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One thing that has always struck me in the books by Tom Clancy, which are a good introduction to the mindset of the assertive internationalist hawks, i.e. a good part of the mostly sane conservative foreign policy apparatus, is the respect the guy has for the Russians. They are the enemy, but they 'know the rules', and they are 'civilised', and they understand the stakes. They are taken seriously.

What they respected was power and the skill at using it. Hence the different treatment of a powerless third world country. People like Bush I and his team were always amoral pragmatists, albeit competent ones. A few months ago an article in the NYT quoted Scowcroft as being bewildered by what the hell Cheney had become. The catch is that I think Cheney was always a bit like this - he strongly opposed the Bush I/Baker/Scowcroft policy of engaging with Gorbachev on what basically amounted to an attitude of 'commies are evil and can't be trusted'.

Whenever I see Cheney in action I'm always reminded of Churchill's old quip about John Foster Dulles,  - 'a bull who carries his own china shop with him'.  JFD and his ilk in the Republican Party of the day were also unable to understand that the internationalist hawks of the Truman administration were not appeasing wimps who were afraid of using US power, but people who understood how to weigh costs and benefits. And like Cheney the JFD types saw themselves as tough minded realists.  Back then, though, we had a sane and very experienced president in Eisenhower to restrain them, now we've got Bush II.

by MarekNYC on Mon May 15th, 2006 at 05:59:12 PM EST
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