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International Socialist Review Issue 33, January–February 2004

The Democrats, the Bush Doctrine & imperialism
The other war party

By Lance Selfa

Lance Selfa is the editor of The Struggle for Palestine (Haymarket Books, 2002) and is a member of the ISR editorial board.

OF ALL the issues on which the 2004 presidential election will turn, none is likely to be more momentous than the issue of U.S. foreign policy. For the Bush administration–whose entire identity and "popularity" stems from its response to the September 11 attacks and its aura of wartime leadership–this is a no-brainer. But for those who want to remove the Bush administration from power, foreign policy will also play a decisive role.

Thousands of people who marched and demonstrated against Bush’s war are now signing up with various presidential campaigns, registering voters and the like in preparation for the election. Democratic presidential candidates such as former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) are recruiting antiwar activists to their campaigns.1

To sections of the antiwar movement, much more is at stake in November 2004 than an election. It would not be an exaggeration to say that some antiwar activists believe the very fate of humanity hangs on the rejection of Bush and the Bush Doctrine of endless war. To Carl Davidson and Marilyn Katz, authors of a widely circulated discussion paper directed at antiwar activists, this means removing the "War Party" in Washington, the "clique [that] is the principal architect of the war in Iraq and the main immediate danger to peace in the Middle East, and to any semblance of democracy or equality in the United States." The best antiwar activists can hope for, according to Davidson and Katz, is a return to the (Democratic-led) status quo ante-Bush:

Instead in 2004 the Democrat national security platform must be an all-sided attack on the national security policy of the Bush hegemonist clique, showing how the future it proposes will make our country and the world less secure, not more secure. Far from defending our freedoms, it will be at great cost to our liberties. Given the relation of forces, this will be mainly the critique of the multilateral Globalists–a position that is some combination of the critiques currently espoused by former Presidents Carter and Clinton and major voices of global capital like George Soros. If the progressive left is strong enough in the primaries, the overall platform will reflect some of its concerns as well, but there should be no illusions that this will be or should be an anti-imperialist position.2

Coming from activists like Davidson and Katz, with long histories of supporting Democratic candidates, these positions aren’t too surprising. But sentiment for "anyone but Bush" is also pushing many on the left who have been critical of Democrats in the past to consider pulling the lever for whatever candidate has the greatest likelihood of ending Bush’s presidency (read: the Democrat). ZNet editor Michael Albert doesn’t come right out and endorse a Democrat, but he comes pretty close:

One post-election result we want is Bush retired. However bad his replacement may turn out, replacing Bush will improve the subsequent mood of the world and its prospects of survival. Bush represents not the whole ruling class and political elite, but a pretty small sector of it. That sector, however, is trying to reorder events so that the world is run as a U.S. empire, and so that social programs and relations that have been won over the past century in the U.S. are rolled back as well. What these parallel international and domestic aims have in common is to further enrich and empower the already super-rich and super-powerful.

Seeking international Empire means war and more war–or at least violent coercion. Seeking domestic redistribution upward of wealth and power, most likely means assaulting the economy via cutbacks and deficits, and then entreating the public that the only way to restore functionality is to terminate government programs that serve sectors other than the rich, cutting health care, social services, education, etc.3

Even Noam Chomsky, usually one of most vociferous critics of the bipartisan consensus, isn’t ruling out support for the Democratic candidate in 2004. Following a recent speech at a United for Peace and Justice meeting in Massachusetts, Chomsky delivered an attack on both major parties. When an audience member asked if there was any point in replacing Bush with a Democrat, Chomsky replied: "The people running Washington happen to be a particularly dangerous crowd in a narrow spectrum." That’s why antiwar activists should try to defeat Bush at the polls, he intimated. "These guys have so much power that small differences can have large consequences. This administration is recycled from the more reactionary elements of the Reagan and first Bush administrations."4

These appeals show the tremendous pull that voting for the lesser of two evils will have on sections of the antiwar movement (along with anyone else to the left of Bush) between now and November 2004. These positions stem from two overriding assumptions: first, that Bush and his foreign policy is so radical and threatening that he must be thrown out of office at any cost; second, that whatever the limitations of the Democratic candidate, he or she will redirect U.S. foreign policy away from Bush’s aggressive and unilateral path.

This article will try to show that both of these assumptions are wrong. Bush’s policy, including the Bush Doctrine promulgated in September 2002, represents a new departure in U.S. foreign policy. But it doesn’t represent a fundamental break with what came before it. Second, there is nothing in the record of Democratic administrations to show that they are any less committed to pursuing and extending U.S. imperial interests than Republican administrations. What differences exist between the two parties on questions of foreign policy usually remain confined to marginal rather than central issues. If a Democratic administration took office in January 2005, no one should expect a sudden reversal of the policies Bush–or previous administrations–set into motion.

Would President Gore have gone to war in Iraq?

To many looking forward to voting Bush out of office in 2004, it’s self-evident that the Democrats would present a reasonable alternative. After all, they claim, the real winner of the 2000 presidential election, former Vice President Al Gore, would never have pushed U.S. foreign policy in the direction that Bush that has moved, even after the 9/11 attacks. We have it on the authority of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, whose recent article in Foreign Affairs criticizes Bush for trading "reliance on alliance" for "redemption through preemption." Albright continued:

I remain convinced that had Al Gore been elected president, and had the attacks of September 11 still happened, the United States and NATO would have gone to war in Afghanistan together, then deployed forces all around the country and stayed to rebuild it. Democrats, after all, confess support for nation building, and also believe in finishing the jobs we start. I also believe the United States and NATO together would have remained focused on fighting al-Qaeda and would not have pretended–and certainly would not have been allowed to get away with pretending–that the ongoing failure to capture Osama bin Laden did not matter. As for Saddam, I believe the Gore team would have read the intelligence information about his activities differently and concluded that a war against Iraq, although justifiable, was not essential in the short term to protect U.S. security. A policy of containment would have been sufficient while the administration pursued the criminals who had murdered thousands on American soil.5

In September 2002, Gore himself made news when he presented what was billed as a strong critique of Bush’s plans to attack Iraq in a speech at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club. The San Francisco Chronicle called it "one of the most forceful Democratic condemnations of President Bush’s foreign policy." Headlines told of the former vice president denouncing Bush’s "go-it-alone, cowboy-type reaction to foreign affairs."6

But a closer look at both Albright’s and Gore’s texts shows that their criticisms of Bush are actually quite mild. At several points in Albright’s Foreign Affairs article, she asserts a criticism of Bush only to take it back a few paragraphs later. At one point, she blasts Bush for framing U.S. policy as a "with us or against us" choice. But later in the article she writes, "We must be relentless in shaping a global consensus that terrorism is fully, fundamentally and always wrong. No exceptions, no excuses." She criticizes the Bush administration for going to war without even convincing the UN Security Council to support it. But later she adds "I personally felt the war was justified on the basis of Saddam’s decade-long refusal to comply with UN Security Council resolutions on WMD." (Incidentally, that was Bush’s original pretext for the war.) Albright even says "I credit Bush for his ambition and for taking political risks he did not have to take…. For the good of the United States, I hope his policies succeed. But I am left with the feeling that he has needlessly placed obstacles in this own path."7 Note, too, that she offers the opinion that as president Gore would have concluded that war with Iraq "was not essential in the short term," implying that he would not have renounced invasion, but merely delayed it. All of Albright’s criticisms have the feel of someone who is still advising the president on how best to carry out administration policy.

