“We would like to see all the peoples of the world enjoying the liberty and freedom that we have,” proclaimed Senator A. “But it is written in history that when an autocracy is removed by powers other than the people themselves, that autocracy will be replaced by an autocracy even more vicious. Democracy has never been bestowed upon a people by a paternal outside hand.”
Declared famous Senator B: “You cannot, in my opinion, just impose a democratic form of government on a country with no history and no culture and no tradition of democracy.”
“We should be more modest in our belief that we can impose democracy on a country through military force,” said well-known Senator C. “In the past, it has been movements for freedom from within tyrannical regimes … that have led to flourishing democracies.”
Let’s call the roll backward. Senator C is Barack Obama, November 2006. Senator B is Chuck Hagel, March 2006. And Senator A? Well, that was former Sen. Joseph McCarthy on July 4, 1939…
Update: Oh, yes, for the record I know that McCarthy was judge in 1939, not a Senator yet (though he was clearly planning on running long before 1946). The column should have been clearer on that.