November 21, 2003

"His critics have yet to offer anything close to a competing vision"

This, in OpinionJournal, is dead on....

....In his Whitehall speech, Mr. Bush continued his recent (and welcome) effort to focus on the battle of ideas behind the war on terror. In this he echoed Prime Minister Tony Blair's words to the U.S. Congress in July: "Our ultimate weapon is not our guns but our beliefs." Mr. Bush's Administration--his Pentagon--has been more effective at killing and disrupting the terrorists than his State Department has been at promoting an alternative vision to the Mideast status quo.

Mr. Bush is now taking up the latter task himself, and without moral apology. "We must shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East," he told Britons. "Your nation and mine in the past have been willing to make a bargain: to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability." He added--in a direct rebuke to his critics in the old foreign policy establishments--that "it is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited to liberty; it is pessimism and condescension, and we should have none of it."

Many, including some of Mr. Bush's admirers, predicted his British trip would be a public-relations debacle. But with so much of the world watching the visit has proven instead to be a great opportunity to explain the moral purposes of what the President and Mr. Blair are attempting in Iraq. His critics have yet to offer anything close to a competing vision.

Posted by John Weidner at November 21, 2003 7:31 AM
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