Gore’s speech follows a similar pattern of laying out a few good sound bites buried within a larger message that wants to advise Bush about how better to go about dealing with the "threat" posed by Saddam Hussein. Gore questioned the election-year timing of Bush’s congressional resolution authorizing a war in Iraq and argued the resolution should be "narrowed." But he added: "Nevertheless, all Americans should acknowledge that Iraq does, indeed, pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf region, and we should be about the business of organizing an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction." Gore prodded Bush to gather a larger "international coalition" to force Iraqi compliance before taking "other options." He also criticized the war in Iraq for its possibility to "seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century." So, in all, Gore didn’t oppose the war in Iraq in principle. He merely urged Bush to build a bigger coalition, to have a good plan for a post-war Iraq, and to focus on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden before dealing with Saddam Hussein. In fact, Gore’s criticisms of Bush mirrored the noises coming from Bush Sr.’s advisers such as James Baker and Brent Scowcroft.

While it is impossible to answer "What would Al Gore have done?" if he had been president on 9/11, his own statements and the statements of one of the chief architects of the Clinton-Gore foreign policy suggests "not much differently." It’s conceivable that Gore wouldn’t have pushed the confrontation with Iraq in the same way that Bush did, but it’s worth remembering that "regime change" against Iraq was official Clinton-Gore policy dating from 1998.8 Not only did the Clinton-Gore administration strangle Iraq for eight years with sanctions, but it also supported several attempts to foment a coup or uprising against Saddam Hussein. But liberals are willing to forget this because the Clinton-Gore administration carried out its militarist policies–such as the non-UN sanctioned NATO war in Kosovo in 1999–in a much less diplomatically clumsy way than the Bush administration does. Contrasting the fear and loathing Bush inspires in Europe with the "mourning for Clinton" in European public opinion, historian Perry Anderson comments:

Where the rhetoric of the Clinton regime spoke of the cause of international justice and the construction of a democratic peace, the Bush administration has hoist the banner of the war on terrorism. These are not incompatible motifs, but the order of emphasis assigned to each has altered. The result is a sharp contrast of atmospherics. The "war on terrorism" orchestrated by Cheney and Rumsfeld is a far more strident, if also brittle, rallying-cry than the cloying pieties of the Clinton—Albright years. The immediate political yield of each has also differed. The new and sharper line from Washington has gone down badly in Europe, where human-rights discourse was and is especially prized. Here the earlier line was clearly superior as a hegemonic idiom.9

To truly understand what is happening in this clash over the direction of U.S. foreign policy, it’s essential to pay attention to what the players say. Even more important is to pay attention to what they do now and what they have done in the past. From this point of view, a different understanding of the differences between Democrats and Republicans emerges. The Bush Doctrine does indeed represent a new departure in U.S. foreign policy. But it doesn’t represent the sharp and radical break with the past that liberal Democrats would like us to imagine. If anything, the more aggressive U.S. imperial policy under Bush represents an amplification of trends in U.S. policy that the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton set into motion. In fact, atmospherics and punditry aside, there is much more continuity between Clinton and Bush II than there is discontinuity.

Before explaining in greater detail why the differences between Democrats and even the Bush Republicans aren’t as sharp as they are made out to be, it’s worth considering one fact and one example in the relationship between Clinton and his supposed arch-enemy, Bush Jr. The one fact is this: At each major opportunity in which elder statesman Clinton has had an opportunity to weigh in on Bush’s major foreign policy decisions, he has backed up Bush. In a July 2003 appearance on Larry King Live, Clinton exonerated Bush’s manipulation of intelligence and endorsed the war in Iraq: "People can quarrel with whether we should have more troops in Afghanistan or internationalize Iraq or whatever, but it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons."10 What’s more, Clinton was hardly a disinterested observer of the war in Iraq. He acted as a close adviser to Bush’s partner in crime, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, throughout the buildup to war. When liberal-darling and potential future presidential contender Hillary Clinton returned from a visit to Baghdad in early December, the New York Times’ staunchly pro-war columnist William Safire ran a piece headlined "Hillary, congenital hawk." In it, he quotes her stating that Bush should "stay the course" in Iraq, but that "we need more troops, and we need a different mix of troops," echoing Republican Senator John McCain’s criticisms.11

Bush’s disdain for international treaties–from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming to the treaty establishing the International Court for Criminal Justice (ICC)–is cited more than any other example of the difference between Clinton’s "multilateralism" and Bush’s "unilateralism." Even pro-war Democrats like Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) attack Bush for this. But this is another example of the pot calling the kettle black. The Clinton administration sabotaged, and then refused to sign an international treaty banning land mines. It let a biological weapons treaty languish for years. Clinton only signed the 1998 ICC treaty three weeks before he left office, essentially punting it to the Bush administration. And after working strenuously to weaken the Kyoto Protocol in two separate international conferences, the Clinton administration signed the treaty. But it refused to submit it to the Senate for ratification after senators, on a 95-0 vote in 1997, promised to reject it. It goes without saying that presidential candidates Senators Lieberman, John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and former Senator Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.) voted against the treaty.

