Friday, February 21, 2003
Over the past few months, I've been struggling to understand Bush's recent illogical (almost insane) foreign policy. Last night, I got a few answers when I watched a Frontline on PBS about the ten year history of Bush's foreign policy. The show, Chronology: The Evolution of the Bush Doctrine, traced the battle between the evangelical Hawks, epitomized by Paul Wolfowitz, who support pre-emption and the more moderate Republicans, epitomized by Colin Powell, who support containment and international cooperation. The rivalry started at the end of the Gulf War when Saddam Hussein was left in power and, although the U.S. had encouraged rebellion, U.S. forces were told not to intervene when the rebellions were squashed. Partly in response to what they considered failed U.S. policy, the Hawks developed a defense strategy of pre-emption and regime change using American hegemony focusing on countries like Iraq and North Korea. Bush Senior, firmly in the moderates' camp, had the plan re-written focusing on containment and cooperation. The plan resurfaced after September 11th. The disaster seems to have changed Bush into a Hawk. While Colin Powell and the other moderates have been arguing that moving on Iraq at this time will inflame the situation in that area, pull us away from our true target of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden and erode international support for the United States, the Hawks have been arguing that Iraq is a major threat, that containment of Saddam Hussein hasn't worked and that regime change is the only solution for bringing stability to the area. One interesting point that Alan made during the show was that Colin Powell and Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, both soliders, supported the moderates and the Hawks at the Dept. of Defense like Wolfowitz didn't have combat experience. While I still don't completely understand where the urgency is coming from and I definitely don't agree with the policy, I feel like I have a little more insight into Bush's decision making. The full show, The War between Closed Doors, should be available on the website starting February 25th.