Jay Bookman’s analysis of the foreign policy goals of the Bush administration is a must read (I found the link at Camworld). Basically, Bookman’s argument is that the current Bush foreign policy is the outgrowth of a philosophy adopted by the decision makers in the Bush administration (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, for starters) that envisions America as the world’s preeminent power, imposing its will on all others.
Bookman does a good job of deducing what connects the dots that we’ve seen since 9/11. Why Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as the axis of evil? As it turns out, they were on the list before George W Bush even became President. As made clear in the National Security Strategy document published on September 20, the administration sees America’s role as a power that overshadows all others and imposes its will on everyone else in the world. And, more importantly, that maintains a massive military presence that no other nation can compete with. The most disturbing part states blatantly not only will we address threats, but that we will preemptively attack countries that we fear might be threats.
Am I comfortable with an interventionist foreign policy? Yes, absolutely. I’d like to see the US do what it can to alleviate human suffering around the world, whether it’s due to preventable disease, hunger, or governments that have no respect for human rights. I want us to ensure the security of Americans and of as many other people in the world as possible. I understand that we must sometimes go to war to do so. However, when you start invading countries because you think that they might pose a threat, you cross a line. It makes the United States a different sort of country.
It was exactly this sort of vision that led the United States down a destructive path during the Cold War. The United States and the Soviet Union left a trail of millions of corpses around the world while fighting for global preeminence. The fact that we don’t have another great power to offset us (for now) certainly doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t create similar wreckage in our attempts to keep everyone else in the world down.
Ultimately, I don’t know how much there is to fear from these plans, because either in 2005 or 2009 we’ll have a new President, and besides that, the country has enough other problems that devoting such a massive amount of our attention and resources to kicking around countries all over the world just isn’t feasible. Furthermore, I doubt that the American people are arrogant and nationalistic enough to buy into such a vision anyway. I’m quite impressed that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published the piece.