The parties and foreign policy: A case of political kabuki

Given the fairly narrow differences between the parties on U.S. foreign policy, it’s amazing that the image of sharp polarization between the parties exists. It’s particularly curious in the one main policy area in which the idea of "bipartisanship" extends the farthest. One of the oldest clichés in American politics holds that "politics stops at the water’s edge"–i.e. that partisan disputes aren’t supposed to interfere with the conduct of American foreign policy. On the biggest, guiding questions of American foreign policy, this is certainly the case. During the Cold War, for instance, no mainstream candidate ever ran a campaign challenging the U.S. anticommunist "containment" policy against the USSR. Today, every Democrat or Republican claims to have the best strategy for fighting terrorism. But within the wider agreement on goals and aims, there is room for disagreement. This is especially true during election season, when candidates and parties accentuate even miniscule differences between them to appeal to their respective voting bases. As foreign policy analyst Andrew Bacevich puts it, "Through tacit agreement, the two major parties approach the contest for the presidency less as an opportunity for assessing U.S. policies abroad than for striking poses–a hallowed and inviolable bit of political kabuki."12 During the 2000 election, Gore foreign policy adviser Richard Holbrooke maintained an agreement with Bush adviser Paul Wolfowitz–the intellectual author of the Bush Doctrine–to keep discussion of U.S. policy toward Indonesia and East Timor out of the presidential fray. As Holbrooke put it, "Paul and I have been in frequent touch to make sure we keep East Timor out of the presidential campaign, where it would do no good for American or Indonesian interests."13

When he was a presidential candidate in 1992, Bill Clinton chided George Bush Sr. for "coddling dictators" in his policy towards China. He said of Bush’s policy of forcibly returning to Haiti refugees from that country’s military dictatorship: "I am appalled by the decision of the Bush administration to pick up fleeing Haitians on the high seas and forcibly return them to Haiti before considering their claim to political asylum." He slammed Bush for being too slow to intervene militarily in Bosnia.14 Once in office, he reversed himself, essentially adopting Bush Sr.’s policies on these questions. In the case of Haiti, he didn’t even wait until his inauguration to announce that he would maintain Bush’s policy of locking up Haitian refugees in the Guantánamo Bay camp that is now serving as a gulag for accused terrorists. Clinton lifted any human rights considerations regarding trade with China as part of his policy of adopting China as a "strategic partner" with the U.S. By the end of his term, Clinton faced fire from right-wing Republicans who denounced his China policy in terms that resembled Clinton’s own criticism of Bush Sr. And in Bosnia, Clinton eventually make good on his plans for military intervention there, but only after trying to follow Bush Sr.’s policy for nearly three years. The so-called humanitarian intervention on behalf of Bosnia was no victory for progressives. It served as a template for greater U.S. intervention in the Balkans, and the creation of colonial administrations in Kosovo and East Timor.

Likewise, during the 2000 election campaign, George W. Bush blasted Clinton for promoting "nation building" in places like the Balkans, for over-extending the deployment of the armed forces, and for taking too soft a posture towards China, among other points. National Security Adviser-to-be Condoleezza Rice even hinted that the U.S. would pull its forces out of the Balkans because "We really don’t need to have the 82nd Airborne escorting kids to kindergarten." After Rice’s trial balloon caused outcry in Europe and in the U.S. media, Bush said he had no intention of pulling out of the Balkans. Despite its stated hostility to nation building, the Bush administration is now engaged in just such an endeavor in Afghanistan and Iraq. And with roughly half the combat power of the U.S. armed forces deployed around the world today, the U.S. military is stretched thinner than it ever was under Clinton. Finally, even before Bush decided to count China as an ally in the war on terrorism, he was backing away from his earlier bellicose rhetoric. When Chinese pilots shot down a U.S. spy plane in April 2001, Bush made a few saber rattling noises. The administration then decided to trade U.S. crewmembers for an apology to China, leaving Bush’s cheerleaders in the conservative press denouncing him for appeasing China. In a front-page editorial in the right-wing Weekly Standard, neoconservative ideologues William Kristol and Robert Kagan denounced "the profound national humiliation that President Bush has brought upon the United States" for issuing a statement of "regret" to win release of the crew of a U.S. spy plane that collided with a Chinese fighter over the South China Sea.15

These examples show that when it comes to foreign policy, there is much more continuity between administrations–even ones staffed by different political parties–than there is a difference between them. As Bacevich notes, most differences between Democratic and Republican administrations emerge on the margins of the main questions of U.S. foreign policy. This reality makes it harder to explain the widely shared–almost common-sense–perception that Democrats are "weak on defense" (or, put more positively from a liberal point of view, "committed to peace") and that the Republicans are both "stronger" and "more professional" in their approach to foreign affairs. It forgets the fact that the Democratic administrations were the architects of the Cold War "national security state" and the policy of "containment" of the USSR. FDR and his administration set up the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the United Nations–still, today, tools of American imperialism. Besides being the only head of state to use atomic weapons, President Harry Truman also created the National Security Council, the CIA and the Defense Department. His Truman Doctrine authorized U.S. troops to intervene anywhere to "defend free enterprise" against "communism." The mythmakers laud President John F. Kennedy for creating the Peace Corps, while ignoring that he also created the Green Berets. And he came the closest of any world leader to bringing the world to nuclear holocaust during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.16

The Democrats made their play as the architects of U.S. imperialism in a period in which "America First" isolationism still held sway over much of the Republican Party. This position held that U.S. foreign policy should be concerned only with the military defense of U.S. territory and should eschew overseas intervention or U.S. involvement in European or other regions’ affairs. Isolationist Republicans contributed to the 1920 defeat in the U.S. Senate of President Wilson’s treaty creating the League of Nations after the First World War. But when the Republicans moved back into the White House in 1952 with the victory of Dwight D. Eisenhower, they had largely accepted the Roosevelt-Truman orthodoxy. Although Eisenhower’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles made noises about "rolling back" communism–using the U.S. military to overthrow governments in the USSR-controlled Eastern Bloc–the Eisenhower administration never really challenged the Soviet Union in its own backyard. This meant that by the mid-20th century, the two major parties in U.S. politics were fundamentally dedicated to the same imperialist agenda. As Sidney Lens wrote in 1971, "by the time Dwight D. Eisenhower was sworn in as president early in 1953, America’s global imperialism had become institutionalized–imperialism was to remain a fixed and unyielding policy, modified only in details during the next four administrations."17

The neocons’ Democratic origins

The most serious challenge to this foreign policy consensus came in the debacle of the Vietnam War. After the 1968 Tet Offensive made clear that the war was unwinnable, not only public opinion, but also leading business executives and sectors of the military and intelligence establishments turned against the war. This growing "antiwar camp" concealed differences between those who opposed the war in principle and those who thought cutting U.S. losses in Vietnam would help the U.S. advance its business and political interests elsewhere. In 1972, Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern, backed by a segment of business executives, including cosmetics boss Max Factor III, and the CEOs of Xerox and Continental Grain, and pursuing a conscious strategy of co-opting the left, recruited antiwar activists into his campaign.18

The bulk of U.S. business wasn’t willing to follow the McGovern backers–and neither were powerful forces inside the Democratic Party that had become accustomed to playing their assigned roles in the set-up of Cold War liberalism. The State Department had long corrupted the AFL-CIO (often mocked by leftists as the "AFL-CIA"), funneling millions in government money to a cadre of trade-union activists (many of them ex-leftists) who built anticommunist unions and parties throughout the Third World. The mainstream labor movement refused to back McGovern. Cold War liberal politicians, who combined liberal positions on social welfare issues with strong support for Cold War military spending, formed another piece of the Democratic establishment that rebelled against McGovern. The most prominent among these was U.S. Senator Henry (Scoop) Jackson of Washington–nicknamed "the senator from Boeing"–who mounted presidential runs in 1972 and 1976 based on his "strong on defense" positions. Having abandoned McGovern, these sections of the Democratic establishment contributed to his landslide defeat in 1972–a defeat that solidified the image of the Democrats as being "soft on defense."

