Home / Articles / Dangerous Revisionism: On the Founders, ‘Neocons’ and the Importance of History
Debates regarding the Bush Administration’s grand strategy began long before the forty-third president left office. A group of distinguished historians and political scientists have argued over the course of the last few years that the Administration’s grand strategy did not represent a major break with historical precedent, as is sometimes argued, but continued the evangelical support for liberty that has always made the United States a “dangerous nation” to tyrants. Along the way, this revisionism creates straw men, and co-opts or redefines terms that are central to the traditional understanding of U.S. foreign policy. It also seems to misunderstand grand strategy itself, focusing almost entirely on continuity of ends while ignoring the rather glaring discontinuities in the ways that generations of U.S. presidents have chosen to pursue them. Overall, the revisionist project fails in both of its tasks, which are: To make the case that the Bush administration took actions of which the Founding Fathers would have understood and approved; and by implication, to justify the unnecessary, tragic war in Iraq.