Home / Bush Doctrine- Changes in American Foreign Policy

Bush Doctrine- Changes in American Foreign Policy

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There is a great deal of criticism against the war in Iraq, and the war on terror. In addition to ''Bush lied'' and ''where are the WMD's?'' it is frequently offered that America trained and equipped Saddaam Hussein in the 1980's. Why did the US remove a dictator it once supported and replace his government with a representative democracy?

James Woolsey, former director of the CIA, stated the following at a teach-in at the University of California at Los Angeles on April 2, 2003:

Yes, it's true. We did. We certainly didn't put in Saddam, the Ba'athists did that on their own. But we did back him in some limited ways in the 1980s in the war against Iran. He represented himself to be, and the Reagan administration at the time felt that he was, essentially, the lesser of two evils. And what was weighing on American minds very heavily then was the Iranian revolution of 1979, and particularly the seizure of the American hostages, which absolutely enraged this country. And I think enrages a lot of people here still, and is a rather major barrier to an understanding to the American and Iranian people, which is something I would very much like to see take place.

But, yes, we backed Saddam in limited ways, mainly with intelligence information against Iran during the 80's war between the two. But that shouldn't mean that when we come to our senses we can't take a different tact. Whether it was wise or unwise to back him, I think it was unwise, that doesn't mean that we are forever locked into the proposition that we have to back Saddam Hussein.

Woolsey makes a good point. National interests change, alliances change.

During the Cold War foreign policy was a chess game between the Soviets and America. During this period each side supported its surrogates, and in some cases they were dictators or insurgents.

For example, during the Reagan Presidency the Contras in Nicaragua were supported to block Daniel Ortega's Sandinista socialist movement. Presidents Carter and Reagan both supported the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in order to prevent Soviet success there. The Taliban may have even been supported, at least in principle.

After the fall of the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in 1992, Afghanistan was thrown into civil war between competing mujahideen warlords. The Taliban eventually emerged as a force able to bring order to the country. The rise of the Taliban helped the economy by eliminating the payments that warlords demanded from business people; it brought political benefits by reducing factional fighting (although the Taliban fought aggressively against its enemies, its relative hegemony reduced the number of factions); and it brought social benefits by imposing a set of norms on a chaotic society. The Taliban enjoyed considerable support from Pashtun Afghans and from Pakistan. The United States hoped that the Taliban might push the warlords to resolve their differences and chose a ''hands-off'' policy. Although the radical ideology of the Taliban would later alienate many, several observers initially considered its emergence as a positive development.

Perhaps there were hopes for the Taliban at some point, but once the 9/11 terrorists were traced to Afghanistan, the Taliban became America's enemy. Again, national interests changed. The US went to war and drove the the terrorists and the Taliban from the country.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union things got more complicated, and dangerous. Instead of two camps opposing each other the lines of conflict and competition diverted. Countries held in check by their benefactor (either the US or the Soviets) now began exporting their own interests.

In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was widely believed to possess WMD's. This belief was expressed by the Clinton adminisration, a number of members of congress and Western Eurpoean allies. He had already gassed the Kurds in the north, invaded Kuwait and was offering $25,000.00 to the families of Palestinians who suicide bombed in Israel.

Saddam had failed to comply with UN resolutions placed on him after the US and its coalition partners drove him from Kuwait. Iraq continued to be a thorn in America's side throughout the Clinton administration. The Bush administration inherited this unfinished business when it came to power in 2000.

After linking Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein and Iraq, along with widely believed intelligence reports regarding Iraq's WMD capability, President George W. Bush set the stage for invading Iraq. Though it is a point of contention with those against the Iraq war, Bush believed that allowing Hussein to share the WMD's he thought they had with the terrorists was unacceptable.

In the aftermath of both the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States has attempted to establish representative Democracies in countries that have only known severe totalitarianism or dictatorship for years. Previously America would have backed a new dictator or strongman that might be able to consolidate power. While that would have reflected previous foreign policy, and might have been the less costly and easier task, the Bush administration chose to seed a representative democracy.

Though there are still examples of dictators enjoying US support, this signals a change in American foreign policy.

By trying to seed Democracies in the Middle East the US is hoping to enable nation states who through self determination can become stable and peaceful neighbors and trading partners.