All of this history is important for today. The McGovern campaign and its aftermath is the story of the origins of the "neoconservatives" that most observers today believe to be the intellectual godparents of the Bush Doctrine. Almost all of the leading figures among today’s foreign policy neocons emerged from the Scoop Jackson and "AFL-CIA" wings of the Democratic Party. They found a home in the Reaganite Republican Party that came to power launching a New Cold War with the USSR. Richard Perle, the "prince of darkness" on today’s Defense Policy Board, began his Washington career on Jackson’s staff. The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, the co-author of The War Over Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny and America’s Mission, is the son of Irving Kristol, the one-time Trotskyist and editor of the formerly liberal magazine Commentary, and Gertrude Himmelfarb, another former liberal turned "virtuecrat." Defense Policy Board member R. James Woolsey III, a Washington lawyer who served in the Carter administration and spent two years as Bill Clinton’s first CIA director, was one of the most fanatical supporters of the theory that Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks. Former Iran-contra criminal Elliott Abrams, the administration’s current director of Middle East policy, is a former staffer for Jackson and a former member of Social Democrats USA,19 the organization that supplied much of the cadre of the "AFL-CIA" escapades in the Third World. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz received his introduction to Washington as a graduate assistant to his mentor, defense intellectual (and former Trotskyist) Albert Wohlstetter, who served as an adviser to Jackson.20 The neocon hawks first roosted in the Committee for the Present Danger (CPD), a Washington lobby formed in the 1970s to urge an end to U.S. détente with the Soviet Union and to call for a huge increase in military spending. CPD founders Paul Nitze and Eugene V. Rostow were both Democrats who supported Reagan in 1980. Nitze, who later joined the Reagan administration, was hardly a fringe player. He was the chief author of National Security Council Directive 68, the 1950 blueprint for U.S. Cold War policy produced for the Democratic Truman administration.

Of course, these neocon hawks found kindred spirits in longtime Republican hawks like Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Nevertheless, even today’s post-McGovern Democratic Party finds within its ranks people like Senators Lieberman and Graham, whose presidential campaigns hit Bush for not being tough enough in the war on terrorism. A leading propagandist for the war in Iraq was Kenneth Pollack, a former Clinton administration National Security Council official. In fact, another letterhead organization emerging from the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic Party, the Coalition for a Democratic Majority (CDM), included among its members major figures in the Clinton-Gore administration: Les Aspin, Clinton’s first defense secretary; Woolsey; current New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Clinton’s energy secretary and UN ambassador; Henry Cisneros, Clinton’s housing secretary and Lloyd Bentsen, Clinton’s first treasury secretary. The CDM joined these Clintonites with such Reaganites as former UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and Contra promoter Penn Kemble.21 The point here is that there is nothing inherently "Republican" about the neoconservatives said to be running the Bush foreign policy. U.S. imperialism is a bipartisan project, with its ideological warriors accepted in both major parties.

The Bush Doctrine

Of all the reasons that antiwar activists give for wanting to remove the Bush administration, the aggressive new Bush Doctrine heads the list. The Bush Doctrine, spelled out in the September 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS) of the United States, openly proclaimed a goal of maintaining U.S. domination of the world. "Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military buildup in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States," the Bush Doctrine proclaims. It enshrines the right to attack other countries the U.S. deems threatening, as Bush’s introduction to the document promises: "As a matter of common sense and self-defense, America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed." The Bush Doctrine is also a neoliberal manifesto. Although this aspect of the NSS grabbed fewer headlines, it represents nearly one-half of the document. "We will promote economic growth and economic freedom beyond America’s shores," it proclaims, listing promotion of policies like deregulation, "low marginal tax rates," free trade and lifting of capital controls as essential parts of U.S. national security strategy. To the Bush administration, the military and economic agendas of American imperialism are fully intertwined. Today’s U.S.-occupied Iraq is not only a demonstration of the Bush "preemptive war" strategy, but it is also a laboratory for the most doctrinaire neoliberal experiments, from widespread privatization to the imposition of the "flat tax."

The doctrine’s brazenness and its employment in the unprovoked attack on Iraq show the Bush regime’s uniquely dangerous nature, many in the antiwar movement conclude. For this reason, supporting any Democrat with a chance to beat Bush is essential. Carl Davidson and Marilyn Katz urge the antiwar movement to take advantage of the elections to target the War Party, the clique whom they hold responsible for "war with Iraq and the radical shift in U.S. foreign policy to ‘unilateral, preemptive war’ launched by the Bush White House."22

There’s no doubt the Bush Doctrine has broken new ground in brazenness with which it carries out what Rumsfeld calls a "forward-leaning" policy–using U.S. military intervention in every part of the world to advance U.S. political and economic interests. Ideologues like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and others took advantage of the post-September 11 climate to push through an aggressive militarist program that had been considered untenable only a decade before.23 The administration has pushed up the level of military spending from about $290 billion annually to more than $400 billion annually in three years, accomplishing in three years the increase in military spending that Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign pledged to accomplish in 10 years. Nevertheless, it would be quite wrong to consider the Bush regime and its doctrine as something completely without precedent. In fact, many of the policies that now fly under the colors of the Bush Doctrine were tested or even pioneered in the previous Democratic administration of Bill Clinton.

