02/01/05 — Shock! Foreign policy brings liberal consternation

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Shock! Foreign policy brings liberal consternation

Quite a bit of shocked opposition has filled the air in the last week about President Bush’s foreign policy. It has come mostly from liberals during the Senate’s confirming of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state.

Earlier, Democrats reacted with consternation over President Bush’s inaugural address, in which he boosted the idea of America promoting freedom in foreign countries, like Afghanistan and Iraq.

Whether or not this concept is appropriate, it is not necessarily Republican.

Bush’s speech brought to mind a well known assertion from an earlier inaugural address. It was:

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Those are not the words of some hawkish Republican. They are the words of that darling of the Democrats, John F. Kennedy, spoken Jan. 20, 1961.

The concept also calls to mind the Marshall Plan, under which the United States risked war with the Soviet Union and spent billions of dollars to promote social and economic freedom in war-devastated Europe. The president of the United States at the time was not some hawkish Republican, but Democrat Harry S. Truman.

And it calls to mind U.S. participation in fighting Nazi Germany during World War II. It wasn’t a hawkish Republican who was at the helm, but Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt.

And World War I — not a hawkish Republican, but Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

Critics of Bush’s policy are like the prefect of police in the movie “Casablanca.” He declared that he was “shocked — shocked!” to learn there was gambling in Rick’s cafe.

When you hear a politician claim to be shocked over anything, think of the prefect of police, who was careful to collect his winnings before he expressed his outrage.

Published in Editorials on February 1, 2005 9:15 AM