Thursday, May 8, 2008

John McCain Is Ditching The Policy That Defeated Communism

George W. Bush ditched it first, however.

From How to Lose a War by Steve Chapman:

When it comes to the war in Iraq and other foreign policy issues, Republicans like to harken back to the stalwart presidents of the Cold War. John McCain has invoked Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan as kindred spirits, and so has George W. Bush. Which raises the question: Why do they embrace those leaders while rejecting their policy?
But in the months before the Iraq war, it became a dirty word. "Containment is not possible," President Bush insisted, "when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies." The only remedy for such regimes lay in pre-emptive war. McCain agreed, saying the only option in Iraq was "disarmament by regime change."

Amid all the war hysteria, it was easy to forget containment worked against Stalin and Mao -- both unbalanced dictators with nuclear weapons. They were far more formidable tyrants with dreams of world domination. Yet we managed to preserve our security without pre-emptive war.

For that matter, containment had worked against Saddam Hussein. In the 12 years after the first Gulf War, we kept him in a box, where he was no threat to us or his neighbors. In 2002, he even had to accept the return of United Nations weapons inspectors -- who found no weapons of mass destruction because, thanks to our efforts, he had none.
Thanks go to Thoreau for posting 5 years later, it still makes sense.

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