By the beginning of 1980, Jimmy Carter was in big trouble. Almost everything he had said or done in foreign policy over the prior three years had failed — and he was running for reelection.
Carter had come into office in 1977 promising a new American stance abroad predicated on human rights. He bragged of an end to our supposedly inordinate fear of Soviet-inspired Communism. He entertained the hope of not losing a single American soldier in combat during his tenure. And he rejected the realpolitik of the Nixon-Kissinger years.
The State Department would end the excessive influence of the bellicose National Security Council. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance would put a kinder, gentler face on American diplomacy. We championed Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe over more moderate black reformers. We broke with the Shah of Iran, who fled his country in January 1979. We for a while praised the Ayatollah Khomeini and sought ways to reach out to him. Carter’s U.N. ambassador, Andrew Young, called Khomeini “some kind of saint.” Young met secretly with PLO representatives in Kuwait. In an interview, he falsely alleged of his own country that “We still have hundreds of people that I would categorize as political prisoners in our prisons.” Continue reading “A New Obama Doctrine?”→
The mythologizing of John F. Kennedy in the 50 years since his death has verified the adage in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The JFK legend recycled all these years is of a liberal icon, the glamorous martyr whose violent death has validated and sanctified big government, redistributive economic polices, and quasi-pacifist internationalism. The facts, however, belie this myth, which also obscures the true significance of JFK’s brief administration.
In reality, Kennedy was not a liberal in today’s sense of the word, but a conservative Democrat, a Cold-War warrior and tax-cutter, as documented by Ira Stoll in JFK, Conservative. Far from the civil rights saint portrayed in the legend, his support for civil rights legislation was lukewarm, driven by the momentum for desegregation started before him by Truman’s desegregation of the armed forces, and codified by Eisenhower in the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights acts, the first civil rights legislation since 1875. In fact, Kennedy believed that over-hasty progress on civil rights would alienate the conservative Southern wing of the Democrats. That’s why he advised Martin Luther King against his groundbreaking March on Washington in August of 1963, and put little effort into passing additional civil rights legislation. Continue reading “Facts, Democrats and the JFK Legend”→
Who said that newspapers are supposed to report the news in an objective and fact-based way?
by Bruce S. Thornton
The revelation that the Department of Justice acquired and read the phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters does not change the obvious fact that the mainstream media have been reliable supporters of the Democratic Party, even if they are unappreciated by the administration. Continue reading “A Brief History of Media Bias”→
Western Warfare, as originated by the Greeks and systematized by the Romans, took various forms over the ensuing two millennia. European militaries put greater emphasis on decisive battles such as Gaugamela or Kursk. They focused on collective discipline, the importance of staying in rank, superior technology, and logistics. Continue reading “More Rubble, Less Trouble”→
Mitt Romney recently said something on Fox News Sunday that raises questions about his understanding of history and its pertinence for foreign policy. In the course of talking about the war in Iraq and the “lessons learned” from that conflict and its “errors,” Romney responded to a question about an incident from his father’s brief 1967-68 run for the Republican nomination. Continue reading “What Does Romney Really Think About Vietnam?”→
The traditionalist critique of the university — I made it myself over thirteen years ago in the co-authored Who Killed Homer? — was that somewhere around the time of the Vietnam War, higher education changed radically for the worse. Continue reading “The Fannie and Freddie University”→
William Shawcross, the British journalist, historian, and human rights advocate — once a fierce critic of the Nixon-Kissinger years, now a defender of the West’s struggle against radical Islam — has written the best book yet on the dilemmas Western governments face in dealing with Islamic terrorists.1 Continue reading “The American Way of War”→