Feature

George Bush, unwitting agent of change

To a large degree, the election of a new president will simply confirm that the U.S. has already entered a humbler, more cautious era, said Andrew<strong> </strong>J. Bacevich in the<strong> </strong><em>Los Angeles

Andrew J. BacevichLos Angeles Times

Barack Obama and John McCain promise a new era of change, said Andrew J. Bacevich. But both men have been pre-empted: “Even before the people have voted, they have spoken. Change has already occurred.’’ More evidence of that came two weeks ago, when President Bush’s State Department dropped North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. This compromise with a hostile, Stalinist state was “unimaginable’’ just a few years ago, when Bush defined his mission—and America’s —as “ending tyranny’’ and ridding the world of “evildoers.’’ But the arrogance of his “Bring ’em on!’’ philosophy ran into hard reality in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, and elsewhere, and is now “the equivalent of an oversized SUV.’’ It is the remnant of another age; it no longer sells. Americans have seen what trying to remake the world entails, and they want no part of war and conflict—“not until we’ve fixed what, s broken at home.’’ To a large degree, the election of a new president will simply confirm that the U.S. has already entered a humbler, more cautious era. “The Age of Triumphalism has ended. The Age of Salvaging What’s Left is upon us.”

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