The collapse of the USSR in 1991 left the U.S. as the unassailable world superpower. This new situation left the U.S. with as much freedom of action as it could ever want. U.S. military and diplomatic planners set about preserving American primacy. Rather than deeply cutting the military budget in the face of the disappearance of its main raison d’être, Clinton maintained Cold War levels of military spending throughout the 1990s. Clinton dispatched U.S. troops to hot spots around the world more times than the previous four U.S. administrations combined. And ruling in the height of the high-tech boom when the U.S economy left its main competitors behind, the Clinton administration zealously pushed the free-market, free-trade agenda. As ISR editor Ahmed Shawki explained,

American imperial policy in the 1990s combined two aspects: One, to reestablish the right of the U.S. to militarily intervene directly, not just through proxies. Number two, economic imperialism had to be advanced, in particular to bring in those areas of the world that had been previously dominated by the USSR and to penetrate other areas more deeply.24

As Anderson notes above, the Clinton administration was diplomatically adept at cloaking its agenda of American domination in idealistic claptrap about the "international community." But it also spoke incessantly of the U.S. as the world’s "indispensable nation." Its rhetoric may not have been as "unilateralist" as Bush’s, but its actions set many of the precedents that Bush is now flaunting. To force a settlement in Bosnia, the U.S. launched NATO air strikes on Bosnian Serb positions in 1995. In using NATO in this way, the U.S. openly flouted the UN Security Council, which had been the forum for the Balkans policy of the U.S. and Europe up to that point. The U.S. simply asserted NATO’s right to act as an arm of the UN Security Council. Four years later, the U.S. junked even that pretext. Knowing it would face a Security Council veto from Russia and/or China, the U.S. didn’t even bother to seek a UN sanction for the 1999 NATO war in Kosovo.

Economically, the U.S. exercised its might as well. When the 1997 economic crisis spread through Asia, the U.S. strong-armed Japan out of its offer to organize the bailout of major Southeast Asian countries. The U.S. insisted that only the IMF could organize the bailout. More than at any time previously, the U.S. used its influence in the world bodies like the IMF and the World Bank to force free-market, U.S.-friendly policies on countries around the world.

Although Bush would never credit his predecessor, Clinton and his administration enacted policies that the Bush administration is taking advantage of today. Rumsfeld would not be in the position to play "New Europe" against "Old Europe" had Clinton not pushed through NATO expansion in 1996 nor pursued an aggressive policy in the Balkans. The U.S. military would not have been able to topple the Taliban in a few months using air strikes and local militias had the Clinton administration not already tested this strategy in Kosovo in 1999.25 Bush would not be poised to press Latin American countries into the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) had Clinton not fought for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993.

The Clinton administration also pursued policies that smacked of the world dominating strategy of the Bush Doctrine. The watchword of the 1997 "Quadrennial Defense Review" (QDR) the main statement of an administration’s military policies, was "shaping the international security environment in ways that promote and protect U.S. national interests." In other words, using the military in "forward-leaning" ways to alter the political and economic configuration of the world to conform to U.S. interests. The QDR asserted that "preventing the emergence of a hostile regional coalition or hegemon" was a chief U.S. national security goal. And the Clinton administration did not shrink from even more expansive definitions of U.S. goals. The Pentagon under Clinton sponsored Joint Vision 2020, a task force promoting the idea that the U.S. should strive for "full-spectrum dominance" of all possible theaters of war, from the oceans to space. Clinton authorized funding for the key weapon in this plan for global domination, the national missile defense system, a long-time goal of neoconservatives.26

Finally, the colonial administrations Bush is propping up in Afghanistan and Iraq owe much to the pioneering efforts of the Clinton administration in Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor. Liberals generally welcomed these exercises in colonialism as examples of "humanitarian intervention." One of the leading neoconservative ideologues, Max Boot, paid a backhanded compliment to Clinton when he urged imperial conquest "‘for the good of the natives,’ a phrase that once made progressives snort in derision, but may be taken more seriously after the Left’s conversion (or rather, reversion) in the 1990s to the cause of ‘humanitarian’ interventions."27

Of all mainstream commentators, Andrew Bacevich is the most clear-sighted of those analyzing the continuity of Clinton and Bush policies. Writing a review of the NSS that announced the Bush Doctrine, he explains:

Throughout the Clinton era, U.S. military forces marched hither and yon, intervening in a wider variety of places, for a wider variety of purposes than at any time in our history. More often than not, once the troops arrived, they stayed. As a result, by the time that Clinton left office in 2001, the defining fact of international politics–albeit one vigorously denied by the outgoing administration–had become not openness and not globalization but the emergence of a Pax Americana.

The Bush administration doesn’t share the Clinton administration’s "ambivalence" about using military force, he writes. It wants to lead with its mailed fist. Nevertheless,

The Bush administration’s grand strategy reeks of hubris. Yet one may also detect in its saber-rattling occasional notes of desperation. America today is, by any measure, the most powerful nation on earth, enjoying a level of mastery that may exceed that of any great power or any previous empire in all of history. Yet to judge by this extraordinary document [the NSS], we can not rest easy, we can [not] guarantee our freedom or our prosperity until we have solved every problem everywhere, relying chiefly on armed force to do so. In the end, we have little real choice–as the similarities between this new strategy and the Clinton strategy that Republicans once denounced with such gusto attest. In truth, whatever their party affiliation or ideological disposition, members of the so-called foreign policy elite cannot conceive of an alternative to "global leadership"–the preferred euphemism for global empire.28

2004 Democratic critique of Bush

In the 2002 mid-term elections, the Democrats insisted that they would run on a critique of Bush’s domestic agenda and avoid a battle with the president over the conduct of foreign policy. This was at a time when Bush deliberately pushed the congressional resolution authorizing war in Iraq to shape the midterm elections around "his" issue–the war on terrorism. This Democratic non-strategy turned out to be a loser. As liberal foreign policy commentator William Hartung explained after the November 2002 elections,

As for the Democrats, their leadership badly misplayed what admittedly was a difficult hand. The notion that granting the president his war resolution would somehow take the war issue off the table and clear the way for discussion of domestic issues, which were considered the Democratic Party’s strong suit, was a colossal miscalculation. Not only did it give voters concerned about the war nowhere to turn on election day–depressing turnout in the process–but the national Democratic Party never even bothered to craft an alternative domestic agenda. Not only was there no equivalent of the ten-point "Contract With America" that helped Republicans seize control of the house in the 1994 midterm elections, there was no plan at all.29

The Democrats ended up with the worst of both worlds. Those who supported Bush–including current presidential hopefuls Senators Kerry, Lieberman and John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Representative Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.)–found themselves lending legitimacy to a war policy that most rank-and-file Democrats opposed. Those who fell silent on the war in order to campaign on prescription drug benefits and the like had nothing to offer millions who were then besieging congressional offices with letters, e-mails and phone calls opposing the war. As a result, discouraged Democratic voters stayed home and Bush claimed a major victory for his war on terrorism policy. Given their pathetic showings–on both foreign and domestic agendas–the Democrats were lucky to have confined their losses to only five House seats and two Senate seats.

