Gov. Scott Walker wants the American military to be everywhere on earth.
“I think anywhere and everywhere, we have to go beyond just aggressive air strikes,” Walker said during a live interview on ABC’s This Week. “We need to have an aggressive strategy anywhere around the world.”
Walker is Republican governor of Wisconsin and considering running for president in 2016. Walker said
“I think when you have the lives of Americans at stake and our freedom loving allies anywhere in the world, we have to be prepared to do things that don’t allow those measures, those attacks, those abuses to come to our shores.”
This is the Bush Doctrine, which is for the U.S. to attack threats that it perceives even before they are actual threats, that is, to attack threats of threats. To quote what Bush proposed in full:
“The security environment confronting the United States today is radically different from what we have faced before. Yet the first duty of the United States Government remains what it always has been: to protect the American people and American interests. It is an enduring American principle that this duty obligates the government to anticipate and counter threats, using all elements of national power, before the threats can do grave damage. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction – and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. There are few greater threats than a terrorist attack with WMD.
“To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense. The United States will not resort to force in all cases to preempt emerging threats. Our preference is that nonmilitary actions succeed. And no country should ever use preemption as a pretext for aggression.”
In practice, what this has meant is that the U.S. attacks foreign countries. Under this doctrine, the U.S. attacked Iraq and Afghanistan. It instigated attacks by drones in Pakistan and Yemen. It has attacked in Somalia. It attacked Libya. It has supported attacks in Syria and now is actually attacking in Syria. This doctrine entails continual warfare as each new attack generates new enemies of the attacking U.S. and as U.S. politicians identify new threats and new terrorists. The leaders of Ukraine want the rebels in their East to be identified as terrorists. That would justify U.S. boots on the ground under this doctrine.
There is no ambiguity in what Walker stands for:
“I think aggressively, we need to take the fight to ISIS and any other radical Islamic terrorist in and around the world, because it’s not a matter of when they attempt an attack on American soil, or not if I should say, it’s when, and we need leadership that says clearly, not only amongst the United States but amongst our allies, that we’re willing to take appropriate action.”
Escalation of U.S. attacks on targets in foreign countries has increased, not decreased, those foreign men and women antagonistic to the U.S. The aggressive attacks of the U.S. anywhere it chooses overseas radicalizes more and more young men against the invaders. This raises the risks of their attacks on the West and America. The Bush Doctrine supported by Walker is dead wrong. For arguments against this doctrine, see here, here, here, here, here, and here.
The surprise in Walker’s commentary is how deeply the Bush Doctrine has embedded itself in the country and in the political discourse. It is truly shocking how the cluster of ideas that surrounds the word “terrorism” has become embedded in American life and discourse. This is a tribute to propaganda, a mass media that supports it, and a public whose sentiments are easily swayed toward fighting wars without thinking through the consequences or considering alternative means of addressing problems.
The surprise is in the doctrine’s far reach, to the point where a presidential candidate thinks that it is both eminently correct and will win him votes. You could say that the U.S. government is a “pusher”. It has pushed terrorism. It has foisted it on America, using 9/11 as a perfect excuse. There are many in government who have themselves become hooked. They have taken the bait and swallowed it. Governor Walker is one of these. He is taking the doctrine to its logical limit. He is unafraid to speak it openly. If this doctrine resonates as deeply as he thinks and hopes it will, then America is doomed to endless warfare for the foreseeable future; and it already has had continual warfare for the past 14 years.
Walker believes what he’s saying, and so do many others. They believe in American might, and they believe that American might won’t fail to end terrorism. Did American might win in Vietnam? Did it succeed in turning Iraq into a country free of terrorism? Is Libya now a haven of stability?
The problem with these true believers is at three levels. They won’t face arguments against their ideas at a theoretical level, and they won’t face the fact that American might doesn’t win all its battles, indeed, loses many and creates even more enemies. But the biggest problem is that they are in power and/or seeking power. The problem is that we have a government at all that can promulgate and implement a Bush Doctrine.8:05 am on February 2, 2015 Email Michael S. Rozeff