Friday, September 12, 2008

Sarah Palin, Charlie Gibson and the Bush Doctrine

So, Sarah Palin blew it when Charlie Gibson asked her whether she supported the so- called “Bush Doctrine.” She momentarily halted before asking, “In what respect?” Charlie Gibson could have clarifying his question. I wonder if he would have been more helpful if the interviewee would have been Barack Obama or any Democrat.

Palin answered the questions by saying, "I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell-bent in destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made, and with new leadership, and that's the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better."

I thought that was a pretty good answer. Apparently however, that was not an acceptable answer to the question that was asked. She apparently didn’t know that the Bush Doctrine is that the US has the right to presumptively attack a country that is believed to be a threat to the US.

I stay pretty informed and am a news junkie. I could not have given a succinct one-sentence definition of the Bush Doctrine prior to this interview. I am not so sure that very many people could do so.

Wikipedia would have failed the Charlie Gibson test. Here is the Wikipedia definition:

The Bush Doctrine is a term used to describe various related foreign policy principles of United States president George W. Bush, enunciated in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The phrase initially described the policy that the United States had the right to treat countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups as terrorists themselves, which was used to justify the invasion of Afghanistan.

Later it came to include additional elements, including the controversial policy of preventive war, which held that the United States should depose foreign regimes that represented a supposed threat to the security of the United States, even if that threat was not immediate (used to justify the invasion of Iraq), a policy of supporting democracy around the world, especially in the Middle East, as a strategy for combating the spread of terrorism, and a willingness to pursue U.S. military interests in a unilateral way.

Some of these policies were codified in a National Security Council text entitled the National Security Strategy of the United States published on September 20, 2002. This represented a dramatic shift from the United States's Cold War policies of deterrence and containment, under the Truman Doctrine, and a departure from post-Cold War philosophies such as the Powell Doctrine and the Clinton Doctrine.

The first usage of the term to refer to the policies of George W. Bush may have been when conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer used the term in February 2001 to refer to the president's unilateral approach to national missile defense.
The main elements of the Bush Doctrine were delineated in a National Security Council document, National Security Strategy of the United States, published on September 20, 2002, and this document is often cited as the definitive statement of the doctrine. The National Security Strategy was updated in 2006.

So, according to Wikipedia, there is a little more to the Bush Doctrine than the one-liner the pundits are telling us Sarah Palin should have known. Wikipedia says it is various related foreign policy principles

I don’t think Palin failed a test. I think Charlie Gibson was playing “gotcha.”

Ok, class, a pop quiz: Compare and contrast the Bush Doctrine, the Powell Doctrine, the Clinton Doctrine, the Reagan Doctrine and the Carter Doctrine giving the strengths and weaknesses and criticisms of each. If you get an “A” you are qualified to be Vice President.

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  1. I consider myself to be well-informed and I had no clue what the Bush Doctrine was....I think you're right...Charlie Gibson playing "gotcha"....Let's hope this gaffe isn't a deal breaker for the American People.

    I'm sure Sarah Palin was embarrassed and I'm sure this won't happen again....I can't wait for the VP Debate.

  2. "I could not have given a succinct one-sentence definition of the Bush Doctrine prior to this interview. I am not so sure that very many people could do so."

    Me, me, me! Raising hand high in the air... I could have told you what the Bush Doctrine was before the Gibson/Palin interview. I honestly thought it was pretty common knowledge. But apparently not, huh?