Policy Experts Speak Out – Palin Was Right On Bush Doctrine, Washington Post Reports

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 13, 2008; Page A01  

 

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin seemed puzzled Thursday when ABC News anchor Charles Gibson asked her whether she agrees with the “Bush doctrine.”

“In what respect, Charlie?” she replied.

Intentionally or not, the Republican vice presidential nominee was on to something. After a brief exchange, Gibson explained that he was referring to the idea — enshrined in a September 2002 White House strategy document — that the United States may act militarily to counter a perceived threat emerging in another country. But that is just one version of a purported Bush doctrine advanced over the past eight years.

Peter D. Feaver, who worked on the Bush national security strategy as a staff member on the National Security Council, said he has counted as many as seven distinct Bush doctrines. They include the president’s second-term “freedom agenda”; the notion that states that harbor terrorists should be treated no differently than terrorists themselves; the willingness to use a “coalition of the willing” if the United Nations does not address threats; and the one Gibson was talking about — the doctrine of preemptive war.

“If you were given a quiz, you might guess that one, because it’s one that many people associate with the Bush doctrine,” said Feaver, now a Duke University professor. “But in fact it’s not the only one.”

This debate may ordinarily be little more than cocktail chatter for the foreign policy establishment, but political blogs were buzzing yesterday over Palin’s entire interview with Gibson, including the confusion about the doctrine. Liberals said it was yet another case of Palin’s thin grasp on foreign policy, while conservatives replied that she handled herself well by putting the question back on Gibson.

After she asked Gibson to clarify what he meant, the anchor pressed Palin on whether the United States has “a right to make a preemptive strike against another country if we feel that country might strike us.”

“Charlie,” Palin replied, “if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.”

The campaign of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama directed reporters to online commentary about the exchange. “What Sarah Palin revealed is that she has not been interested enough in world affairs to become minimally conversant with the issues,” journalist James Fallows wrote on TheAtlantic.com. “Many people in our great land might have difficulty defining the ‘Bush Doctrine’ exactly. But not to recognize the name, as obviously was the case for Palin, indicates not a failure of last-minute cramming but a lack of attention to any foreign-policy discussion whatsoever in the last seven years.”

Conservatives ridiculed such reasoning. “What a bunch of nonsense,” Andrew C. McCarthy wrote on National Review Online. “Peanut gallery denizens like me, who don’t have states to run and who follow this stuff very closely, disagree intensely among ourselves about what the Bush Doctrine is.”

Outside foreign policy experts offered different reads on the question. Richard C. Holbrooke, who served key posts in both the Clinton and Carter administrations, said he saw the 2002 National Security Strategy of the White House as the critical statement of a Bush doctrine. (The White House staff member who helped draft the 2002 document, Stephen E. Biegun, now serves as Palin’s foreign policy adviser.)

The strategy document itself articulates the principle as follows: “The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction — and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.”

According to Holbrooke, “the core point is that the Bush people were extremely proud of it and they presented it as a historical breakthrough.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/12/AR2008091203324_2.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2008091203408&s_pos=

The “Bush Doctrine” – Gibson’s “Gotcha Question” – Why Palin got it right / Why Gibson was wrong

HOW PALIN GOT IT RIGHT – WHY GIBSON WAS WRONG – HOW BIAS EFFECTS GIBSON’S JOURNALISM  

ABC News’ Charles Gibson is being credited with stumping Sarah Palin on the definition of the “Bush Doctrine”.

The now infamous exchange went like this;

Gibson, “Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?”

Palin, “In what respect, Charlie?”

Gibson,The Bush — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be?” A snappy response for a professional Journalist.

Palin, “His world view?”

Gibson, “No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war,” 

Palin, “I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation” 

Gibson, “The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us.”

Is that so Mr. Gibson? In 2001, Gibson defined the so called “Doctrine” as, a promise that all terrorists organizations with global reach will be found, stopped and defeated.http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/09/12/palins-definition-of-bush-doctrine-hits-the-gibson-mark/ . 

Excuse my nit-picking, but please note that Mr. Gibson first used the term “Bush Doctrine” 1 year prior to when he claimed it was “enunciated” in September 2002.If I were Palin, I would have wondered, “What the hell is he talking about”. Remember that Gibson and crew had edited out Palin’s objection to being misquoted earlier in the interview.

Gibson’s clarification was not, in fact, an attempt to help Palin. It was an attempt to disguise his real purpose – another politically motivated “gotcha” question, much like his earlier misquote of Palin which was edited for the ABC program.  

I guess Mr Gibson might have applauded Govern Palin’s answer, had she only said, “I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation, and Charlie, the Bush Doctrine gives him the ability to use pre-emptive strikes”.

