Truman had a universal doctrine — “to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation.” Everywhere. So did Kennedy, who was willing to “pay any price, bear any burden… to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” So did George W. Bush with his Freedom Agenda, which would support democratic movements and institutions in every nation, with “the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in the world.” Here, there and everywhere.
The Obama doctrine, as presented on Monday night, says something very different: Maybe here, but not there; maybe a little, but not all the way. Maybe to save lives, but not to change regimes. Maybe to lead, but not for very long. In short, as President Obama stated, “the burden of action should not be America’s alone.”
(photo credit: Ashitaka San)