Buckley finds himself parting ways with President Bush, whom he praises as a decisive leader but admonishes for having strayed from true conservative principles in his foreign policy.In particular, Buckley views the three-and-a-half-year Iraq War as a failure.
“If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we’ve experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign,” Buckley says.
Asked if the Bush administration has been distracted by Iraq, Buckley says “I think it has been engulfed by Iraq, by which I mean no other subject interests anybody other than Iraq… The continued tumult in Iraq has overwhelmed what perspectives one might otherwise have entertained with respect to, well, other parts of the Middle East with respect to Iran in particular.”
Despite evidence that Iran is supplying weapons and expertise to Hezbollah in the conflict with Israel, Buckley rejects neo-conservatives who favor a more interventionist foreign policy, including a pre-emptive air strike against Iran and its nuclear facilities.
“If we find there is a warhead there that is poised, the range of it is tested, then we have no alternative. But pending that, we have to ask ourselves, ‘What would the Iranian population do?'” …
Asked what President Bush’s foreign policy legacy will be to his successor, Buckley says “There will be no legacy for Mr. Bush. I don’t believe his successor would re-enunciate the words he used in his second inaugural address because they were too ambitious. So therefore I think his legacy is indecipherable.”