WHAT THE HECK IS THE BUSH DOCTRINE – the short explanation.

The “Bush Doctrine” is not a Government Document. It is not a law passed by Congress. The “Bush Doctrine” is a creation of the Press. It is the name loosely associated with a series of comments made by President Bush. There have been other “Doctrines” associated with other Presidents. The “so called” Bush Doctrine borrows heavily from prior Doctrines. It is claimed, by Journalists, to borrow from the Monroe Doctrine (President Monroe), the Truman Doctrine (President Truman) and even from President Reagan and the what the Press described as the Reagan Doctrine. If one looks hard enough, there are even traces of the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Clinton and Carter Doctrines within what the Press now describes as the Bush Doctrine. http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2002/issue2/jv6n2a5.html . 

Apparently, when a President is elected a  Doctrine with their name is not far behind.

The term “Bush Doctrine” was first coined by columnist Charles Krauthammer three months before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and 5 months after Bush took office.  Krauthammer noted that the definition used by Gibson, “is not the one in common usage today.http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/09/12/palins-definition-of-bush-doctrine-hits-the-gibson-mark/

Richard Starr, managing editor of the Weekly Standard said, “Palin was well within bounds to have asked him to be more specific, the doctrine has no universally acknowledged single meaning.” http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/09/12/palins-definition-of-bush-doctrine-hits-the-gibson-mark/ 

When the term “Bush Doctrine” is used in common discussions (not to be confused with Liberal Media questions) it is usually referring to a speech that President Bush made on September 27, 2001 to a Joint Session of Congress. During that speech President Bush said,  

“We will direct every resource at our command–every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war–to the destruction and to the defeat of the global terror network…We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. Our nation has been put on notice. We’re not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans.” http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2002/issue2/jv6n2a5.html

Compare Bush’s speech to Palin’s answer, “I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation.”

The similarities between the speech and the answer are striking.

As Gibson has a large research staff and as he, himself, had used a nearly identical definition in 2001, what are we to conclude? The answer to that question is obvious. One need not consider the earlier editing of the interview to “remove” Palin’s objection to being mis-quoted on an earlier question to understand why Gibson and the liberal media have reacted as they have. Media Bias is the answer.

What is the BUSH DOCTRINE – The Longer Answer – Not the complete answer

As stated above the concepts that the Media named the “Bush Doctrine” are a combination of the “old” and the “new”. Certain Commentators note items were brought forward from the Monroe and Truman Doctrines, other Commentators note that the Bush Doctrine borrows and diverges from the Reagan and Clinton Doctrines.                       

http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2002/issue2/jv6n2a5.html , http://claremont.org/publications/crb/id.1218/article_detail.asp. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20020715/falk  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/iraq/etc/cron.html

The Bush Doctrine contains four seperate elements; Military, Economic, Political and Post War recovery. These elements have undergone many revisions.

The basic components of the Military Element have evolved to include; offensive operations, including preemptive war, against terrorists and their abetters—more specifically, against the regimes that had sponsored, encouraged, or merely tolerated any terrorist group. Afghanistan, the headquarters of al-Qaeda and its patron the Taliban, was the doctrine’s first target. The United States would “not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the worlds most dangerous weapons. Some believe that the Bush Doctrine represents a return to the first principles of American security strategy.  

http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.1218/article_detail.asp  http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.15845/pub_detail.asp

The Political Elements have evolved from past Doctrines or are related to a number of speeches and interviews conducted by President Bush. 

Commentators have attributed the following characteristics to the Policital Elements of the Bush Doctrine: The Doctrine is said to put the democratization of once totalitarian, authoritarian, and persistently tribal societies at the center of its objectives. Left to itself, Afghanistan after the Soviets’ withdrawal did not resume its former ways, at least not for long, and certainly did not evolve into a democracy. Instead, it succumbed to the Taliban’s peculiar Islamic totalitarianism. Nevertheless, the Bush Administration’s policy is not merely to expunge the totalitarians there and in Iraq, but to ensure that they never return by reconstructing their societies along democratic lines. Authoritarianism is no longer acceptable. That there is a, “”universality of democracy and human rights” (para-phrasing JFK), that the Doctrine recognized the difference between a “right to be free” with the “capacity to be free”. http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.1218/article_detail.asp 

The Bush Doctrine was not an advocacy of a clash of civilizations or a Western crusade against Islam. http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2002/issue2/jv6n2a5.html

The Economic & Post War Recovery Elements. These elements are based on the premise that Democracy needs free markets to survive. Certain Commentators attribute an almost Marshall type plan (The Plan used to rebuild Europe, Japan and Germany after WW II) to the Bush Doctrine. This has become a matter of heated debate.  Afghanistan is often discussed in this regard. After Afghanistan defeated the Soviet invasion Liberals in this Country refused to fund moneys to help repair the infrastructure destroyed by the Soviets. In the devastation of post Soviet Afghanistan al-Queda took root.  

