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January 09, 2009

The Bush Legacy
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Christian Brose over at Foreign Policy's new Shadow Government blog, which includes a number of conservative foreign policy intellectuals and practitioners who served in the Bush administration, writes about the President's legacy.

And that, with respect to Jacob Weisberg, is for me the real Bush tragedy -- the sense of missed opportunity, of how far too often the administration's own actions set back the cause of the very ideas it correctly championed, and how by the time it rightly shifted course, it was mostly too late.

Iraq, thankfully, is turning around. But Afghanistan is an open question. North Korea has a nuclear weapon. Iran is on the doorstep. The window for a two-state solution is smaller. Liberty is a dirty word to many people, even many liberals. Talk of good governance, as Philip points out, is tainted by prisoner abuse. Free trade has become synonymous with rising inequality and financial calamity. And after one of the most self-proclaimed idealistic presidencies in recent memory, our public discourse is making a fetish out of pragmatism.

Now, that is pretty harsh coming from someone who worked in the administration for a number of years.  I do disagree with Brose about the wisdom and value of some of the Bush administration's foreign policy goals - even if we basically agree on the consequences.  But  one of the thoughts that has gone through my mind while working on NSN's own rather exhaustive review of the President's foreign policy is how remarkably often his actions managed to produce the exact opposite outcomes of the one he was looking for. 


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"...the very ideas it correctly championed..."

No, the ideas were not correct. Neither were they incorrect: they were allegories.

I am currently trying to lead a discussion on George Bush's Legacy on my blog,

I would be happy to have new readers, and new commentators.


James - The Hype

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