Essays on American politics and foreign policy
By Donald E. Nuechterlein
Donald Nuechterlein is a political scientist
and writer who resides near Charlottesville, Virginia. He is the
author of numerous books on American politics and foreign policy,
- Defiant Superpower: The New American Hegemony, 2005
- America Recommitted: A Superpower Assesses its Role in a Turbulent World, 2000
- A Cold War Odyssey, 1997
WHERE ARE WE HEADED IN FOREIGN POLICY ?
Before 9-11 last year, U.S. view of our role abroad was not clear
- In the 2000 election Gore wanted an expanded U.S. role, to include nation-building,
interventions to curb dictators
- Bush favored a more limited role -- no peacekeping or nation-building, sparing use
of military forces abroad
- In first eight months in office, Bush emphasized domestic agenda -- tax cuts,
education reform -- not foreign policy
After 9-11, Bush's priorities changed nearly 180 degrees
- War on terrorism quickly became a world-wide mission
- Military intervention in Afghanistan included building bases in
neighboring States (Uzbekistan, Kyrgestan)
- Policy on Pakistan reversed, Musharaf was embraced
- Russia's cooperation meant new aid, no talk of Chechnya
- His "Axis-of-Evil" stance signalled regime change in Iraq
- Pressure on Israel ended to make concessions in Palestine
- Government reorganization focused on homeland security
- More attention given to terrorist threats in S.E. Asia
Bush has now asked Congress for authority to use force in Iraq
- He wants the right to use all means he determines to be appropriate,
including force to disarm Iraq. Congress may delete words giving him
full authority to act
- He also wants power to act alone, or with Allies, if the United Nations
fails to pass a new resolution to get U.N. inspectors back into Iraq with unhampered access
The President has announced a new "Bush doctrine" of preemptive war
against any hostile state, and those harboring terrorists: the White
House report states:
Defend our interests at home and abroad by identifying and destroying
threat before it reaches our borders. While the United States will
constantly strive to enlist the support of the international comunity, we
will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of
self-defense, by acting preemptively and denying further sponsorship,
support and sanctuary to terrorists by convincing or compelling states to
accept their sovereign reponsibilities.
European critics charge that Bush is assuming the role of
Imperial Rome in the first century: to be the world's sole policeman. Key questions
for upcoming debate in the U.S. Congress:
- Is Iraq an imminent military threat to the United States?
- If so, what are the best means to deal with its leaders?
What are the likely costs, human and financial?
Do we need Allies for this task and will they join us?
How long will U.S. troops be needed in Iraq if we launch an invasion
and occupy the country until a new regime is operational?
Will the American public support the war if casualties are significant
and political chaos results in Iraq?
Are we approaching the point where our all-volunteer force is no
longer sufficient to met the requirements of implementing the new Bush
- Get the U.N. inspectors back to find and destroy weapons of
- Blockade its ports and prevent oil shipments?
- Occupy Southern Iraq and set up an alternative regime?
- Attack Baghdad and remove Saddam Hussein by force
The upcoming debate in Congress is essential in order for the Bush
Administration to inform the public and obtain congressional support for
a war in Iraq, with its costs of war and the dangers of inaction fully
debated. That is the intention of the Constitution, before the United
States commits itself to war.
File last modified on Thursday, 13-AUG-2004 07:00 PM EST