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In 2002 the Bush administration announced a new strategic-military policy. Named “The National Security Strategy of the United States,” the document contains little that has not been said earlier by Bush and his foreign policy aides.
In fact, the strategic perspectives outlined in the report are borrowed from earlier position papers. As far back the early 1990s and as recently as two years ago, documents were circulated in the top circles of our nation’s ruling class that bear a remarkable resemblance to the new Bush policy.
The earlier versions, however, never became government policy. One, written during the latter days of the first Bush administration and leaked to The New York Times, was greeted by a storm of criticism while the more recent versions never attracted much attention beyond a small circle of right wing ideologues.
So what accounts for the initially muted opposition to essentially the same document this time? Why is the latest incarnation of this doctrine, which had been discredited a decade ago, official policy now?
For one thing, the authors of the policy, from the initial to the latest versions, are now the principal foreign policy makers in the Bush administration.
What are some of the main features of the Bush doctrine?
• Nuclear weapons are weapons of first resort rather than last resort now. Limited nuclear war is no longer an oxymoron. And the Bush doctrine sanctions the first strike use of nuclear weapons in a range of military situations.
• Pre-emptive strikes generally are a legitimate and favored method of warfare against states that supposedly pose a threat to the security interests of the U.S. This too is a change of official policy of our government.
• A unilateral, go-it-alone posture is preferred over multilateralism. The assembling of a coalition of like-minded governments behind military actions is to be utilized or dispensed with depending on the circumstances.
• Preventing the emergence of a rival state power – be it friend or foe – is an essential requirement of the Bush strategic approach.
• Transforming the U.S. military and further widening its current unprecedented advantage over its closest competitor is of fundamental importance.
• International law, treaties and obligations that constrain the ability of the administration to act in a decisive manner wherever and whenever it chooses are to be ignored.
• Far less weight is attached to diplomacy and stability in international relations. Provoking mass opposition doesn’t worry the foreign policy makers in the White House and Pentagon. In fact, instability, in their eyes, may well offer opportunities to project U.S. military power to distant corners of the globe.
• Mothballed is the notion that the U.S. military can manage only one or two conflicts at a time.
• The U.S. reserves the right to police and punish; and annihilate with overwhelming force, nations and peoples that it deems “enemies of civilization.”
Last edited by maverick4; 01-18-2007 at 03:12 PM..
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