Had one of my Introduction to International Relations students been taking questions from Charlie Gibson tonight, s/he would have been well prepared to answer his question regarding the “Bush Doctrine”. As my students (still?) know, the “Bush Doctrine” was most clearly and forcefully enunciated in the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States. While there are three major components to the “Bush Doctrine”, the most important of which (at least the one that received the most attention and presented the most radical departure from the part-realist, part-liberal, bi-partisan, pre-9/11 US foreign policy framework was the idea of using preemptive military force, without the need for there to be an imminent threat.
Democratic critics have often charged Bush and his administration with claiming that Saddam Hussein posed an “imminent threat”, but I have yet to see any evidence that anyone speaking for the administration did so. And it’s not a surprise, as the Bush Doctrine allows the use of force without imminent threat. Maybe Governor Palin should bring some of those critics along with her to my class. And if the Republican Party would like to hire a IR tutor for Governor Palin, they’ll find my rates more than reasonable.