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The Bush Doctrine

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The phrase “The Bush Doctrine” was used to refer to the various foreign policy principles adopted by George W. Bush, the former president of the United States.  It has been taken to mean the constellation of the policy decisions, set of ideas and rationales and the strategy principles that guide the United States’ foreign policy. The first application of this national policy was in the invasion of Iraq. It was implied that the United States has a right of anticipatory self-defense and preemptive strike against another country that is deemed to be planning an attack on her. Some call it the Bush Prevention Doctrine whereas others refer to it as the Bush Preemption Doctrine (Hirsh, 19).

According to White House National Security Council (1), this was a national security policy that granted the United States the sovereign right to apply force in defending its people especially from nations with weapons of mass destruction and which support terrorist activities. The administration resolved to pursue states that extended aid to terrorists and thus every country was required to make a choice between being with the United States or with the terrorists. Any nation viewed as being friendly to acts of terrorism by providing a safe haven to such criminals was regarded an enemy of the United States.

Owens (29) explains that previously, the United States’ foreign policy was based on the concepts of deterrence and containment. These concepts began to be applied with the end of World War II. At this time the world’s dominant superpowers were the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States. These two had numerous nuclear weapons among weapons of mass destruction. It was thus important that they are contained and each deterred so as to avoid getting back to another war.

The Soviet Union however collapsed in 1991 and the United States became the only super power in the world. This notwithstanding, the foreign policy of the United States continued to follow the two concepts of deterrence and containment. However, emergence of some new deadly challenges from terrorists and certain rogue states determined to acquire destructive powers from strong nations changed the world’s security environment, making it much more dangerous and complex led to the United States’ change of tact.

In September 2002, the then United States’ president George W. Bush’s regime published the National Security Strategy of the United States. This strategy document altered the United States’ foreign policy so that it was based on a doctrine of unrivaled military supremacy, a concept of preventive war and readiness to take action unilaterally incase multilateral support is not assured (Msn Encarta, 1). According to him, the concept of deterrence was no longer applicable since it would not be useful in preventing terrorists or rogue states from utilizing their biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.

With regard to this, the United States therefore pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and planned to create a missile defense shield. Budgetary allocation for defense was also increased in line with this move. This was a fundamental shift by the American administration from what was a fairly non-interventionist and isolationist strategy in its foreign policy. The nation was thus adopting a new philosophy of international relations in the post-cold war period.

The implications of this continue to be felt by other nations of the world, both economically and geopolitically. If this policy continues to be applied then globally American values of free markets, democracy and the rule of law will be welcomed and adopted by other nations (Hirsh, 20). Prevention of future global wars will be possible with the leadership in the USA precluding any uprising global rivals. The international world will too be able to manage common problems such as proliferation of nuclear weapons and threats of localized hegemony by renegade nations through international co-operation.

The Bush Doctrine has transformed the United States’ relationship with countries such as India, China and Russia. This re-invigorated relationship with some of the world’s major powers is due to their resonation to support the United States action on terrorism as they too face terrorist insurgency.  As a strategy for combating acts of terrorism, the USA resolved to extend active support to democratic governments, especially those in the Middle East. Lack of democracy has been used as the basis by terrorists to carry out their terrorist activities viewing this as a war against the United States difference in ideology (Snauwaert, 124).

The Bush Doctrine as expounded is within the United States’ foreign policy as it has manifested that the country’s national interest was not only simple security. The doctrine is linked to the objective of strengthening the international legal and moral code that comprises the best and most sustainable way to fight terrorism. This doctrine that became the national security strategy for the United States in Bush’s regime constitutes the most radical transformation in the nation’s foreign policy in a period of more than fifty years as it has led to an act of preemptive or preventive war by the United States.

Nevertheless, the Bush doctrine has encountered significant criticism. Bush doctrine has been accused by the arguments against it, expressed both prior to and since Iraq’s invasion for leading the U.S. to act unilaterally and behave conceitedly. Critiques of the doctrine assert that the US risks estranging world opinion hence putting at risk the worldwide cooperation necessary to stalk down terrorist groups. These critics add that the doctrine of preventative war is probable to encourage instead of discouraging the propagation of mass destruction weapons they can also increase the probability of regional conflicts if adopted by other countries (Snauwaert, 124). It can’t be in either the American national interest or interest of the world to create standards that provide every country with a liberated right of preventative against it own description of dangers to its safety.

Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisors who worked under President Bush and Zbigniew Brzezinski who worked under President Jimmy Carter were two of the well-known critics of the Bush doctrine. Scowcroft told the media that door tends to be left open by an open rule of preventative war to others who want to claim the same right (Snauwaert, 125). They also tend to add to the perception of the world that they were arrogant and unilateral by making it public. Similar theme was echoed by Brzezinski asserting that other countries might be encouraged by Bush’s doctrine of prevention to preempt their neighbors hence legitimating highly haphazard use of authority.

In general, doctrine was thought to be of significance to US. However, it had many negative effects to other countries. This led to increased critics from many people from US and across the world. This was due to the fact that the doctrine was believed to be used for the well being of US alone. Therefore, this doctrine was of great significance to US than any other pert of the world. Therefore, it is our duties to be vigilant, with a high level of skills so as to be able to assess different doctrines and their impacts on the nation or group implementing it and other organizations or nations. By doing these, we will be in a good position to prevent implementation unilateral doctrines like the Bush doctrine hence improving peace across the world.

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