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jervis - The Academy of Political Science 475 Riverside...

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P OLITICAL S CIENCE Q UARTERLY Volume 118 · Number 3 · Fall 2003 No part of this article may be copied, downloaded, stored, further transmitted, transferred, distributed, altered, or otherwise used, in any form or by any means, except: § one stored electronic and one paper copy of any article solely for your personal, non- commercial use, or § with prior written permission of The Academy of Political Science. Political Science Quarterly is published by The Academy of Political Science. Contact the Academy for further permission regarding the use of this work. Political Science Quarterly Copyright © 2003 by The Academy of Political Science. All rights reserved. The Academy of Political Science 475 Riverside Drive · Suite 1274 · New York, New York 10115-1274 (212) 870-2500 · FAX: (212) 870-2202 · [email protected] · http://www.psqonline.org
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Understanding the Bush Doctrine ROBERT JERVIS The invasion of Iraq, although important in itself, is even more noteworthy as a manifestation of the Bush doctrine. In a sharp break from the President’s pre-September 11 views that saw American leadership, and espe- cially its use of force, restricted to defending narrow and traditional vital inter- ests, he has enunciated a far-reaching program that calls for something very much like an empire. 1 The doctrine has four elements: a strong belief in the importance of a state’s domestic regime in determining its foreign policy and the related judgment that this is an opportune time to transform international politics; the perception of great threats that can be defeated only by new and vigorous policies, most nota- bly preventive war; a willingness to act unilaterally when necessary; and, as both a cause and a summary of these beliefs, an overriding sense that peace and stability require the United States to assert its primacy in world politics. It is, of course, possible that I am exaggerating and that what we are seeing is mostly an elaborate rationale for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein that will have little relevance beyond that. I think the doctrine is real, however. It is quite articulate, and American policy since the end of the military campaign has been consistent with it. Furthermore, there is a tendency for people to act in accord with the explanations they have given for their own behavior, which means that the doctrine could guide behavior even if it were originally a rationalization. 2 1 For somewhat similar analyses, but with quite different evaluations, see James Chace, “Imperial America and the Common Interest,” World Policy 19 (Spring 2002): 1–9; Charles Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment Revisited,” National Interest 70 (Winter 2002/03): 5–17; Stephen Peter Rosen, “An Empire, If You Can Keep It,” ibid 71 (Spring 2003): 51–62; Robert Art, A Grand Strategy for America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003), 87–92.
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