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Communique items for Apr. 17


COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO -- A former speech writer for U.S. President Richard Nixon believes the nation’s 37th president likely would not have invaded Iraq if president today.

James C. Humes, Schuck fellow for the study of statecraft at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, based his speculation on his long association with the president and a wallet-size card titled “Ten Commandments of Statecraft” that Nixon kept at his bedside until his 1994 death.  Humes received the card as a gift from the former president’s estate. Nixon was known for his expertise in foreign policy, including the beginning of diplomatic relations with China.

 Humes said the former president believed Saddam Hussein “a boastful megalomaniac who wanted the world to think he had weapons of mass destruction or would soon have them.”  But instead of invading, Humes believes Nixon would have treated Iraq as he did the Soviet Union during his presidency, as a manageable threat.

Humes’ opinion comes after applying a Nixon commandment that a country’s native population will always turn against an invading force, regardless of how ruthlessly it was oppressed by ruling regimes.

“Nixon was very much a realist,” Humes said. “He would have scoffed at Secretary of Defense (Donald) Rumsfeld’s declarations that Iraqis would hail the U.S. invading troops as liberators.”

While Humes believes that Nixon would not have invaded Iraq, he acknowledged the former president believed democracy a panacea for Middle East problems. Nixon was known to quote Winston Churchill who declared “democracy is the worst form of government except for every other form that has been tried from time to time.”

Having witnessed reconstruction in Germany and Japan following WWII, Humes also believes Nixon would have utilized the former Iraqi army to maintain stability and would have planned reconstruction more effectively than the current administration.

Had Nixon ordered an invasion of Iraq, Humes also believes the former president would have used a larger force, following the principle of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower who believed “the more superior the invasion force, the sooner withdrawal can begin.”

A critic of the United Nations, Humes also believes Nixon would not have involved the world organization in Iraq policy decisions as President George Bush has done.

Other principles from Nixon’s foreign policy commandments Humes believes apply to today’s efforts in the Middle East include “Never let your adversary underestimate what you would do in a challenge. Never tell him what you will not do.” 


Humes, a research fellow assigned to the Center for the Study of Government and the Individual at UCCS was a speech writer for presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush. He is the author of “Nixon’s Ten Commandments of Statecraft” and more than 30 other books on history, international policy and literature.

UCCS, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in northeast Colorado Springs, is the fastest growing university in Colorado and one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The university offers 25 bachelor’s degrees, 18 master’s and two doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls about 7,800 students annually.