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In Defense of the Bush Doctrine

In Defense of the Bush Doctrine

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    In Defense of the Bush Doctrine
    Book Description:

    The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, shattered the prevalent optimism in the United States that had blossomed during the tranquil and prosperous 1990s, when democracy seemed triumphant and catastrophic wars were a relic of the past.President George W. Bush responded with a bold and controversial grand strategy for waging a preemptive Global War on Terror, which has ignited passionate debate about the purposes of American power and the nation's proper role in the world. In Defense of the Bush Doctrine offers a vigorous argument for the principles of moral democratic realism that inspired the Bush administration's policy of regime change in Iraq. The Bush Doctrine rests on two main pillars -- the inadequacy of deterrence and containment strategies when dealing with terrorists and rogue regimes, and the culture of tyranny in the Middle East, which spawns aggressive secular and religious despotisms. Two key premises shape Kaufman's case for the Bush Doctrine's conformity with moral democratic realism. The first is the fundamental purpose of American foreign policy since its inception: to ensure the integrity and vitality of a free society "founded upon the dignity and worth of the individual." The second premise is that the cardinal virtue of prudence (the right reason about things to be done) must be the standard for determining the best practicable American grand strategy. In Defense of the Bush Doctrine provides a broader historical context for the post--September 11 American foreign policy that will transform world politics well into the future. Kaufman connects the Bush Doctrine and current issues in American foreign policy, such as how the U.S. should deal with China, to the deeper tradition of American diplomacy. Drawing from positive lessons as well as cautionary tales from the past, Kaufman concludes that moral democratic realism offers the most compelling framework for American grand strategy, as it expands the democratic zone of peace and minimizes the number and gravity of threats the United States faces in the modern world.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-7220-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    September 11, 2001, marks a pivotal day for American grand strategy. Homicide bombers initiated World War IV by demolishing the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and destroying part of the Pentagon. This attack shattered the optimistic illusions so prevalent during the tranquil 1990s that American foreign policy had reached the end of history: democracy was triumphant and catastrophic wars were a relic of the past. The Bush administration’s bold and ambitious grand strategy for waging the war on terror (the Bush Doctrine) has ignited a passionate debate about the purposes of American power and America’s role in the...

  5. 1 The Imprudence of Isolationism
    (pp. 5-22)

    Commentators as astute as Charles Krauthammer and Norman Podhoretz have largely dismissed rather than systematically refuted the isolationist tradition in their powerful defenses of President Bush’s approach to the war on terror.¹ This is a mistake. As Eugene Rostow has observed more perceptively, public understanding of the American tradition in foreign affairs before World War I—particularly Washington’s Farewell Address and the Monroe Doctrine—still has a significant influence on the way in which the nation conceives of its proper role in the world.² One must seriously confront contemporary isolationist critics of President Bush, such as Patrick Buchanan, who warn...

  6. 2 The Perils of Neorealism
    (pp. 23-50)

    It is best to envisage the distinctions among various schools of thought in American foreign policy on a continuum: isolationism is at one end of it; full-fledged Wilsonian collective security is at the other; and various forms of realism and democratic globalism lie somewhere in between.¹ Many of President Bush’s sharpest and most prominent critics come from the realist tradition in American foreign policy, which has two main branches: neorealism and classical realism. This chapter will address the neorealist challenge to the Bush Doctrine.

    Neorealism draws from classical realist theories, which emphasize the enduring importance of power, geopolitics, and rivalry...

  7. 3 The Unrealistic Realism of Classical Realists
    (pp. 51-62)

    Republican critics of the Bush Doctrine generally come from the classical realist tradition associated with E. H. Carr, Hans Morgenthau, George F. Kennan, President Richard M. Nixon, and Henry Kissinger. The most prominent of these critics, such as former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleberger, worked directly with Kissinger during the Ford administration, though Kissinger dissented from his former colleagues by supporting the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.¹

    Classical realism draws from a wider range of variables than just the structure of international relations. It arises from a pessimistic view of human nature,...

