Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bush Preemptive Strike Doctrine Under Review, May Be Discarded.

Right wing Americans will never understand this, but this is one of the reasons why Barack Obama is a worthy recipient of the Nobel peace prize.

The Pentagon is reviewing the Bush administration’s doctrine of preemptive military strikes with an eye to modifying or possibly ending it.

The international environment is “more complex” than when President George W. Bush announced the policy in 2002, Kathleen Hicks, the Defense Department’s deputy undersecretary for strategy, said in an interview. “We’d really like to update our use-of-force doctrine to start to take account for that.”

The Sept. 11 terrorist strikes prompted Bush to alter U.S. policy by stressing the option of preemptive military action against groups or countries that threaten the U.S. Critics said that breached international norms and set a dangerous precedent for other nations to adopt a similar policy.
Bush's policy of pre-emption was one of the most controversial things he ever pursued. The notion that the UN Charter could be ignored, and that the US would strike at will wherever and whenever it felt threatened, was a declaration that international law no longer applied the the American empire.

It was quite simply the most dangerous and irresponsible policy implemented by any American president in my lifetime, with consequences - were it to be imitated by say India or Pakistan - that are simply too hideous to imagine.

One of the things which makes Obama so wildy popular abroad is the fact that he seems to undertsand that, if we are to have a world where international law has any meaning, then that law must apply to all of us equally across the board. There cannot be a law if America is exempt from that law. That would simply be a way of telling the rest of us to remember our place whilst the US ruthlessly pursues it's interests. I know that, basically, deep down, that this was actually the way Dick Cheney thought, but it should be no surprise to any sane individual that the rest of the planet found that patronising and wrong.

And when Republicans say that Obama was awarded the peace prize for not being George Bush, they are actually correct; they simply fail to ask themselves why the policies of George Bush made their nation so hated around the globe. That is because they actually believe in the concept of American exceptionalism, the bizarre notion that anything which their nation does is automatically good, because it is they who are doing it.

Obama is moving the US back towards international norms, which is why we all appreciate him so much. By these actions Obama makes the world an instantly safer place, as those international norms were put in place shortly after WWII in an attempt to make sure that such madness never happened again.

Norway’s Nobel committee, in awarding Obama the Peace Prize last week, cited a “new climate” in world politics and the restoration of “multilateral diplomacy.” The prize also was widely seen as a repudiation of Bush’s policies.

Simply by unpicking the worst of Bush's ill thought out schemes, Obama restores world order. Even if it's a world order which the neo-cons, with all their knee jerk hatred of the UN, will never understand.

The UN was formed for good reason in a world were western Europe had been destroyed.

Perhaps it's the fact that no bombs fell on American soil which makes the neo-cons so casual in their attitude to the UN.

In Europe the memory of that war is very different. And the UN, and the international laws which Bush was so casually tossing aside, were all put in place to make such an occurence less likely in the future.

Obama seems to understand that. The neo-cons, who have attempted to claim Churchill as one of their own, appear to have forgotten that it was Churchill who preferred "Jaw, jaw, not war, war."

Obama has not. And, if right wingers want to know why Obama is so appreciated in Europe, they need to first look at our history; especially regarding what happened from 1939-45, to find the answers.

Click here for full article.

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