Bush's Many Doctrine(s) ...

Matt Lewis
|
Posted: Sep 13, 2008 11:03 AM
It's taken a couple of days, but several prominent writers and reporters are beginning to debunk Charlie Gibson's "gotcha" question on the so-called "Bush Doctrine." 

Charles Krauthammer -- who coined the phrase "The Bush Doctrine" -- has a good column up today on the topic.  But so does Washington Post staff writer Michael Abramowitz.  In a prominent article today, he reports this: 

"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."

I have a few thoughts on the subject ...

... This was never going to hurt her, anyway, as it is primarily seen as an "inside baseball" semantics argument, or, in other words, something that few real voters will think about or care about.

... Even if palin knew what Gibson was trying to say, because the phrase has primarily become a derisive one, Palin might have been wise to feign not understanding it.  This is, after all, not a self-imposed name, but rather, a media invention.  Palin's point, of course, would have been that she does not accept the notion that the so-called "Bush Doctrine" is what defines Bush's presidency.  In fact, the theory that Bush wants to democratize the world (his "freedom agenda") is -- whether you agree with that philosophy, or not -- probably more central to understanding Bush's foreign policy philosophy...