Men of Principle?

Joel Bleifuss

Ever wondered what Elliot Abrams, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Frank Gaffney were all doing back on June 3, 1997? They were publishing the New American Century’s “Statement of Principles,” which reads in part:Conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America’s role in the world. … We aim to change this. … Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests? … If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership. … We need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity and our principles. Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the success of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.

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