Many individuals domestically and internationally who strive for peace and justice are concerned about the new National Security Strategy issued by the George W. Bush Administration in September 2002. 1 William Galston, for example, writes in a recent issue of Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly: A global strategy based on the new Bush doctrine of preemption means the end of the system of international institutions, laws and norms that we have worked to build for more than a half a century. To his credit, Kissinger recognizes this; he labels Bush’s new approach “revolutionary” and declares, “Regime change as a goal for military intervention challenges the international system.” 2 Does the new Bush doctrine end the international legal system? Is the new Bush doctrine making policy declarations that are unprecedented in United States history? While I share many of the concerns critics are expressing about the new national security strategy, I contend that the more serious issue is not the ways in which this strategy represents a departure from those of prior United States presidential administrations but the actual practices of the Bush administration that appeal to this strategy. I will indicate how this new national security strategy does not represent much of a shift in policy, capability, or practice. Instead, this strategy Bush is using the strategy as an enabling device for a disturbing resurgence of United States global imperialism that serves interests that are actually opposed to the political rhetoric of the value of nations aiming for democracy and a market economy. I conclude by commenting on pursuing genuinely democratic values. I suggest that if the United States were truly committed to democratic values, then any military interventions would require the prior consent of the people. Otherwise what the United States refer to as “bringing democracy” to a people will be more like a militarily enforced authoritarianism that too closely resembles old-style exploitive imperialism.
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