Faith in the Doctrine

The Bush Doctrine has its origins among the neo-conservatives, a loose group of influential scholars and intellectuals. The term itself is contested, but refers to the newly conservative, and former liberals. Paul Kagan, one of the more famous neo-cons, noted in an Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Late Night Live” interview that he was flatly not interested in domestic issues. Like many of the neo-cons, Kagan is interested in fostering a successful American future through the use of force, if necessary. The neo-cons created a “platform” of sorts with the establishment of “The Project for a New American Century” in 1997.
The project was an important step in articulating a new foreign policy for America. Through the placement of influential neo-con thinkers into the Pentagon and the Vice Presidents Office, the president brought this new thinking closer to policy creating circles. Over a number of months, the White House began to articulate this new policy. Three documents stand out as very important in this process: First, in a speech to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001 (9 days after the attacks on New York and Washington), a June 1, 2002 speech at the West Point Military Academy graduation ceremony, and culminating with the release of the National Security Strategy of the United States September 17, 2002.
The basis of these three documents is an unwavering faith in American values of liberty, justice, and freedom. Not only does the President purport “American’s freedom” and “progress, pluralism, tolerance, and freedom” for all peoples of the world. He describes the views of Al Queda as “radical visions” or “radical beliefs.”
In his address to the graduates of West Point, he said “Some worry that it is somehow undiplomatic or impolite to speak the language of right and wring. I disagree.” These speeches represent the rise of the President’s conviction in his God and his belief in a new foreign policy for the United States. In the opening letter from the President, the National Security Strategy outlines a few important ideas.
The opening paragraph of the Security Strategy is quite telling:
The United States possesses unprecedented – and unequaled – strength and influence in the world. Sustained by faith in the principles of liberty, and the value of a free society, this position comes with unparalleled responsibilities, obligations, and opportunity. The great strength of this nation must be used to promote a balance of power that favors freedom.

The Impact
Rooted in faith, there is little room for disagreement in this strategy. The administration labels those who oppose this plan as unpatriotic – a cardinal sin in this American theocracy. Primary examples of those who resigned from this Administration include Richard Clarke and Paul O’Neill. The list of books that critique the Bush Administration is several pages long.
The Bush Doctrine goes beyond the preemptive strikes against other nations who do not adhere completely to the Administrations ideals of freedom and peace. Preemption is taken against those who do not prescribe themselves to all Bush Doctrines, foreign and Domestic. The foreign policy initiative is the most overt of the message control used by the Bush Administration. It is not the only.
Unbending goals and singular faith in a few ideals guide the Bush Administration. Faith-like language employed by the President describes these ideals, and are proscribed to all in the Administration, such as through the Office of Global Communications. Global Warming is now Climate Change. Bush characterizes the war in Iraq as part of the more broad War on Terror. The Roanoke Times noted in 2003 that “Bush shows time and again his willingness to censor, distort or simply ignore scientific evidence contrary to his policy objectives - including data on global warming, on Arctic oil drilling and wildlife, on stem-cell research, on tax cuts and budget deficits, on abortion, on condoms and "abstinence only" sex education.“
This distortion of facts is evident in Iraq where the US Military found no weapons of mass destruction. The New York Time’s Ron Suskind attributed these distortions to faith, not in God but in the goals of the Administration. “This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith.”
Where does this leave us? When looking at the Foreign Policy of the Bush Administration it is critical to understand the faith of the President, to read between the lines in what he says, and to fear that he may act with determination on something the rest of the world is struggling to understand. Although realist, constructivist, neo-liberal, and neo-realist models may inform the Bush Administration, it is none of these. Nor do the “neo-cons” entirely inform the President. Instead, the Bush Presidency is the modern faith-based presidency, not in God, but in itself.

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