Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The recent influx of attention about what the "Bush Doctrine" is, has me wondering how many people really know what it is?

Wikipedia has every President's doctrine. Here are some of the doctrines that I found interesting.

Bush Doctrine:

The Bush Doctrine is a phrase used to describe various related foreign policy principles of United States president George W. Bush, created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The phrase initially described the policy that the United States had the right to treat countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups as terrorists themselves, which was used to justify the invasion of Afghanistan.[1] Later it came to include additional elements, including the controversial policy of preventive war, which held that the United States should depose foreign regimes that represented a threat to the security of the United States, even if that threat was not immediate (used to justify the invasion of Iraq); a policy of supporting democracy around the world, especially in the Middle East, as a strategy for combating the spread of terrorism; and a willingness to pursue U.S. military interests in a unilateral way.[2][3][4] Some of these policies were codified in a National Security Council text entitled the National Security Strategy of the United States published on September 20, 2002.[5]

Central to the development of the Bush Doctrine is its strong influence by neoconservative ideology,[6][7] and it is considered to be a step from the political realism of the Reagan Doctrine.[6][8] The Reagan Doctrine was considered key to American foreign policy until the end of the Cold War, just before Bill Clinton became president of the United States. The Reagan Doctrine was considered anti-Communist and in opposition to Soviet Union global influence, but later spoke of a peace dividend towards the end of the Cold War with economic benefits of a decrease in defense spending. The Reagan Doctrine was strongly criticized[9][10][8] by the neoconservatives, who also became disgruntled with the outcome of the Gulf War[7][6] and United States foreign policy under Bill Clinton,[7][11] sparking them to call for change towards global stability[7][12] through their support for active intervention and the democratic peace theory.[11] Several central persons in the counsel to the George W. Bush administration consider themselves to be neoconservatives or sign on to their foreign policy ideas.[7][13][14][15][16][17]

Clinton Doctrine:

The Clinton Doctrine is not a clear statement in the way that many other United States Presidential doctrines were. However, in a February 26, 1999 speech, President Bill Clinton said the following, which was generally considered to summarize the Clinton Doctrine[1]:

It's easy ... to say that we really have no interests in who lives in this or that valley in Bosnia, or who owns a strip of brushland in the Horn of Africa, or some piece of parched earth by the Jordan River. But the true measure of our interests lies not in how small or distant these places are, or in whether we have trouble pronouncing their names. The question we must ask is, what are the consequences to our security of letting conflicts fester and spread. We cannot, indeed, we should not, do everything or be everywhere. But where our values and our interests are at stake, and where we can make a difference, we must be prepared to do so.

Later statements "genocide is in and of itself a national interest where we should act" and "we can say to the people of the world, whether you live in Africa, or Central Europe, or any other place, if somebody comes after innocent civilians and tries to kill them en masse because of their race, their ethnic background or their religion, and it's within our power to stop it, we will stop it" augmented the doctrine of interventionism.

The Clinton Doctrine was used to justify the American involvement in the war in Yugoslavia. However, President Clinton did not intervene to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

Truman Doctrine:

The Truman Doctrine was a proclamation by U.S. President Harry S. Truman on March 12, 1947. It stated that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey economically and militarily to prevent their falling under Soviet control. Truman called upon the U.S. to "support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures,"[1] which generalized his hopes for Greece and Turkey into a doctrine applicable throughout the world. The Soviet Union was clearly at the heart of Truman's thoughts, but the nation was never directly mentioned in his speech. As Edler states, Truman was attempting to solve Eastern Europe's instability while making sure the spread of communism would not affect nations like Greece and Turkey.

The Truman Doctrine represented the hard-side of containment, while the Marshall Plan was the less harsh approach. The declaration of the Truman Doctrine was followed by the end of tripartism (coalition governments that included communists).

Monroe Doctrine:

The Monroe Doctrine is a U.S. doctrine which, on December 2, 1823, stated that European powers were no longer to colonize or interfere with the affairs of the newly independent nations of the Americas. The United States planned to stay neutral in wars between European powers and their colonies. However, if later on these types of wars were to occur in the Americas, the United States would view such action as hostile. President James Monroe first stated the doctrine during his seventh annual State of the Union Address to Congress, a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States. Most recently, during the Cold War, the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine (added during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt) was invoked as a reason to intervene militarily in Latin America to stop the spread of Communism.