Obama Revives Cold War Liberalism

In Nobel speech, a 'Christian realist' Obama Doctrine
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2009 5:33 AM CST
Obama Revives Cold War Liberalism
President Obama's Nobel speech appears on a big screen at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, Friday, Dec. 11, 2009.    (AP Photo/Odd Andersen)

President Obama's Oslo speech showed a spirit of Christian realism that most liberals abandoned after Vietnam but that would have been very familiar to Harry Truman, writes David Brooks. Obama, by acknowledging that evil exists and stressing that power needs to be constrained within institutions like NATO, is applying the ideas behind Cold War liberalism to a different time, Brooks writes in the New York Times.

The president spoke of America's role in spreading democracy, of the moral obligation to defend freedom and of the "two seemingly irreconcilable truths" that war is both folly and necessary, Brooks notes. Obama has not always gotten the balance right between championing freedom and avoiding "self-destructive fervor, " he adds, but the Obama doctrine is becoming clear. "The Oslo speech was the most profound of his presidency, and maybe his life." (Read more David Brooks stories.)

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