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Nothing New Here

Yesterday we looked at some of the religious allusions in the Bush speech. What did the political allusions to "end tyranny around the world" really mean?

When Bush stated that "today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world," and that "All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors." Did that "speaking anew" really mean anything concretely or practically new in how the US deals with autocracies around the world?


No, according to White House officials. They say Bush's speech represents "no significant shift" in US foriegn policy.


And for someone who said, "I don't do nuance," somehow, he's gotten pretty good at it, with White House officials saying that the speech was "carefully and specfically nuanced," and "carefully written" to avoid tieing the president down to anything "inflexible" relating to ending tyranny around the globe.

From the Washington Post:

"White House officials said yesterday that President Bush's soaring inaugural address, in which he declared the goal of ending tyranny around the world, represents no significant shift in U.S. foreign policy but instead was meant as a crystallization and clarification of policies he is pursuing in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and elsewhere.

Nor, they say, will it lead to any quick shift in strategy for dealing with countries such as Russia, China, Egypt and Pakistan, allies in the fight against terrorism whose records on human rights and democracy fall well short of the values Bush said would become the basis of relations with all countries.

Bush advisers said the speech was the rhetorical institutionalization of the Bush doctrine and reflected the president's deepest convictions about the purposes behind his foreign policies. But they said it was carefully written not to tie him to an inflexible or unrealistic application of his goal of ending tyranny."

White House officials argued that some observers have read more into the speech than is there. "The speech was carefully and purposely nuanced," said presidential speechwriter and policy adviser Michael J. Gerson. "We are dealing with a generational struggle. It's not the work of a year or two."
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