March 27, 2004

Oh bliss, for former woes, a thousandfold repaid...

Thinking about the previous post, if plain talk and honesty become the new fashion in the world, it will have to be ascribed to the influence of George W Bush.

There have been a number of times when his clarity and refusal to bullshit have thrilled me utterly. But one of the best, one of the sweetest, one that made me want to fall on my knees and shout PraiseGodHallelujah Delivered at Last! was in April 2001 when he torpedoed the doctrine of Strategic Ambiguity.

It was invented by our worst president, Jimmy Carter, who abrogated the 1955 treaty in which we promised to aid Taiwan if attacked. Instead, we would be "ambiguous" on the question. Carter, of course, never met a dictator he didn't like. But for the United States of America to be ambiguous between a friendly capitalist democratic nation and a brutal tyranny that has no love for us whatsoever was a disgraceful thing. Especially when the end of the Cold War nullified the original reason for the stinking thing.

Here's David Frum's description:

...Perhaps Bush's attention slipped, or more likely, perhaps he could no longer bear the sound of his own voice mouthing the State Department's platitudes. But when interviewed by ABC's Charles Gibson, he dropped the talking points and spoke with startling candor.

Gibson asked: "If Taiwan were attacked by China, do we have an obligation to defend the Taiwanese?"

"Yes, we do," Bush replied.

Astonished, Gibson pressed for clarification. He did not need to say a word, for Bush pressed on unprompted: "And the Chinese must understand that. Yes I would."

Gibson, even more amazed: "with the full force of the American military?"

And Bush gave his final answer, "Whatever it took too help Taiwan defend herself."

"Strategic Ambiguity" was dead...

After so many disappointments and "ambiguities," to be alive at this time is sweet recompense. "Oh bliss, for former woes, a thousandfold repaid."


Posted by John Weidner at March 27, 2004 9:28 PM
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