Instead, Gaddis paints Reagan as a man ahead of his time. While foreign policy “realists” including Vice President George H.W. Bush, Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell expected the USSR to be a near-permanent fixture, Reagan intended to bring down the Soviet Union, and he took steps to do so. The world is a better place today because Reagan dreamed of a world free from Soviet tyranny.
Our enemy today isn’t communism -- it’s radical Islam. But Bush has a plan to win, and setting up a successful government in Iraq is a big part of that plan. Woodward writes that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the White House, “A radical Islamic or Taliban-style government in Iraq would be a model that could challenge the internal stability of the key countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.”
Kissinger gets it. And the opposite is true as well. A pluralistic government in the heart of the Islamic world could show Muslims they’re better off living under a “westernized” system than they’d be under Osama bin Laden’s dream of an Islamic caliphate.
As Mark Steyn writes in his new book America Alone, western ideas are under attack around the world. Islamic immigrants are moving into Europe in record numbers and they’re using Western “multiculturalism” to mute any criticism of their methods or discussion of their goals. But even though they’re living here, many refuse to integrate into our society. “Second- and third-generation European Muslims feel far more fiercely Islamic than their parents and grandparents,” Steyn writes.
As proof, remember that several of the 9/11 plotters spent years living in the West and enjoying our freedoms, but they attacked us anyway. Clearly, our openness won’t defeat radical Islamists.
But perhaps “moderate” Muslims can take back their faith, which again brings us back to Iraq. If it’s successful, Iraq will be a beacon for moderates. “Europe’s problems don’t nullify the Bush Doctrine so much as present a more urgent case for it,” Steyn writes. Exactly.
If Bush is correct about the big issues, in the year 2025 Yale historians may well be writing books about his successful vision. The war’s a risk, but one worth taking.