In a speech given March 8, 2005 at the National Defense University Fort Lesley J. McNair, President George W.Bush said:

The advance of hope in the Middle East also requires new thinking in the capitals of great democracies — including Washington, D.C. By now it should be clear that decades of excusing and accommodating tyranny, in the pursuit of stability, have only led to injustice and instability and tragedy. It should be clear that the advance of democracy leads to peace, because governments that respect the rights of their people also respect the rights of their neighbors. It should be clear that the best antidote to radicalism and terror is the tolerance and hope kindled in free societies. And our duty is now clear: For the sake of our long-term security, all free nations must stand with the forces of democracy and justice that have begun to transform the Middle East.

Perhaps democracy can break out in the Middle East. The Iraqi election has already had a positive effect in Lebanon. There are restless youth in Iran who want more freedom and Saudi Arabia has relented and permitted some local elections.

Like Germany and Japan after World War II, perhaps Iraq and Afghanistan can blossom into modern democracies and have a positive impact on their neighbors. Perhaps other nations in the Middle East can join in and create a region of peaceful prosperous democratic countries not unlike Western Europe.

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About SactoDan

  • Camera Van

    It appears that these cameras stem from Infidelity issues.

  • Clavos

    My personal favorite is “Seekism****”.

    Unfortunately, it’s too often separated from its corollary religion, “Findism****”.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I thought that perhaps Eric wasn’t allowing anyone to post on this thread unless they smoked something mind-altering first.

    But nope. It’s just a bunch of nutters talking amongst themselves.

    Oh, hello, gonzo. Didn’t mean you.

  • “#54 — July 31, 2007 @ 23:20PM — Religion Ranking

    Buddhism *****
    Islam ****
    Hinudism ****
    Christianity ****”

    While ‘hinudism’ is fun, lonudism can be even better, and it’s hard to beat fullfrontalnudism.

  • Duh

    Hey Shooter, Hey Shooter? Drop the Bomb again, Wasn’t Hiroshima and Nagasakie enough and you wonder who would blow up the world trade center.

    “Thou Shalt not Kill”

    1) Thy Fellow Christians.
    2) Thy Fellow Man.
    3) Thy Fellow Animal.

    In my openion the first one works the best and even that in pratical sense. Look I got no problems with War as it is very real. There seems to be some confusion there with that.

    Is that a Christian Principle. No it is story book.

  • Religion Ranking

    Buddhism *****
    Islam ****
    Hinudism ****
    Christianity ****
    Taoism ****
    Animism ****
    Seekism ****
    Shintoism ****
    Jainism ****
    Scientology ****
    Bhaism ****
    Otherism ***

  • Dave, Delhi is spelled that way in some languages…

  • REMF

    Yes, “Dihli” counts.
    – MCH

  • Chris, I’m not sure ‘Dilhi’ counts since it was misspelled.


  • is this some new incarnation of “Mary reborn literally”?

    or merely a fellow traveler?

    Enquiring minds don’t really give a shit


  • Average Guy

    We thank Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and various religions for washing us. They have had to do this cause some of their flock has strayed from the path.

    We thank the United States, China, India and Pakistan for washing us some cause some of their Politicians do not understand natinal policy.

    Please at least read a few pages from your respective books.

  • Money, there are five cities in your list, not four. Doh!

  • Money

    What’s wrong with Shanghai, Houston, Lagos, Dilhi, London? Well rumor on the street is that someone will try to blow up all four of these cities on the same day.

    What is our target deadline? There are multiple timelines.

    Why? Well the war in Iraq, Afganistan, Vietnam, Korea, Pakistan, Rawanda and ego issues.

  • Jorge

    We thank the Political Posse for answering our questions.

  • Peter

    The four pillars of success Nation, Profession, Religion and Race.

  • Bud

    Religion –>> In Sea
    Christians –>> Lions
    Muslims –>> Turtles
    Hindus –>> Dolphins
    Buddhists –>> Horse
    Seeks –>> Sharks
    Animists –>> Octopus
    Taoists –>> Squid
    Shintoist –>> Ottors
    Scientologist –>> Abberaes
    Otherism –>> Fish

    Religion –>> On Land
    Christians –>> Bear
    Muslims –>> Cheethah
    Hindus –>> Elephant
    Buddhists –>> Tiger
    Seeks –>> Wolf
    Animists –>> Gorrilla
    Taoists –>> Bull
    Shintoist –>> Horse
    Scientologist –>> Cat
    Otherism –>> Dog

  • Bud

    What you doing? Well even I am not really sure at times I have these really brilliant ideas about all sorts of stuff. I think it is the hive mind. The movies are really good.

