Bush Doctrine Term Paper

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¶ … Bush doctrine

From the early years of the Cold War in the post World War II period until recently, the United States had followed a foreign policy of 'containment.' The policy's main objective was to prevent the spread of Communism from the Communist countries to the non-communist countries. By keeping Communism contained within the borders of the Communist countries, the United States hoped to reduce its influence and weaken it. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 that effectively ended the Cold War, the U.S. foreign policy of containment continued until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Immediately after the attack, President George W. Bush changed the long-term U.S. foreign policy by introducing the so-called 'Bush doctrine'; a policy that favors pre-emptive war, unilateralism, military pre-eminence of the United States and an active promotion of democracy and freedom all over the world. This paper gives an overview of the U.S. foreign policies of 'containment' and the 'Bush doctrine' by tracing their origins and discussing how and why these policies evolved. It also looks at the pros and cons of the Bush doctrine and examines whether its implementation has been successful so far.

Policy of Containment: Origin and History

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The doctrine of containment is based on the theory that isolation leads to stagnation -- a tactic employed during wars since the ancient times by laying seige to an enemy inside a castle and isolating it by cutting off its supply lines. Such containment invariably weakened the enemy leading to its defeat.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Bush Doctrine Assignment

Following the Second World War, the Soviet Union, fresh from its military success against the Nazi Germany, emerged as a super power and sought to spread the ideology of Communism beyond its borders in Europe and other parts of the world. The policy of 'containment,' aimed at preventing the spread of Communism, was first articulated by the American diplomat and U.S. State Department adviser, George F. Kennan, in his famous article titled "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" suggesting a "long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies." (Quoted in "Containment" article-Nuclearfiles.org) 'Containment,' soon became one of the two main pillars (the other being 'deterrence') of the U.S. foreign policy and it was a prominent feature of the "Truman Doctrine" that sought to block the spread of Communism by offering American support for regimes threatened by Communism any where in the world.

The theory of Containment as the guiding light of the U.S. foreign policy was further re-inforced by the introduction of the "Marshall Plan" through which the U.S. offered massive economic aid to Europe in order to prevent such economic conditions in which Communism thrives. The U.S. government also sought to contain the spread of Communism in South East Asia by intervening militarily in Korea and Vietnam. After the deabacle in Vietnam and the forced withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1974, the foreign policy of 'containment' received a setback and evolved into a policy of 'detente' or 'peaceful co-existence' until the 1980s. President Reagan implemented a policy of renewed arms race in order to hurt the Soviet Union economically since its already weak economy was unable to match such competition. It ultimately collapsed in 1991 but the U.S. foreign policy of 'containment' remained in place. ("Containment" Wikipedia Article)

The 'Bush doctrine': its Roots and Implementation

The Defense Planning Guidance Draft of 1992: Although the 'Bush doctrine' was unveiled only after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, its roots lie in a "Defense Planning Guidance" text drafted by Paul Wolfowitz for the Department of Defense in 1992. In the draft, Wolfowitz argued for a new military and political strategy in a post-Cold War world. The document dubbed "containment" as a relic of the Cold War and suggested that America should adopt a more aggressive foreign policy, carry a big stick, and use its military power to preempt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). He further opined that if in doing so, America has to act alone, i.e., adopt a policy of "unilateralism" rather than "multilateralism," it should not hesitate in doing so. ("Chronology: The Evolution of the Bush doctrine")

Controversy erupted as the Wolfowitz draft was leaked to the press and the White House ordered the-then Defense Secretary Cheney to rewrite it. The revised draft made no mention of the proposed strategy of preemption or unilateralism. The policy of 'containment,' therefore, continued.

Neo-Cons' Letter to President Clinton (1998): A group of neo-conservatives including some of the most influential figures in the future Bush administration such as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, Richard Armitage, and John Bolton sent an open letter to President Clinton in 1998, arguing for a much stronger global leadership role for the U.S. In the post-Cold War period. The letter called for exhibition of "military strength and moral clarity" while dealing with "rogue states" and warning that the policy of 'containment' being followed in Iraq was "dangerously inadequate." Regime change in Iraq by force was also recommended.

Hence, the neo-conservative 'hawks' had a definite 'plan' for the foreign policy direction of the United States long before it was actually implemented.

George W. Bush & His Foreign Policy 'Tutors': When George W. Bush decided to run for the 2000 U.S. Presidential Elections, number of 'neo-conservative hawks' such as Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld, as well as 'pragmatic realists,' e.g., Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice became his foreign policy tutors. ("Chronology:..." Para on "Bush Considers Presidential Run") When George W. took office in January 2001, neo-cons jockeyed for foreign policy posts in the new administration and succeeded in securing the posts of Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld), the deputy secretary of defense (Paul Wolfowitz) and the Vice President's chief of staff (Lewis "Scooter" Libby). However, Colin Powell's appointment as the Secretary of State was a formidable counterweight to the Pentagon hawks that prevented an immediate change in the U.S. foreign policy direction.

Terrorists Provide the Opportunity: The 911 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon provided the opportunity for the foreign policy hawks in the Bush administration to implement their hard-line agenda. Immediately after the attacks, President Bush declared that "the U.S. would make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." Bush followed up this pronouncement with an even more explicit explanation of the policy in his televised speech to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001 by warning: "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." The implication of the policy was the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 when the Taliban regime refused to hand over the Al-Qaeda terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden; it also resulted in a policy U-turn by the Pakistan government, which had previously been the leading supporter of the Talibans.

From Containment to Preemption: While making a graduation day speech at West Point on June 22, 2002, President Bush announced a major shift in the U.S. national security policy from the long-standing policy of containment to preemption by declaring, "Our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives." He also called for the need of American hegemony: "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge." (Quoted in "Chronology:..." Para on "Bush Calls for a Policy of Pre-emption") Both the pronouncements echoed the 1992 "Defense Planning Guidance" draft of Paul Wolfowitz.

Formal Pronouncement of the Bush doctrine: The U.S. National Security Strategy

In September 2002, one year after the 911 terrorist attacks and twenty months after taking office, George W. Bush released his administration's National Security Strategy (NSS), formally outlining the various elements of the 'Bush doctrine' in one document.

The document officially confirmed the U.S. foreign policy shift from its Cold War paradigm of containment to a more assertive global posture thought, by the supporters of the new policy, to be befitting of the lone super-power in the world.

The main points of the NSS are:

Preemption: It announced a policy of pre-emptive war against terrorists and rogue states that supported terrorism or threatened the U.S. Or its allies with Weapons of Mass Destruction. It did, however, note that "the United States will not use force in all cases to preempt emerging threats, nor should nations use preemption as a pretext for aggression." But went on to proclaim: "...in an age where the enemies of civilization openly and actively seek the world's most destructive technologies, the United States cannot remain idle while dangers gather." ("Prevent Our Enemies..." Chapter V of "The National Security Strategy Paper")

Unitaleralism: The NSS also declared that the U.S. had the right to pursue unilateral military action when acceptable multi-lateral solutions cannot be found. Repeating the adage of "offense as the best form of defense," the document states:

While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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