Israel and America

Parallel Lives, Similar Mistakes

In the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush promised a more humble U.S. foreign policy.  Five years later, that pledge has turned out to be nothing but disingenuous rhetoric used to contrast his campaign with the activist foreign policy of the Clinton-Gore administration.  Of course, the Bush administration would claim that September 11 changed everything.  Yet Paul O’Neill, President Bush’s former treasury secretary, and Richard Clarke, his former chief counterterrorism advisor, have revealed that the administration was champing at the bit to invade Iraq well before September 11 and in spite of the fact that the threat of Al Qaeda was far more pressing.  This indicates that President Bush never had any intention of adopting the promised, “more humble” foreign policy.

Similarly, early on, the administration noted that both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appeared unwilling to take real steps to solve it.  Its initial rhetoric indicated that it would take a more “hands off” approach to the conflict—in contrast to Bill Clinton’s frenetic efforts to reach a solution.  Yet the Bush administration then flip-flopped again and adopted a more activist policy that its predecessor, thus continuing the political tradition of criticizing your predecessor during the election and adopting his polices after taking office.

On both general U.S....

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