October 26, 2002
EXTREME EGALITARIANISM GOES ABROAD:Keeping U.S. No. 1: Is It Wise? Is It New? (JUDITH MILLER, October 26, 2002, NY Times)
President Bush's release of an audacious new strategy last month for defending America against future foreign threats stunned Washington and even some close allies. The 33-page document, titled the "National Security Strategy of the United States," ostensibly departed from what had been the longstanding conventional wisdom about American strategy.
Initially, expert scrutiny focused on the president's assertion that the United States would "not hesitate" to act alone and "pre-emptively" to thwart dangers from hostile states or terrorist groups armed with, or seeking, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
More recently, however, analysts have been centering on the Bush doctrine's last chapter. America, it states, is the world's strongest nation, enjoying "unparalleled military strength," and will never again allow its military supremacy to be challenged as it was during the cold war.
"Our forces will be strong enough," the document says, "to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military buildup in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States."
That is strong stuff, even by swashbuckling Texas standards. Containing rather than vanquishing enemies and maintaining a balance of power has been a mainstay of American foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. It is not surprising, then, that much of the reaction to what has been dubbed the "Hertz doctrine" ("We're No. 1") has been negative.
The answer to Ms Miller's first question is more readily apparent if you reverse it: Would it be wise for America to allow an adversary to become our military superior?
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 26, 2002 12:16 PM