  • Boy

    I hate some of you, though I am not allowed to per religious law for emptiness is bliss.

  • Anonmyous

    Calpine is very sick and it has rubbed off on Saic and DOD. We have contacted the social services to better assist those sick people.

  • Raj

    Calls trace back to the offices of Bank of America, Citigroup, MBNA America, JP Morgan and Company, Ameritrade Inc, Etrade Inc and other financial instutuions.

    What are they doing? They are calling to collect on past due bills and close open accounts.

    How many calls? BAC (50), C (25), KRB (50), JPM (90), AMTD (5), ETFC (5).

    Did you call them back? Yes, a few times each and sent them written letters.

    Do they owe you or you owe them money? No.

    Ameritrade *****
    Citigroup ****
    Bank of America ***
    JP Morgan ***
    Etrade Inc ***
    MBNA America ***
    Other ***

  • Maan

    He is going to pull a gun on you….

    But he is Christian and their book says thou shalt not kill.

    It is gods law, that is what the Christan man said to me.

    Look what they are doing in Afganistan, Iraq, Vietnam and Korea.

    Look at the Hamburger that they are eating.

    Oh, I see your point.

    So same with Ramayan, Quran, Li Ki and this other book. Well Yes.

    What other book? The book of Laws by DOJ and this other one by DOD.

  • Bud

    Do the people of the United States support their military and the actions of the DOD in Iraq, Afganistan and elsewhere?

    Do the people of China support their military and the actions of the PLA in Tibet, Taiwan and elsewhere?

    Do the people of India support their military and the actions of the soliders in Kashmir and elsewhere?

  • Politics

    Country Loksava Rajyasava Total
    Nation House Senate Congress
    China 3000 50 3050
    Great Britain 646 731 1,377
    India 552 250 802
    Germany 598 69 667
    Mexico 500 128 628
    Brazil 513 81 594
    United States 435 100 535
    Nigeria 360 109 469
    Pakistan 342 100 442
    Iran 290 86 376
    Bangladesh 330 — 330
    South Korea 299 — 299
    Sri Lanka 225 — 225
    Nepal 205 — 205

    Most countries national leadership ranges from 200 to 5000 people and is generally divided {broken up} {united} {organized} into one or two houses. One person is given the title of Prime Minister, President. Some people are givent the title of Vice President, Vice Prime Minister, Speaker. Many people are given the title of Senator, Representative and Ministers.

  • Creation


    I think these are general guidelines not rigid laws as history has shown us.

  • Joe

    Excellent website. Nice Commentary.

  • Showari

    There are nearly 10 billion people on the plant and I am just one person.

  • Raj

    I wanted to thank Check Republic, Germany, Madagaskar, Iran, Italy, France, England and India for contacting me by email. The UN has been contacted to address your concerns.

    Maybe these countries need to speak with each other…

  • Raj

    7 out of 10 people that I have spoken with have told me not to move to Texas. They say that people from Texas are confused about their books and the War and stuff like that.

    In my openion the same problem exsists in other states.

  • Political Rating

    Hu Jinato ****
    George Bush ****
    Atal Behari Vajpayee ****
    Vladmir Putin ****
    Ali Jinah ****
    Saddam Hussain ****
    Kofi Anan ****
    Hugo Chavez ****
    Manmohan Singh ***
    Tony Blair ***
    Richard Cheney ***
    Bill Clinton ***
    Wu Yi ***
    Wen Jiabo ***
    Pervez Musharraf ***
    Shukat Aziz ***
    Vincente Fox ***
    Ban Ki Moon ***
    John Major ***
    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ***
    Other ***

  • Bored

    I thought that you hated European people, why you trying to pick up on that chick?

    So you mean some of them you hate and others you like. Why is that??

  • Skeptic

    I am sorry little snail for stepping on you.

    According to Christian and Buddisht law, I am now going to hell. Well that’s what it says!!!!!!!!

  • Bubba

    Is Slander a Christian law or National law?

