Every American president after ascending into power develops a document outlining foreign policies that will act as guidelines while relating with other countries. The documents are popularly known as presidential doctrines and they are named after the president who oversees their formulation. The doctrines formulation largely depends with the president foreign policies and the vision that he intends to achieve during his term. The doctrine which is concerned more with American foreign polices tackles issues related to American security as well as involvement of American government in international security issues, economic policies and political issues (Cady and Duane, 1989).
The central theme of any given doctrine largely depends with the current foreign affair that the country is faced with and at the same times the form of approach that the president in power would like to tackle foreign policies for the betterment of the American economy and protection of the American people and their interests globally. For instance, if during a president era the country is faced with security threats the doctrine will be concerned with coming up with measures that will be directed toward investing heavily in foreign relations that will boost the security of the American people. The president may be concerned with directing military resources in setting up more military bases in foreign countries in order to boost the security of the American people globally.
During the era of President G.W Bush he developed a foreign policy document during the wake of terrorism attacks on the American soil. The doctrine is popularly known as Bush Doctrine. The doctrine provides guidelines that would be followed during Bush administration in tackling various foreign policies issues. America which is the world super power in terms of its military strength and economically is more interested in foreign affairs and it has a great say when it comes to global affairs. In order to protect its position as the global leader, protect its political, social and economic interests all over the globe and finally enhance the security of its people both at home and around the globe, Bush administration was more concerned with coming up with foreign policies that would serve the interest of the American people.
This research paper is concerned with analyzing the central theme of the foreign policy contained in the Bush doctrine and what it meant for the American people. The central theme of any foreign policies usually determines the approach that the American government will use in addressing global as well as foreign relations. Therefore, in order to understand impact of the Bush doctrine on American foreign relation it’s very crucial to understand the central theme and how the approach used helped to handle the issue that faced the American people during President Bush administration.
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With the rise in terrorism activities that were directed toward American citizens both at home and in various parts of the world, the Bush doctrine on foreign relation policies was greatly concerned with strengthening ties with various allies in order to fight terrorism around the glob. The foreign polices during Bush administration concentrated more on improving the security of the Americans globally by fighting those engaged in terrorism attacks that targeted the American people. Therefore, it is very clear from the doctrine that the foreign policy concentrated mainly on the central theme of enhancing American citizens security through fighting terrorism at all cost even if it meant using military force to eliminate terrorism in the world.
The bush doctrine was formulated after dissatisfaction of neoconservative policies that were used by President Bill Clinton in dealing with Iraqi regime which was under the rule of Saddam Hussein in the late 1990s. During this era American had been in war with Iraq and they had managed to defeat them in what is commonly known as Gulf War which was fought in 1991. The goals of the Gulf War were only limited to ensure that Iraq was forced to abandon her forceful occupation in Kuwait and thus, the goals were not concerned with removing Hussein in power.
Failure to remove Hussein from power did not go well among the neoconservatives and many Americans citizens in general were not happy with their government failure to remove the Iraq president from power. The terms of post war peace agreement empowered United Nation to conduct periodic inspections in Iraq to find any evidence relating to the country been engaged in production of massive destructive weapons that would be of threat to the world peace and stability. The inspection was aimed at ensuring that Iraq was not involved in production of nuclear as well as chemical weapons (Speed, Roger and Michael, 2005). Therefore bush document was mainly developed based on the views of the neoconservatives who advocated for war in order to remove Hussein from power.
Bush doctrine can be said to be the collection of various strategies, practical policies decisions and principles as well a set of guiding ideas and rationales that were to guide American foreign policies during the term of President Bush. The central themes of the doctrine were usage of preemptive strikes on any potential enemy and promotion of democracy in various parts of the world by the Americans. The doctrine shows that Bush government foreign policies were mainly concerned at enhancing the security of the American people and development of democracy in various parts of the world. The doctrine was based on four pegs three of which are practical and the other one idealistic. One of the peg was based on the making no distinctions regarding terrorist as well as the nations that haven them. Therefore, Americans would do anything at their hand even if it means using military power to defeat the efforts of the terrorists. Secondly, the American would take the war against terrorism in oversea countries wherever the enemy was harboring before they attacked the American people again. The third peg of the doctrine was on confronting the security threats before they materialize fully into attacks on the American people. Finally, the fourth peg states that the American should advance hope and liberty as an alternative way of defeating the enemy ideology of fear and repression.
