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CATO comes out strong against the new Bush Doctrine

Yep, we’re still talking about Bush’s inaugural speech. This was a pretty interesting article I received this morning regarding a comparison between Bush’s inaugrual speech and that of former President John Kennedy:

Few observers would have expected President Bush’s second inaugural address to draw comparisons with one of the most famous speeches in American history. Yet the parallels to John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address are unmistakable. That is not necessarily a good thing.

Take Bush’s promise to ‘stand with . . . all who live in tyranny and hopelessness.’ The sentiment is reminiscent of Kennedy’s saying the U.S. would ‘pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.’

But history reveals that Kennedy did not actually expect to pay any price to defend liberty. Less than three months after he had uttered those words, he worried about the fate of the CIA-trained Cuban emigres who had launched an invasion at the Bay of Pigs to overthrow Fidel Castro. Refusing to ‘pay any price,’ Kennedy altered crucial aspects of the invasion plan for fear that American fingerprints on the operation would arouse the ire of Castro’s patrons in Moscow.

Not a terrible assessment. Ending tyrrany is good; doing it at any price necessary is the kind of overextension that ultimately led to the downfall of the British Empire a century ago.

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