As the field of Democratic presidential hopefuls is shaping up, a new orthodoxy on foreign policy has taken shape. Determined not to let the White House paint them as "weak on defense," all Democratic contenders have heeded the pundits’ calls to put forth "credible" foreign policy positions.30 Decorated Vietnam vet (and early leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War), John Kerry, even tried to steal a page from Bush’s playbook–launching his campaign in front of the USS Yorktown stationed in South Carolina. The entrance into the Democratic presidential field of Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark is aimed, according to Clark’s supporters, at showing voters that Democrats are so "strong on defense" that they’ll follow an ex-general.

Pro-military posturing aside, what is the Democratic critique of Bush? In the statements from leading Democrats like Gore and Albright, in the advice offered to the Democratic Party in the pages of foreign policy specialist journals and in the stump speeches and position papers of the candidates themselves, a few major themes emerge. These main themes, plus a sampling of the supporting rhetoric follows below.

The Bush administration’s focus on Iraq and the "axis of evil" has diverted resources from the main battle: the war on terrorism. Madeleine Albright: "The Bush administration’s decision to broaden its focus from opposing al-Qaeda to invading Iraq and threatening military action against others has had unintended and unwelcome consequences."31 Howard Dean: "Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden used our loss of focus to rebuild their terrorist networks, as recent attacks in Saudi Arabia and Morocco demonstrate."32

The Bush administration has needlessly antagonized allies. Clinton UN official Suzanne Nossel: "If the U.S. had led the way into the UN [during the debate over the Iraq war], it could have gotten terms and a timeline suiting its needs. With the threat of unilateral action whispered, rather than shouted, other countries would have gotten the point without feeling compelled to counter the saber rattling."33 John Kerry: "The administration has tried to focus NATO on the Middle East, but its high-handed treatment of our European allies, on everything from Iraq to the Kyoto climate change treaty, has strained relations nearly to the breaking point."34

The Bush administration has failed to "finish what it has started," from capturing Osama bin Laden to rebuilding Iraq.35 Al Gore: "Great nations persevere and then prevail. They do not jump from one unfinished task to another. We should remain focused on the war against terrorism."36 Joe Lieberman: "After seeing how the administration allowed post-Taliban Afghanistan to regress into violence and instability, I warned that without a strong reconstruction strategy, post-war Iraq could degenerate into chaos. I offered detailed proposals on how to secure the peace after Saddam’s ouster, and urged President Bush to come forward with a plan of his own."37

The Bush administration has short changed homeland security. Wesley Clark: "The Homeland and Economic Security Fund would invest $40 billion over two years to directly fund jobs that immediately improve our security. The Bush administration has short changed vital areas of homeland security. The Council on Foreign Relations released a bipartisan study this summer that said that the nation is dramatically underfunding efforts to prepare police, fire and ambulance personnel for terrorist attacks. This fund would improve our defenses against a terrorist attack by paying to train more firefighters and police officers, hire more Coast Guard, customs service, and law enforcement personnel."38 Howard Dean: "If we can spend $400 billion to defend our nation from threats abroad, as we must, should we not spend more to defend our nation at home?"39

The Bush administration has departed from long-standing U.S. principles, making it difficult to wield the "soft power"of the U.S. in the world. John Kerry: "The Bush administration has a plan for waging war but no plan for winning the peace. It has invested mightily in the tools of destruction but meagerly in the tools of peaceful construction. It offers the peoples in the greater Middle East retribution and war but little hope for liberty and prosperity."40 Dana Allin, Philip Gordon and Michael O’Hanlon: "A negative image of the United States weakens alliances, increases resistance to U.S. policy, and, at worst, expands the available pool of potential recruits for terrorism."41

This sampling reveals a Democratic critique that stands well within the bounds of acceptable ruling-class debate about the relationship of the U.S. to the world. None of these leading Democratic candidates or spokespeople challenges the assumption that the U.S. should be anything but the number one military and economic power in the world. They don’t object to the reality of U.S. empire. They object to the Bush administration’s unseemly trumpeting of U.S. imperial aims. Despite their increased willingness to criticize the U.S. occupation of Iraq as it has unfolded into a disaster, none of them calls for an end to the occupation in Iraq or for an end to intervention in Afghanistan. In fact, all of them call for an increased troop presence in Iraq–preferably staffed with NATO, UN or other foreign troops. Their critiques of Bush are couched within a broader case that they, rather than Bush, hold the key to "restoring American leadership" of the world. Even their critiques of Bush’s policy of preemptive war don’t reject the concept out-of-hand. Dean, the candidate who made his name by opposing Bush’s war in Iraq, said in a major foreign policy speech: "In November 2004, the American people will seek a president who is prepared to use our brave and remarkable armed forces, as I would, to defend against any actual or imminent threat to ourselves or our friends and allies…." (italics added)42 Dean has also refused to rule out the preemptive use of military force to disarm Iran and North Korea, a position he developed in consultation with Danny Sebright, a former Defense Department official in the Bush II administration.43 Finally, Dean endorses the neocon’s dream program, the Star Wars missile defense system, and opposes a proposed ban on placing weapons in space.44

There are many subsidiary points of the Democratic critique of Bush–from his failing on issues like global warming and AIDS to a "lack of engagement" in the Israel-Palestine peace process. But the points listed above are the main themes around which the "top-tier" Democratic contenders will coalesce. One could object that the focus here on the top-tier candidates and leading establishment figures like Gore and Albright automatically produces the mildest Democratic critique of Bush. True enough. The platform that Rep. Dennis Kucinich proposes in his "Ten Point Program"–abolition of NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, multibillion-dollar cuts in the military budget, repealing the USA PATRIOT Act, the creation of a Department of Peace, U.S. support for global treaties and so on–stands far to the left of anything Democratic establishment figures quoted above would propose. But while Kucinich might win support from many in the antiwar movement for these positions, his campaign is not really aimed at winning the Democratic nomination. Instead, he wants to give progressives the idea that some Democrats actually care about what they think–only to make it easier for progressives to back a Dean, a Kerry or a Gephardt. On this, Kucinich is very clear, recently telling the Cleveland Plain Dealer: "The Democratic Party created third parties by running to the middle. What I’m trying to do is to go back to the big tent so that everyone who felt alienated could come back through my candidacy."45

Would a Democrat in the White House make a difference?

If one takes the Democrats at their word, a Democrat taking the Oval Office in 2004 might change the style of U.S. foreign policy, but not the substance. This is so for two reasons. First, none of the leading contenders has promised a radical break with Bush’s policies. Second–and more importantly–powerful forces would push a Democratic administration to continue many of Bush’s policies whether it wanted to or not.