  8. 4 The Perils of Liberal Multilateralism
    (pp. 63-86)

    The most politically potent critique of President Bush’s foreign policy comes from liberal multilateralists dominant in the Democratic Party, among Western European elites, and in large parts of the academy. Charles Krauthammer identifies four of the core premises of multilateral liberalism: (a) an emphasis on legalism, the binding effect of treaties, and international norms; (b) a belief in the efficacy of multilateral institutions as the arbiters of international legitimacy; (c) a “deep suspicion” of power wielded on behalf of traditional, concrete, geopolitical conceptions of national interest; and (d) greater willingness to use force to achieve humanitarian goals that “the international...

  9. 5 Moral Democratic Realism
    (pp. 87-100)

    Moral democratic realism offers a more compelling framework for American grand strategy than the alternatives because it takes due measure of the centrality of power and the constraints the dynamics of international politics impose, without depreciating the significance of ideals, ideology, and regime type. It grounds American foreign policy in Judeo-Christian conceptions of man, morality, and prudence that inoculate us against two dangerous fallacies: a utopianism that exaggerates the potential for cooperation without power; and an unrealistic realism that underestimates the potentialities for achieving decency and provisional justice even in international relations. It rests on a conception of self-interest, well...

  10. 6 Moral Democratic Realism and the Endgame of the Cold War
    (pp. 101-124)

    The grand strategy of President Ronald Reagan for winning the Cold War exemplifies the precepts of moral democratic realism in action. It has become fashionable in many quarters to take for granted the collapse of the Soviet Union, the vast expansion of freedom, and the increase in American prosperity since the 1980s.¹ That was not the conventional wisdom when Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981.

    The decade of the 1970s was a dismal one for the United States. Freedom was in retreat. Collectivism was on the rise. The huge expansion of the federal government in all aspects of American...

  11. 7 The Bush Doctrine and Iraq: A Sound Application of a Sound Doctrine
    (pp. 125-142)

    Some conservative critics, such as Patrick Buchanan, Bruce Bartlett, Jonathan Clarke, and Stefan Halper, have accused the neoconservatives and President George W. Bush of betraying the Reagan legacy in foreign affairs.¹ This is false. The foreign and national security policies of President Bush largely reflect not only Ronald Reagan’s legacy, but that of other great presidents who prevailed over perilous threats to freedom. Moreover, thoughtful critics of neoconservatism such as Francis Fukuyama also recognize the fundamental affinity between the neoconservatives and Reagan in the realm of foreign affairs:

    Of the two presidents in question [Reagan and Bush], Ronald Reagan in...

  12. Conclusion: Beyond the War on Terror
    (pp. 143-152)

    Elsewhere President Bush’s foreign policy has largely conformed to the tenets of moral democratic realism. The Bush administration has enjoyed good relations with Russia, despite serious differences. The president has cooperated with Russian President Vladimir Putin when possible, but he has pursued an independent course when necessary. Contrary to the dire warnings of the administration’s critics, Russia acquiesced to President Bush’s abrogation of the ABM Treaty, a necessary if not sufficient condition for devising comprehensive and effective missile defense for the United States to deal with a wide array of potential threats. The administration also helped to foil Russia’s attempt...

  13. Epilogue
    (pp. 153-156)

    As the book goes to press, the war in Iraq has entered a pivotal phase. American forces in Iraq experienced a terrible October and November 2006; combat deaths and sectarian violence increased significantly. The situation has deteriorated seriously even in the weeks since I submitted the final revisions for chapter 7 of this book, where I defended President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. I still do. Nevertheless, we cannot continue on our present course, which has no clear measure of victory or means to achieve it. As the noted military analyst and historian Fred Kagan observes, the United States must...

  14. Appendix The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002
    (pp. 157-184)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 185-216)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 217-240)
  17. Index
    (pp. 241-252)