“America First” is the slogan implied by the first key appointments to George W. Bush’s foreign policy team. The world they’ll be dealing with isn’t automatically thrilled at the prospect. In London, the liberal Guardian editorializes that Colin Powell, the next Secretary of State, is the patriotic face on a threatening, go-it-alone, anti-internationalist way of thinking. Condoleezza Rice got her job as national security adviser by making Mr. Bush comfortable with foreign policy issues he doesn’t much like. But Powell is already the name of a doctrine.
General Powell is a Vietnam-era soldier who believes in military intervention as a last resort and then, famously, in overwhelming force. His line on winning the Gulf war but staying out of the Balkans was: we do deserts, we don’t do mountains. Meaning still: we won’t tolerate American casualties, and we expect Europe to police its neighborhood. Bush II and the world are this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Barry Posen, MIT military analyst
and Former Ambassador to the Soviet Union under Presidents Reagan and Bush, Jack Matlock, now at Princeton.