Bush administration did hold the claim that the people of United State were locked in an international war; they argued that the war was based on ideologies in which the American enemies have been brought together by a universal ideology and hatred for democratic practices advocated by the American people in various parts of the world.
The core values of the Bush doctrine can be derived from the National Security Strategy. The values include military primacy, preemption, promotion of the spreading of democracy and new multilateralism. Much emphasis was put on the preemption whereby the document stated that the Americans were faced with threats from all corners and there was need for the American people to be protected as well as the interests of the American people both at home and abroad by destroying and identifying various threats before they reached the American borders.
The Bush foreign policy doctrine is purely centered on the unilateral elements that were evident during the first few months of the president in office. The president approached foreign issues from unilateral point of view and this approach on foreign policy prompted the Americans to withdrawal from the ABM treaty. The approach by President Bush administration was concerned at protecting the interests of the Americans which as the key pillar which led to the establishment of Bush doctrine. If any international issues were viewed as going against American interests the Bush administration would not agree to it and if it meant withdrawing from various international treaties the American government had no option but to withdraw for the sake of the people of the United States of America (Kolodziej and Edward, 2006). This approach during Bush administration was evident in the case whereby the president failure to sign the Kyoto protocol which was concerned with reducing the impact of pollution on the impact. Instead of taking the approach of looking at the interests of the world people at large President Bush took unilateral approach were he failed to enter into the treaty as the treaty would affect the economic interests of the American people. Therefore, Bush doctrine was centered in promoting the interests of the American globally and any force that was deemed as to be opposed to the progress of the American people was to meet with full force by the administration. The unilateral approach can be seen as to have prompted United State government to attack Iraq despite calls from various nations for the American government to approach the issue in a different way rather than use military intervention (Carr and Caleb, 2002).
Another element that was evident in Bush doctrine was use of military intervention to attack any country that was deemed to be harboring terrorists. The doctrine which was mainly developed as a response to the September 11, bomb attack on the American soil was therefore, more concerned at seeing that those who were involve in the attack faced the full force of law. The doctrine was to be used as guiding principle in fighting terrorists who threatened the security of the American people both at home and in other parts of the world. Therefore, with the adverse security threat that American people were faced with President Bush had no option but to develop foreign policies that would help improve the security of the American citizens around the globe. The approach of attacking any country that was deemed as harboring terrorists saw Bush administration launch a military invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan which was aimed at eliminating al-Qaida which though to be behind the planning and execution of the September 11 bomb attack which left thousands of American dead and others with multiple injuries. The doctrine was centered at ensuring the enemy of the American people was destroyed even if it meant going to foreign countries that harbored the enemies. The approach saw the administration of President Bush more concerned with spending billions of dollars in military activities that were meant to ensure that the American citizens would always be secure from enemy attacks (Cheney and Richard, 1993).
Bush administration did undertake a military invasion in Iraq as it was viewed as an enemy of the Americans as it was said to be engaged in production of nuclear weapons as well as supporting terrorists’ activities. The administration was more concerned with ensuring the enemy was met with full military force from his hide out in Iraq (National Security, 2002). The same case applied to Afghanistan which was attacked by the Bush administration in order to eliminate al-Qaeda. Afghanistan was viewed as the home of Osama bin Laden who was the leader of the terrorists who carried the September 11 attack in the American soil. Being guided by the foreign policy President Bush had no other option but to carry out a military invasion in these two neighboring countries to eliminate terrorist who were a threat to the peace and stability of Unite State of America.
Therefore, that reason why during President Bush reign a lot of military bases were opened in various parts of the world with an aim of dealing with the American enemy from all concerns of the world. The doctrine is therefore more concerned with using the American military and diplomatic strengths to fight terrorism activities for the sake of future security of the Americans. The President during his two terms in office was more concerned with strengthening the American security that why his efforts were direct toward lobbying various countries around the globe to join the American people in fighting terrorism which is an enemy of stability and peace of nation in the world.
