevent another 9/11 from happening, it appears that Obama was echoing Brent Scowcroft’s “widely noted 2002 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, published six weeks before Obama gave his speech.”

Trackposted to Political Byline The World According to Carl, Rosemary's News and Ideas, Leaning Straight Up, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker, Democrat=Socialist, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.


  1. Obama has always been a pragmatic realist. Only the ideologues on the right have tried to paint him as some radical Marxist. His brilliant performance to date is exactly what those of us hwo supported him knew would occur. You are the only people who are surprised.

  2. Not according to the rants on the left against Obama. That was his base, or didn't you know?

  3. No, "the left" wasn't his base. I worked as a full-time volunteer in the Obama campaign for a year and a half, in California, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada and Texas. His base was a wide cross-section of young committed people, elders who had grown disaffected with politics, etc -- they were largely independent, and saw in Obama an inspirational, pragmatic, non-ideologue. It was the GOP and the right who created the cartoon Obama as a committed "socialist" - and maybe some on the left came to believe it. But his base know better, and we are delighted at his wise choices to date.