Leslie H. Gelb:
PROFESSORS TUCKER and Hendrickson so devastate the Bush Doctrine of democratizing and bringing freedom to the world as to raise questions about whether the administration actually believes its own rhetoric.
First of all, the real policymakers in the administration come down to six people, and while President Bush might well believe his new doctrine, he has no track record on the subject before entering the White House. Nor did he say much on this subject broadly during his first term. Vice President Cheney, on the other hand, is a hard-headed conservative pragmatist whose history would suggest great skepticism about policies designed to transform the world. Secretary of State Rice spent most of the Clinton years calling that administration dangerously naive for fomenting notions like human rights and democracy. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld delights in debating doctrines, not advancing them. Stephen Hadley, the national security advisor and consummate policy lawyer, never met a generalization, let alone a high-falutin' idea, he liked. Karl Rove, the key White House political strategist, probably doesn't object to promoting democracy abroad as long as it helps Mr. Bush and hurts the Democrats at home. (And who could be surprised to find such noble motives in American politics?) One other, now departed, was present in the Pentagon at the creation of the democracy doctrine-Paul Wolfowitz, who almost certainly believed it then.
Before Mr. Wolfowitz and many other top officials left the administration, they wedged hordes of neoconservative acolytes into the bureaucracy. They remain true believers. As for the throngs of career underlings throughout the government, they generally convey careful reserve, bordering on insouciance, about the doctrine.