You’ll never hear it from his successor, but George W. Bush is piling up a list of items that provide considerable vindication of most of the elements of his foreign policy, including the hated Bush Doctrine. In a recent Townhall article Larry Elder credits his overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq for encouraging and emboldening the regime-threatening unrest in Iran, and this is borne out by the comments of key Iranian intellectuals and journalists, who report that witnessing the democratization of Iraq has had a significant impact on Iran’s dissidents. Elder also reminds us that the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon was largely inspired by the invasion of Iraq and subsequent elections, as has been validated by Lebanese Druze Muslim leader Walid Jumblatt, who called it the “start of a new Arab world”. And of course, the Iraq invasion was instrumental in convincing Libya’s dictator Gaddafi to surrender his weapons of mass destruction.
To Elder’s list, I would add the following key elements of the Bush foreign policy that are alive and well, one year into a regime that was committed to rolling most of them back: the “unsigning” of the International Criminal Court charter; Guantanamo is still open for business; military tribunals, for which there is still no better option for the jihadists, are hanging on; the Patriot Act remains the law of the land; the surge in Iraq, key to ultimate success there, and soon to be in Afghanistan; and the universal birthright to freedom, a concept grudgingly acknowledged even by President Obama.
I often said during his term that whoever succeeded Bush would be hard pressed to find a better strategy for the defeat of radical jihadism than the Bush Doctrine. So far, no one has. History will eventually recognize that, the left never will.