President Bush's State of the Union Address last Wednesday included the most audacious presidential foreign policy utterances since President Kennedy's demand that the Soviet Union remove its atomic weapons from Cuba in 1963. The impact of President Bush's words may be at least as historically consequential as Kennedy's.
This follows on his Inaugural Address, in which he put forward the principle that will undergird his foreign policy, to wit: Our security requires all tyrannies in the world to be converted into democracies, ultimately. In the days following that address, some of his senior aides and his father, the former president, tried to soften those words, suggesting there was nothing really new about them. After last Wednesday's SOU speech, it is safe to say those softening or backpeddling explanations are now nugatory.
The SOU speech began to lay out the programmatic expression of the Inaugural Address's general propositions.
To Syria, the president said: "We must confront regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder. Syria still allows its territory, and parts of Lebanon, to be used by terrorists who seek to destroy every chance of peace in the region, and we expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom." Notice the verbs he used: "must confront," "we expect," "to end."
To Iran, he said: "Today, Iran remains the world's primary state sponsor of terror, pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. The Iranian regime must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium reprocessing, and end its support for terror. And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you."
There is only one word that describes each of those two statements: Ultimatum -- a final demand, the rejection of which will end negotiations and cause a resort to force or other action. The president has not left much to talk about, other than the technical procedures by which the uranium programs and terror support programs are to be dismantled.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.