John Podhoretz believes the president’s speech last night was not only powerful but of “world-historical import” and, along with his West Point speech of last May outlining the preemption doctrine and his speech last September throwing down the gauntlet to the UN, signs of a radical reshaping of the world order. Not only have we completed the circle began on 9/11 and started to turn the tide against terrorism, but we have changed the focus of our entire foreign policy:

The spread of liberty throughout the world, the president suggested, should be a foreign-policy priority of the United States: “American values and American interests lead in the same direction: We stand for human liberty.”

A very interesting analysis and one I partially share. Clearly, we have learned that we have to take bold action to prevent another 9/11 and, contrary to the fears of many, that does not just mean fighting wars with everyone who might become our enemy but changing the circumstances of people who might grow up to be terrorists. The problem, though, is the sheer magnitude of the task. Even with our vast wealth and military superiority, we lack the resources to change the planet one country at a time.

(Hat tip: RealClear Politics)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Scott Harris says:

    I think you are trying to swallow the whole elephant at one time. Early in the ’60s, Kennedy made the bold prediction of going to the moon within the decade. It was accomplished.

    The task of changing the world is daunting. But one bite at a time, it can be done. Not only can freedom prevail, it must prevail.

  2. John Lemon says:

    And “one country at a time” need not mean invading or directly intervening. I took Bush’s American values sentence quoted above to mean that we are an example to be emulated by people who want to change their countries internally. Don’t forget, “tear(ing) down this wall” was a pretty wild goal some 15 years ago. No one said it could be done.