Monday, September 19, 2005

9/11 and the Past and Future of American Foreign Policy

Melvyn P. Leffler, Professor of History/Univ.of Virginia
International Affairs, October 2003
Does the national security strategy of the Bush administration constitute a radical new departure or does it possess clear links to past American policies? Is the Bush strategy motivated by the perception of threat, the pursuit of power, or the quest for hegemony? This article argues that the policies of the Bush administration are more textured and more conflicted than either its friends or its foes believe. They are also less bold and less likely to offer enduring solutions. In fact, they constitute a surprising departure from the ways most former US administrations have dealt with 'existential' threats in the twentieth century. By championing a 'balance of power favouring freedom' and by eschewing the 'community of power' approach propounded by Woodrow Wilson, Bush and his advisers are charting a unilateralist course for times of crisis, a course neither so popular nor so efficacious as its proponents think. But the unilateralism is prompted by fears and threats that must not be dismissed or trivialized by critics of the administration.
Full-text available, click here.

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