Noted historian Robert G. Kaufman contends that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, shattered the optimism so prevalent in the United States during the tranquil and prosperous 1990s. President George W. Bush's controversial grand strategy for waging a preemptive Global War on Terror has ignited passionate debate about the purposes of American power and the nation's proper role in the world. "In Defense of the Bush Doctrine" offers a vigorous argument for the principles of moral democratic realism that inspired the Bush administration's policy of regime change in Iraq. Kaufman connects the Bush Doctrine and current issues in American foreign policy to the deeper tradition of American diplomacy, drawing from positive lessons as well as cautionary tales from the past. Two key premises shape Kaufman's case for the Bush Doctrine's conformity with moral democratic realism. The first premise is the fundamental purpose of American foreign policy since its inception: to ensure the integrity and vitality of a free society "founded upon the dignity and worth of the individual."
The second premise is that the cardinal virtue of prudence (the right reason about things to be done) must be the standard for determining the best practicable American grand strategy. "In Defense of the Bush Doctrine" provides both scholars and lay readers a broader historical context for the post-September 11 American foreign policy that will transform world politics well into the future.
Robert G. Kaufman, professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, is the author of numerous publications, including Henry M. Jackson: A Life in Politics. He is a former Bradley Scholar and current adjunct scholar at the Heritage Foundation.
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