  • Anonmyous

    I admonish all parties concerened to contact the UN with their openions relating to various matters.

    Please note that the UN receives thousands of such emails and phone calls daily.

  • Raj

    Some movies that you might like relating to these topics.

    The Emerald Forest
    Devil’s Advocate
    Sleeping with the Enemy
    Independence Day
    The Scent of Green Papaya
    Time Cop
    Judge Dredd
    Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger
    The House of Flying Daggers

  • War Senario

    Country A –>> 5 Million sqm land, 100 million people

    Country B –>> 10 Million sqm land, 50 million people

    Senario War 1
    Country A –>> 6 Million sqm land, 95 million people

    Country B –>> 9 Million sqm land, 45 million people

    Senario War 2
    Country A –>> 4 Million sqm land, 97 million people

    Country B –>> 11 Million sqm land, 42 million people

    Senario War 3
    Country A –>> 8 Million sqm land, 90 million people

    Country B –>> 7 Million sqm land, 40 million people

    These are the results of the war. Our terroritory {country} has expanded {shrunk}. Our terroritory is basically {virtually} unchanged. We lost more {less} {equal number of} people.

  • UN Rep

    United Nations Agreemets and violations their in by the SJPD. The world works on very solid fundemental principles. UN must be allowed to invistiage the United Sates of Ameica and China and India. Non compliance will result in removal from the UNSC.

  • ScooterChanani

    Who the heck is “Raj Chanani”, and what’s his point?

  • Raj Chanani

    Calls trace back to the offices of SJPD, SAIC, Calpine, Florida, homes in San Jose.

    DOJ please assist SJPD in resolving issues with Justice. Have contated the UN to validate the American, Chinese, Indian government.

  • Dan

    Congratulations to the Military of various nations.

  • Definition

    Terrorists –>> Soldiers from another country.

  • Job Title

    Spiritual Representative
    Jesus –> Christianity
    Krishna –> Hinduism
    Confuses –> Taoism
    Muhammed –> Islam
    Buddha –> Buddhism

  • Idea

    Yama and Yami –> Adam and Eve

    Kali –> Quan Yin –> Gaya –> Mary –> Parvati

    Mythology, Religion, Philosophy, Science

  • Basti

    I wonder who blew up the world trade center and the Pentagon?

    It was most likely one of these groups or a combination therin.

    1) Americans
    2) Arabs
    3) Desis
    4) Orientals
    5) Aseans
    6) Africans
    7) Europeans
    8) Hispanics

  • Spanky

    Wait, there is more, I mean do you like me? I am not sure cause you know people said that, well you know…

    Dont you?

  • Joe

    We heard much of this same BS during the Clinton Era and how it was affecting national security. In my openion, the Bush Cheney administration have handled issues better.

  • Raj

    United States vs. China I, Battlefiled Vietnam

    United States vs. China II, Battlefield Korea

  • Think

    Master the mind and you will win all of the heavens and hells.

    Two sea turtles.

    Religious texts are stories of a group of people, not moral laws.

    Small group of ever changing people that need to be normalized.

  • Philosophy

    We are the same yet different.

    Some events are more probable while other events are less probable.

    Alliances are created to acheive shared goals subsequently new alliances are created.

    The truth is fluid, ever changing, ever the same, like in a river.

  • Raj Chanani

    Do the Law books work the same way?

    Pure Fiction

    I hear that the DOD can sort out DOJ.

  • Raj Chanani

    Africa seems confused?

    China –>> Li Ki
    India –>> Ramayan Mahabharata Rig Veda
    Europe –>> Bible
    Middle East –>> Quran
    Asean –>> Pali Cannon

    Does Africa have a book of stories??

  • Norm
  • Norm

    I thought this might be of interest. Possible scenarios of future wars.

  • Raj

    There are basic philosophical problem with Christianity as with any religion or philosophy.

    For instance, “Thou Shalt not kill” and there you have European and American forces killing people in soverign terroritory.

  • Paul2

    The article includes many false and wrong assumptions as has been noted above. Therefore the conclusions are wrong as well.

    The US goes to war to achieve economic and political hegemony. “Blossoming democracies” are just a virtual side dish presented by the gov’t to make the whole war business easier to sell.

  • Raj Chanani

    How much of this is accurate information? It seems like things are being streached.

