Backpedaling From the Inauguration

Maybe the president shouldn’t have asked neocon hawks like Charles Krauthammer for help with the speech:

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.

It seems to me President Bush overplayed his hand. In 1917, with Europe engulfed in its bloodiest war to date and nuclear weapons still nearly 30 years away, making “the world safe for democracy” played better than it does today.

Backing away from an inaugural address, which you’d assume was run past top advisors before it was delivered, is not a good way to start off the president’s second term.

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