DEAN: MAINSTREAM?

After being trashed on the morning talk shows by the likes of Tom Delay (not surprising–indeed, I wish the GOP would keep Delay off television) and James Carville as out of the mainstream, I’m finally getting around to reading Howard Dean’s WaPo op-ed entitled, “Out of the Mainstream? Hardly.” I’m less than convinced. Indeed, given the events of the past week, Dean seems not so much out of the mainstream as caught in a warp in the space-time continuum:

[T]he Bush agenda represents a radical departure from decades of bipartisan consensus on the appropriate use of U.S. power and our leadership in the world community.

From its derisive treatment of allies to its rejection of important global agreements, this administration has favored a go-it-alone approach and a determination to use force as its weapon of first resort. Its approach has alienated friends and bolstered foes. Its agenda isolates the United States, placing responsibility for all the world’s problems in our hands, and runs counter to America’s traditions as a republic.

Let’s see:

  • Friends: The only historic allies that the Bush policies have crossed are the French and Germans, and they’re both coming around now since it’s increasingly obvious they were on the wrong side of history.
  • Foes: The Taliban and Saddam Hussein have been deposed. Al Qaeda is weakened and dispersed and, while certainly not out of business, certainly weaker than they were when this Administration took office. Gaddafi has agreed to dismantle his WMD program.
  • Security: Certainly bolstered by the events above–especially as compared to when radical Islam was fighting a war against us while we were pretending otherwise.
  • World’s problems: We’re the World’s Sole Remaining SuperpowerTM. During the last Administration, we were intervening in civil wars around the globe even when there was no conceivable connection to US national security. Now, we’re at least fighting against people who have done us harm or sworn to do so. That strikes me as an upgrade.
  • FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
    James Joyner
    About James Joyner
    James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.