    Middle East vs United States I 1990

    United States vs Middle East II 2005

    Are there more such wars possible?

  • “Thad could you please educate us and list what justifications were changed?”

    I love the way anyone who does their job as a citizen, and reads up an anything, and is an “elitist” as soon as they disagree with Bush, but he never is, even though he went to high school at a Massachussets prep school and then went to Yale twice.

    Do I really need to rehash the history of the invasion of Iraq again? Last night’s speech should refresh the whole Iraq-9/11 link argument in the minds of some of the “he never linked Iraq and 9/11” crowd.

    The post above sums it up well, although the Iraq-9/11 link argument was used intermittently throughout the buildup to war, begin on the very afternoon of 9/11, when Rumsfeld starting trying to link the two. The 9/11 Commission report has a lot of info on this, too.


  • Nancy

    Well, lessee…first it was WMD. Those turned out to be fictional. Wishful thinking on the part of BushCo. Next, it was Saddam was in cahoots w/bin Laden. That turned out to be a lie, & our boy Hussein seems never to have met bin Laden. Next, it was Iraq had biological weapons. Oops – couldn’t find those, either. Next, it was enriched yellow cake from Sudan. Nope, sorry. Wrong again, honey. So NOW its one that’s harder to disprove, we’re sending our troops to get slaughtered in order to foster democracy and freedom for the Iraqis. Most of whom (according to recent inquiries by various parties, American & Arab) seem to wish we would just leave now, thanks, and close the door when we go. But we can’t do that, y’know: we gotta stay the course (whatever that means).

    How’s those for some good starters?

    IMO, if Bush was so damned concerned about freedom & democracy for Iraqis, he should have gone over there himself and run for President of Iraq, not the US. The latest laughable fabrication of BushCo was voiced last week by Porter Goss, that ‘we know exactly where bin Laden is, but we respect the sovereignty of foreign powers too much so we currently aren’t able to get him.’
    !?!??!?!?!?!! Respect the sovereignty of foreign powers? Who? BUSH?! I don’t think so, if the unilateral invasions of Afghanistan & Iraq (the latter totally unsupported by any of our normal allies, including as it now transpires, the UK) are any indication. Furthermore, not to smear just Bush w/that one, because I can think of no administration in the history of this country that has ever respected the sovereignty of any foreign power where it didn’t suit their taste. Meddling in other people’s lives & governments has always been a perogative the US has reserved to itself.

    Back to Bush. I sincerely hope, Thad, that you are right, but I doubt the GOP will revert to sanity once Smirk is out the door. The Neocons have the bit in their teeth now, and will not let go without a fight, and frankly they have proved they are far more likely to win, since they have absolutely no morals, ethics, or reservations about who or what they have to destroy in order to gain their goals, including their own supposed party. Kind of like cancer cells in a healthy body.

  • “Incessant bitching about the media for doing its job, instead of showing purely “good” news, is not going to be good enough to maintain support for a $200 billion invasion with constantly changing justifications.”

    Thad could you please educate us and list what justifications were changed?

  • Once Bush is out of office in 2009, and people don’t feel the need to stand by the guy the voted for, I honestly believe that the “Bush Doctrine” will be remembered in the same breath as Watergate. In the words of the intelligence officials of one of the only major allies we still have in Iraq, the Bush administration “fixed” the intelligence to get the results it wanted. You just can’t claim to promote democracy and justice at the same time you’re lying to your own people about who was involved with the 9/11 attacks, and about what kind of WMD evidence we have.

    Moreover, I can’t imagine that anyone is going to want to associate themselves with a doctrine named after Bush after January 20, 2009 (with the possible exception of the bloggers who claimed the Duelfer report supported the arguments for invading Iraq.) I think the post-Bush political climate is going to be characterized by a very no-nonsense, honest approach. Incessant bitching about the media for doing its job, instead of showing purely “good” news, is not going to be good enough to maintain support for a $200 billion invasion with constantly changing justifications (actually, as of this week, 53% of Americans believe Iraq was a mistake, and that’s even without the Downing Street Memo getting the play it deserves).

    Cutting taxes while you’re increasing spending will go out of style, as we try to deal with our budget deficit. Some people will miss Bush’s optimism, if that’s the word, I’m sure. But we’re going to have to drink a lot of black coffee to get rid of the Bush Hangover.