PL SC 481
December 13, 2012
The Bush Doctrine: the empirical relationship between its intentions and results
When President George Washington warned against the dangers of “foreign entanglements” in his
Farewell Address, he sought to preserve independence. He prioritized domestic affairs to preserve the republic, he stressed the importance of personal rights to preserve opportunity, and he emphasized matters related to only
America itself to preserve freedom. He didn’t do this to advance his democratic vision of what America should represent. Instead, he did so to prevent the influence of an illegitimate, tyrannical authority that his British ancestors had experienced previously (Washington 1796). He did so because he foresaw the current state of
American international affairs that exists as a result of the “Bush Doctrine,” where the federal government of the United States - specifically the President with respect to foreign relations - possesses a crippling level of supremacy over its citizens to the point at which all threats to its quest for global, political, military, and economic omnipotence are extinct (Jervis 2003). Most importantly, he did so because of history, in which every empire eventually failed, and he desperately wished that America wouldn’t follow in their footsteps
The Bush Doctrine - the foreign policy agenda of the Bush administration, as coined by Charles
Krauthammer - is synonymous with the “War on Terror,” and was, with a few exceptions established and directed by the Bush administration after the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks (Krauthammer 2008).
Through the rhetoric of political speechwriters, the administration described its agenda as one of “fighting terror,” “spreading democracy,” and “protecting the US’ strategic interests.” According to Dr. Robert Jervis,
Columbia University professor of International Affairs and the most cited expert on the subject, the Bush
Doctrine is, in fact, far more serious than its rhetoric suggests; it is a doctrine of preventive war, an initiative that goes against every American foreign policy ideal since Washington’s Address (Jervis 2003).
The barrier presented when trying to prove the propagation and implementation of the Doctrine is the lack of existence of documentation that details these elements on behalf of the administration. To be perfectly clear, the Bush administration never produced a strategic document titled, the “Bush Doctrine,” nor did they ever mention the phrase explicitly, or implicitly for that matter. Based on this, the purpose of this research paper is to empirically prove the existence of the Doctrine through the relationship between the administration’s disguised rhetoric and its overt political, economic, and military actions. In order to test this hypothesis, I elicited direct quotes and other documentation produced by the administration - the intentions - and compared it to their actions and third-party statistical observations based on these actions - the results. Through these tests, and the ensuing relationship they showed between the administration’s intentions and their results, the existence of the Bush Doctrine is inarguable.
II. Literature Review
Many prominent scholars in the field of international politics have written academic papers on the topic of the Bush Doctrine. An analytical summary of the existing literature relevant to its agenda, its intentions, its results, and anything else that the Doctrine entails, is as followed. For the purposes of this paper, I’ve separated the literature review into two sections: the intentions of the Doctrine and the results of the Doctrine.
Intentions of the Doctrine
This section, Intentions of the Doctrine, refers to the agenda of the Bush Doctrine. Based on extensive research, an explicit declaration of the phrase “Bush Doctrine” in combination with the perceived goals of