The Bush doctrine had another crucial element of using preemptive strikes to approach any threat to the American people. The approach of using preemptive strikes was evident during Bush administration when he gave an address to cadets in one of the United States of America military Academy. In his address he did put more emphasis on the part of preemptive war in the future of American foreign relation policies. The president categorically said that the Americas cannot defend themselves and their friends through hope only. He added that there was no need to put faith in the word given by tyrants who just sign treaties and later break them. His address to the cadets clearly indicates that his government was more concerned with strengthening the ability of its military to protect the Americans against external threats. Therefore, Bush foreign policies would not be concerned in taking part in formulation of treaties that did not hold on the parties that signed those treaties (Record and Jeffery, 2003).
The preemptive strikes were seen by many as a strategy of the Bush administration to spread democracy in all parts of the world. There was no other alternative but to use harsh measures if they would achieve the goal of bringing democracy in all nations in the world. This was the mentality that Bush administration had when attacking Iraq whereby they believed that by removing Hussein from power they would be in a position to bring a democratic regime into power. The approach of using preemptive strikes in Iraq was seen as an indirect approach of taking control of Middle East affairs in the long run which is one the most important areas for American foreign policies. it is very clear from the doctrine that Bush administration was more concerned with bringing democratic regimes into power at all cost given that the regimes will serve the interests of the American people.
Another central theme of the Bush doctrine was to enhance development of democratic institution of governance in various countries around the globe especially in countries that supported terrorists. With this notion in mind the administration would not spare any opportunity to enhance the democratization process of Middle East countries which were seen as enemies of the Americans people because they harbored terrorists who hindered the stability and peace of the world and that of the Americans (Bryan and Chip, 2006). It is need for building and developing democratic regimes in all parts of the world that led to removal from power of Hussein in Iraq. Bush administration was of the view that regimes that were not democratic tended to support and finance the activities of terrorists and through bringing democracy in these countries terrorism would be eliminated in the long run (Elshtain and Jean 1992). The doctrine does hold the notion that the enemies of American people do use terrorism as an ideological war against the people of United State. Therefore, Americans were mandated to protect their interests as well as those of their friends through promotion of democracy in areas that terrorists were located in order to weaken the basis of these terrorists’ activities. Democracy according to Bush doctrine would help end terrorism activities in the world by denying terrorists havens to carry out their activities. The need to remove Saddam Hussein from power was strongly over advocated for years by those who did hold neoconservative approach to foreign relation. The doctrine can be seen to be following the notion of these supporters and it’s from this notion that the Bush government conducts a military invasion in Iraq in 2003 to overthrow Hussein from power as he was seen as threat to security of the American people as well as the stability of the Middle East region. Many of the neoconservative believed that unless Hussein was overthrown from power, he would use his position to support terrorism activities by building nuclear weapons that would be used to carry terrorism attacks on American people. It is from this point of argument that Bush administration was more concerned with removing Hussein from power after it was evident that Americans were faced with major security threat following September 11 bomb attack. This attack proved those who were from neoconservative school of thought right and therefore, Bush administration had no option but to approach it foreign policies from the approach advocated by the neoconservatives.
The notion that the Americans were engaged in international war with terrorists prompted Bush administration to change the foreign policies on security issues that had been used by President Bill Clinton. There was need for the administration to be more vigilant in tackling terrorism activities. Bush viewed the government as mandated to use all its machineries to enhance the security of the Americans thus the need to use all a neoconservative approach to handling terrorism in America. The Bush doctrine can be seen to have been influenced by the need to protect the American people through the activism of strong holders of the neoconservative approach to national and international security. The doctrine is an evidence of a government that did strongly hold these approaches whereby military interventions were the only means of enhancing the peace and stability in America.
Another major influence on the Bush doctrine was the need to expand American influence for both material and political gains. It was this fundamental need that led to Bush administration to use the notion of spreading democracy to gain control of political systems all over the world so that American can have control over economic resources in these countries. The doctrine is a clearly indication that American government was concerned with increasing it influence in global matters especially in Middle East by introducing democracy in the region.
The Bush doctrine is one of the doctrines in the recent past that has seen America change it approach of handling foreign issues and security issues. The doctrine enabled government to concentrate its resource in defending the American people. The approach of fighting terrorists from their havens has been very instrumental in the fight against terrorism in the world. Though the president Bush approach on foreign relation issues has received much criticism for failure to attain democracy quickly in Iraq, it has helped United State o increase its global power in economic, political and economic issues making it to defend it position as world super power. President Bush lived to fulfill the central themes of his doctrine by enhancing the growth of democracy in Middle East countries and dealing with the treat of Americans security and interests.
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