President Bush's fiscal 2004 budget has little foreign policy content but, properly understood, has immense foreign policy implications. If Baghdad, Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Seoul understand this administration's comprehensive boldness, they will understand not only that regime change is coming to Iraq but also that the end of NATO as we have known it, and the removal of U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula, are not unthinkable.
The budget evokes 1862. In that annus mirabilis, with the national government's writ severely restricted and the entire American project in doubt, Lincoln and Congress nevertheless enacted the Homestead Act, which sped the settlement of the Great Plains; the Morrill Act, which begot the land grant college system; and the law that ignited construction of the transcontinental railroad.
This invocation of the ghost of Lincoln is used to qualify every plutocratic, destructive move by an ex-governor of Texas.
But Lincoln, as a congressman, voted against statehood for Texas.
Wouldn't it be a different country now if Lincoln had gotten his way?
"No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent," said Abraham Lincoln, representing the views of the real party of Lincoln. The current Republican administration concerns itself not at all with the consent of anyone but its obsequious minority, and maybe not even that.
A lot more than W's budget evokes 1862. The political climate in 2003 reeks of another civil war spurred by dividend-wielding corporate plantation owners stealing the wages of their worker-slaves.