At the most basic level, a change in administrations will not change the military and industrial bureaucracies with a vested interest in promoting and extending an aggressive U.S. foreign policy. Pentagon projects and arms contracts extend over years and outlast administrations. The officer corps and the vast military bureaucracy remain largely unchanged even when civilian administrations change. This promotes continuity in military policies across administrations–as well as inertia and challenges to civilian authority. The Clinton years witnessed what Bacevich calls "the rise of the pro-consuls," where "On an ever-widening array of foreign-policy issues–where the U.S. should engage, how and for what purposes–the military functioned as an independent and powerful policy advocate that civilian officials ignored at their peril."46 Regional Commanders In Chief (CINCs)–like Generals Tommy Franks and John Abizaid, the two most recent Central Command CINCs–exercise more political power in making U.S. foreign policy than any group of officers since the 1940s.

For the foreseeable future, any U.S. administration will inherit a geopolitical environment in which the U.S. spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined. The U.S. economy remains the world’s largest. So the U.S. will retain the ability to bully and bribe other nations to follow its demands. And no American administration dedicated to defending the interests of the American ruling class will ever voluntarily renounce the power it has. As Joseph Nye, a top Democratic foreign policy hand critical of Bush’s unilateralism, admitted: "No large country can afford to be purely multilateralist, and sometimes the United States must take the lead by itself, as it did in Afghanistan. And the credible threat to exercise the unilateral option was probably essential to getting the UN Security Council to pass Resolution 1441, which brought the weapons inspectors back into Iraq."47 During her stint as UN ambassador, Albright echoed Nye when she told the UN Security Council: "We will act multilaterally when we can, unilaterally when we must."

The Bush administration took advantage of September 11 to attain longstanding (and bipartisan) U.S. strategic goals, such as increasing U.S. hegemony in the Middle East and projecting U.S. power and influence into Central Asia, the heart of the former Soviet Empire. Now that the Pentagon has increased its "footprint" around the world, no U.S. administration is about to retreat if it doesn’t have to. In launching the war on terrorism, Washington has guaranteed that regions across the world will face years of turmoil. Other nations will take steps to counteract Washington’s more aggressive stance:

The most unnerving reality facing a new U.S. administration may be the fact that it could be too late to roll back the Bush administration’s aggressive policy because now other countries are emulating that policy. How could a new administration withdraw from Central Asia knowing that locals who reject the U.S. presence would construe it as victory and that other regional powers, most notably Russia and China, would attempt to increase their military and economic influence there? How could an administration withdraw from Iraq with dozens of U.S. companies already having contracts valued in the billions of dollars? Most ominously, how could a new administration leave so many power vacuums around the globe?48

These rhetorical questions answer themselves. No U.S. administration dedicated to upholding and defending "U.S. interests"–that is, the interests of U.S. business and the ruling class–could ever voluntarily retreat from all of these challenges. And any administration will assume control over a national security establishment whose understanding of the range of options available to it has already been stretched by the Bush Doctrine and the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

All of this suggests that a Democratic administration might make some small changes–like lifting the global "gag rule" against U.S. aid to international agencies that offer family planning advice. But it would not alter the direction or substance of U.S. foreign policy. So what would become of the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war, regime change and promotion of free-market capitalism around the world? Most likely, they would be honored in the breach. As previous administrations waged unprovoked invasions that affected regime change (Grenada, 1983; Panama, 1989; Haiti, 1994; Kosovo, 1999), a future Democratic administration might do the same without attaching the label of doctrine to it. Albright advises just such a course: "It would be helpful now if the doctrine of preemption were to disappear quietly from the U.S. national security lexicon and be returned to reserve status."49 Note that Albright doesn’t say the U.S. has no right to act preemptively. She just thinks the U.S. shouldn’t be so quick to pull the preemption trigger.

Approaching the question from a different angle

Writing in the midst of the First World War, the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin produced the book Imperialism: The Highest State of Capitalism. Lenin wanted to grasp the underlying social and economic factors that led the world’s capitalist states into world war. Previous generations of socialists, like the so-called "Pope of Marxism," Karl Kautsky, tended to view imperialism and war as an aberration from the generally peaceful development of capitalism. They tended to see imperialism simply as a policy pursued by the governments, reflecting the interests of the most backward sections of the ruling class (the militarists and big landowners). Other capitalists, those who depended on international markets, were seen as opposing this policy of imperialism as being counterproductive to the development of capitalism.

Lenin broke with this view, arguing that imperialism wasn’t a policy that changed with the change of governments in the central powers. Imperialism was an inherent part of how modern capitalism operated. Capitalism is a competitive economic system in which units of capital first compete on a national level, and then on an international level. They not only compete among themselves inside a country, but they compete against each other internationally for labor power, markets, raw materials and investment opportunities.

Even if we knew nothing about the mainstream candidates running for president in 2004, the Marxist understanding of imperialism would tell us why the main thrust and direction of U.S. foreign policy won’t change if Bush is tossed out of the White House. As the exposition of the Democratic critique of Bush here has shown, a Democratic administration may reflect ruling-class desires for a "kinder, gentler" imperialism. But it would be dedicated to imperialism just the same. While many "anybody but Bush" proponents in the antiwar movement would concede this, they are willing to look the other way. Unfortunately, this is not only incorrect, but it can also have damaging consequences for building an opposition to U.S. militarism. Bill Clinton’s ability to sell his overseas adventures with the rhetoric of human rights and the international community dampened opposition that needed to be built.

The Bush Doctrine has placed before the massive antiwar opposition the challenge of combating imperialism and colonialism. It’s understandable that many mobilized in this opposition would want to get rid of Bush in 2004. But trading one imperialist politician for another isn’t a step forward. The challenge that Lenin faced–that of tackling imperialism at its roots in the capitalist system–is ours today.

1 U.S. Labor Against War founding member Bob Muhlenkamp recently joined Howard Dean’s staff and Dennis Kucinich was the only candidate with an organizational presence at the United for Peace and Justice national conference held in Chicago in June 2003.

2 Carl Davidson and Marilyn Katz, "Moving from protest to politics: Dumping Bush’s regime in 2004," available online at

3 Michael Albert, "Election plan?" ZNet, August 12, 2003, available online at

4 Victoria Griffith, "The preacher: Noam Chomsky," Financial Times, August 7, 2003.

5 Madeleine K. Albright, "Bridges, bombs or bluster," Foreign Affairs, September/October 2003, p. 5.

6 See "Text: Gore assails Bush’s Iraq policy," Washington Post, September 24, 2002; Carla Marinucci and John Wildermuth, "Gore blasts Bush’s ‘cowboy’ Iraq policy," San Francisco Chronicle, September 24, 2002.