Conclusion:

At the risk of belabouring my point – It is ridiculous for ABC’s Gibson and the Liberal Media to act as if there is some sort of single document that defines the Bush Doctrine – that there is one clear answer to Gibson’s question, or that there was any answer that would more accurately describe the so called doctrine. After all the interview was only an hour long.

Gibson’s response to an honest request to elaborate on his question clearly demonstrates, at least to this writer, the game he was playing. Palin was not confused by his question, she simply didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

Mr Gibson should be ashamed. 

COMPARE THIS INTERVIEW TO GIBSON 2007 INTERVIEW OF OBAMA HERE: https://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/obamas-2007-interview-abcs-charlie-gibson-you-can-compare/  

 

ABC’s Gibson Interview of Palin – The Bush Doctrine Question – Gibson got it Wrong Again

Charles Krauthammer, the Columnist credited with coining the term “Bush Doctrine” says Gibson got it wrong again!

FOX News – September 12, 2008 – By Bill Samon

ABC News’ Charles Gibson, who is being credited with stumping Sarah Palin on the definition of the “Bush Doctrine,” has himself defined the nebulous phrase in a variety of ways, including one that mirrored Palin’s disputed explanation.

Gibson and his colleagues have been all over the map in defining the Bush Doctrine over the last seven years. In 2001, Gibson himself defined it as “a promise that all terrorists organizations with global reach will be found, stopped and defeated.”

But when Palin tried to give a similar definition on Thursday, Gibson corrected her.

“I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation,” Palin said in her first interview since being nominated as the GOP’s vice presidential candidate.

Gibson countered: “The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us.”

Much has been made of the fact that Palin had to ask for clarification when Gibson inquired: “Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?”

“In what respect, Charlie?” the Alaska governor said.

“The Bush — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be?” Gibson challenged.

“His world view?” Palin queried.

“No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war,” Gibson said.

That’s when Palin talked of ridding the world of “Islamic extremism,” prompting Gibson to define the Bush Doctrine instead as preemption.

The term “Bush Doctrine” was first coined by columnist Charles Krauthammer three months before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and has undergone profound changes as the war against terror has evolved.

There is no single meaning of the Bush Doctrine,” Krauthammer noted in a forthcoming column. “In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration — and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.”

Richard Starr, managing editor of the Weekly Standard, agreed.

Gibson should of course have said in the first place what he understood the Bush Doctrine to be–and specified that he was asking a question about preemption,” Starr observed. “Palin was well within bounds to have asked him to be more specific. Because, as it happens, the doctrine has no universally acknowledged single meaning.”

Starr pointed out that other ABC journalists, including George Stephanolous, George Will and the late Peter Jennings, have defined the Bush Doctrine on the air in a variety of ways.

Ben Smith of the Politico said the Bush Doctrine exchange was “not a great moment” for Palin. But he conceded that critics are unfairly “pouncing on Sarah Palin’s apparent unfamiliarity with the Bush Doctrine as last night’s gaffe.”

This isn’t an easy question,” Smith noted. “Commentators have offered a range of meanings for the phrase, from the principle that countries that harbor terrorists are responsible for their actions to broader statements about the spread of freedom.”

Starr added: “Preemptive war; American unilateralism; the overthrow of regimes that harbor and abet terrorists–all of these things and more have been described as the ‘Bush Doctrine.’ It was a bit of a sham on Gibson’s part to have pretended that there’s such a thing as ‘the’ Bush Doctrine, much less that it was enunciated in September 2002.”

Bill Sammon is Washington Deputy Managing Editor for FOX News.

BLOGGERS NOTE:This writer will post a BLOG tomorrow on this topic. To add to this confusion – their have actually been 2 separate “Bush Doctrines” – the second superseded the first – that version has undergone at least 4 revisions as noted above. The Bush doctrine contains 4 separate components  1). Military Action / Terrorism, 2) Political – Spreading Democracy, 3) Economic and 4) Post War Recovery and the roll of Democracies. The complicated Doctrine borrows from both the Truman Doctrine and the Monroe Doctrine. 

Gibson’s definition was not incorrect it was simply incomplete. Governor Palin’s request for more detail wasn’t surprising. The Governor’s response was equally correct but incomplete. A complete correct answer was impossible in the format – the interview was only 1 hour long.

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