THAT THE foreign policy of George W. Bush has been a catastrophic failure is disputed by none today except for a dwindling number of diehards on the neoconservative right. But there is no consensus on the scope of the failure. Has a sound global grand strategy been poorly implemented, at the operational and tactical level, in Iraq and elsewhere? Or is the failure much deeper than that? Is the grand strategy the Bush Administration has pursued inherently flawed?
This matters because what has become known as the "Bush Doctrine" did not originate with George W. Bush. Rather, it is rooted in a bipartisan consensus that America's temporary Cold War hegemony in Western Europe and east Asia should be converted into permanent U.S. global hegemony. True, the elder Bush and Bill Clinton viewed the United States as a status quo power whereas the younger Bush has been more inclined to use U.S. power to revise and change the international order, especially in the Middle East. Nevertheless, all three administrations shared the same essential strategic goal of consolidating U.S. global hegemony by averting the "renationalization" of German and Japanese military policy and preventing Russia and China from competing with the United States as "peer competitors." The perpetual "dual containment" of Germany and Japan, coupled with the not-so-secret containment of Russia and China, means that U.S. post-Cold War strategy represents less a break with U.S. Cold War strategy than a continuation of it, in a subtler form.
Hegemony's Descensus Avernus