7 Albright, pp. 11, 16.

8 See Stephen F. Hayes, "Democrats for regime change," Weekly Standard, September 16, 2002.

9 Perry Anderson, "Force and consent," New Left Review 17 (September-October, 2002), available online at

10 Clinton quoted in Matthew Riemer, "Bush and Clinton: Birds of a feather," Yellow Times, July 24, 2003, available online at

11 William Safire, "Hillary, congenital hawk," New York Times, December 9, 2003.

12 Andrew Bacevich, American Empire (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002), p. 200.

13 Holbrooke was the Carter administration’s ambassador to Indonesia, a post that went to Wolfowitz when the Reagan administration took over in 1981. Essentially, Holbrooke and Wolfowitz acted as a tag-team in running U.S. policy toward East Timor and the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia throughout the 1970s and 1980s. See Tim Shorrock, "Paul Wolfowitz, Reagan’s man in Indonesia, is back at the Pentagon," Foreign Policy in Focus, February, 2001.

14 See Lance Selfa, Bill Clinton: A Record of Broken Promises (Chicago: Bookmarks, 1996), p. 10 and Paul D’Amato and Lance Selfa, The 1992 Elections: Is Bill Clinton the Lesser Evil? (Chicago: Bookmarks, 1992), pp. 8—9.

15 See William Kristol and Robert Kagan, "A national humiliation," Weekly Standard April 16—23, 2001, pp. 11—17, available online at

16 Sherry Wolf reviews the Democrats’ history as a party of imperialism and war in "The Democrats and war: Not a lesser evil," International Socialist Review 26 (November/December 2002), pp. 39—46.

17 Sidney Lens, The Forging of the American Empire (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2003), p. 379.

18 See Thomas Ferguson and Joel Rodgers, Right Turn (New York: Hill and Wang, 1986), pp. 31, 37 on the McGovern campaign.

19 See Political Research Associates’ dossier on Social Democrats USA, online at This is a fascinating look at the connections between the right wing of the AFL-CIO and the neoconservative establishment.

20 For background on the neoconservatives, see Alain Frachon and Daniel Vernet, "The Strategist and the Philosopher," June 2, 2003, online at This article was originally published in Le Monde, April 16, 2003, translated by Norman Madarasz. On the connections between the neocons and radicals, see John B. Judis, "Trotskyism to anachronism: The neoconservative revolution," Foreign Affairs, July/August 1995, available online at

21 For more on the CDM, see In an even more bizarre connection between these right-wing Democrats and the current crop running Bush’s foreign policy, CDM housed the offices of "Team B," a right-wing cabal that George Bush Sr. set up inside the CIA to provide intelligence intended to undermine President Ford’s détente plans with the Soviet Union. Team B fed back-channel information to then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that helped Rumsfeld sink SALT I negotiations. Many observers today say that Rumsfeld’s current "Office of Special Plans" is modeled on Team B–a connection that isn’t so far-fetched when you consider that Wolfowitz was a member of Team B.

22 Davidson and Katz.

23 Wolfowitz was the chief author of the 1992 Defense Policy Guidance document that anticipated the Bush Doctrine’s central themes: "we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power." When word of this document leaked to the New York Times, it caused a scandal that led the Pentagon and the Bush Sr. administration to repudiate it. See Michael T. Klare, Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws (New York: Hill and Wang, 1995), pp. 100—104.

24 Ahmed Shawki, "Turning point for U.S. imperialism," International Socialist Review 26 (November/December 2002), p. 37.

25 Andrew J. Bacevich, "Not-so-special operation: Bush adopts the Clinton way of war" National Review, November 19, 2001, available online at

26 See Rahul Majahan, Full Spectrum Dominance (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2003), pp. 9, 51—54.

27 Max Boot, "The case for an American empire," Weekly Standard, October 15, 2001, p. 27. For more detailed discussion of the new colonialism see Lance Selfa, "A new colonial age of empire?" in International Socialist Review 23 (May/June 2002), pp. 50—57.

28 Andrew J. Bacevich, "Bush’s grand strategy," September 29, 2002, available online at

29 William Hartung, "Elections and the war," November 20, 2002, available online at

30 No matter what they propose, Democrats will face an onslaught from the White House and GOP attack machine. In 2002, the pro-war Georgia Senator Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam, lost reelection in the face of GOP charges that he was "unpatriotic" because he refused to support Bush’s plans to gut union rules in setting up the Department of Homeland Security. Advertising their military bona fides or even nominating Clark will not insulate them from the kind of attack Cleland faced.

31 Albright, p. 5.

32 Howard Dean, "Restoring American Leadership: A New Direction for American Foreign Policy," text prepared for presentation, Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C., June 25, 2003, available online at

33 Suzanne Nozell, "Battle hymn of the Democrats." Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 27 (1) (Winter/Spring 2003), p. 78.

34 John Kerry, "Foreign policy speech at Georgetown University," January 23, 2003, available online at

35 Richard A. Gephardt, "American engagement and the war against terror," remarks as prepared for delivery to San Francisco Bar Association, July 22, 2003, available online at

36 Marinucci and Wildermuth.

37 Joe Lieberman, "Bush’s failure in Iraq," Boston Globe, May 19, 2003, available online at

38 "General Wesley K. Clark announces bold job creation plan to reverse three years of failed Bush policies," September 24, 2003, available online at

39 Dean.

40 Kerry.

41 Dana H. Allin, Philip H. Gordon and Michael E. O’Hanlon, "The Democratic Party and foreign policy," World Policy Journal (Spring 2003), p. 11. The authors are liberal foreign policy wonks who urge the Democrats to embrace the "common-sense, nationalist liberalism of British Prime Minister Tony Blair," p. 12.

42 Dean.

43 Charles Knight, "As Baghdad falls Howard Dean folds back into the national security establishment," April 14, 2003, available online at

44 Nick Anderson, "Presidential candidates detail their national security beliefs," Los Angeles Times, December 11, 2003.

45 Kucinich quoted in Howie Hawkins, "For a Green presidential campaign in 2004," presented at Regional Greens Meeting, Freeville, NY, June 28, 2003.

46 Andrew J. Bacevich, American Empire (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002), p. 170.

47 Joseph Nye, "U.S. power and strategy after Iraq," Foreign Affairs, July/August 2003, p. 69.

48 Matthew Riemer, "Would an incoming Democratic administration be forced to maintain the Bush Doctrine?" Power and Interest News Report, July 30, 2003, available online at

49 Albright, p. 18.

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