NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 23, 2008

The Democratic Party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy was an unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders, says Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

But this worldview began to come apart in the late 1960s, around the war in Vietnam.  In its place, a very different view of the world took root in the Democratic Party, says Lieberman:

  • Rather than seeing the Cold War as an ideological contest between the free nations of the West and the repressive regimes of the communist world, this rival political philosophy saw America as the aggressor.
  • The United States became a morally bankrupt, imperialist power whose militarism and "inordinate fear of communism" represented the real threat to world peace.
  • It argued that the Soviets and their allies were our enemy because we had provoked them, because we threatened them, and because we failed to sit down and accord them the respect they deserved; in other words, the Cold War was mostly America's fault.

Despite a resurgence in the 1980s and 1990s, far too many Democratic leaders hold this type of outlook today, says Lieberman.  That includes Barack Obama, who, contrary to his rhetorical invocations of bipartisan change, has not been willing to stand up to his party's left wing on a single significant national security or international economic issue in this campaign.

There are of course times when it makes sense to engage in tough diplomacy with hostile governments, says Lieberman. Yet what Obama has proposed is not selective engagement, but a blanket policy of meeting personally as president, without preconditions, in his first year in office, with the leaders of the most vicious, anti-American regimes on the planet.

Source: Joe Lieberman, "Democrats and Our Enemies," Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2008.

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