By John Lewis Gaddis, Professor of Military and Naval History, Yale University
Reviewed by Francis P. Sempa, Contributing Editor
John Lewis Gaddis, one of the most perceptive historians of the Cold War, writes in the current issue of The American Interest that President George W. Bush may be the author of a foreign policy doctrine that ranks in greatness and consequential impact with the Monroe and Truman doctrines.
Gaddis' article will confound those who have accepted the conventional liberal view of Bush as intellectually incurious and dominated by a neoconservative cabal. Bush, writes Gaddis, "reads more history and talks with more historians than any of his predecessors since at least John F. Kennedy." Even more important, he "is interested--as no other occupant of the White House has been for quite a long time--in how the past can provide guidance for the future."
The Bush Doctrine, Gaddis believes, received its most coherent formulation in Bush's Second Inaugural Address, wherein the President proclaimed that "it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." Gaddis discerns "two concepts of liberty" inherent in Bush's speech: spreading democracy and ending tyranny; what Isaiah Berlin called "positive...