The Bush Strategy in Historical Perspective
In September 2002, a year after the terror attacks on New York and Washington, the U.S. government published an important document, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America. This document laid out what was called a strategy of preemption. The enemies of the United States—countries such as Iraq and North Korea—were intent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and those weapons, it was argued, could be used “offensively to achieve the aggressive designs of these regimes.” In such circumstances, a purely “reactive” policy—a strategy of “deterrence based only upon the threat of retaliation”—was no longer sufficient to defend the United States. America would instead exercise its “right of self-defense by acting preemptively,” that is, by dealing with “such emerging threats before they were fully formed.” And in dealing with these threats, the U.S. government would “not hesitate to act alone.” “In the new world we have entered,” the National Security Strategy document declared, “the only path to peace and security is the path of action.”1
KeywordsNuclear Weapon Nuclear Force Bush Administration Terror Attack American Foreign Policy
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