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In Defense of the Bush Doctrine

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, shattered the prevalent optimism in the United States that had blossomed during the tranquil and prosperous 1990s, when democracy seemed triumphant and catastrophic wars were a relic of the past. President George W. Bush responded with a bold and controversial grand strategy for waging a preemptive Global War on Terror, which has ignited passionate debate about the purposes of American power and the nation's proper role in the world.

In Defense of the Bush Doctrine offers a vigorous argument for the principles of moral democratic realism that inspired the Bush administration's policy of regime change in Iraq. The Bush Doctrine rests on two main pillars—the inadequacy of deterrence and containment strategies when dealing with terrorists and rogue regimes, and the culture of tyranny in the Middle East, which spawns aggressive secular and religious despotisms.

Two key premises shape Kaufman's case for the Bush Doctrine's conformity with moral democratic realism. The first is the fundamental purpose of American foreign policy since its inception: to ensure the integrity and vitality of a free society "founded upon the dignity and worth of the individual." The second premise is that the cardinal virtue of prudence (the right reason about things to be done) must be the standard for determining the best practicable American grand strategy.

In Defense of the Bush Doctrine provides a broader historical context for the post–September 11 American foreign policy that will transform world politics well into the future. Kaufman connects the Bush Doctrine and current issues in American foreign policy, such as how the U.S. should deal with China, to the deeper tradition of American diplomacy. Drawing from positive lessons as well as cautionary tales from the past, Kaufman concludes that moral democratic realism offers the most compelling framework for American grand strategy, as it expands the democratic zone of peace and minimizes the number and gravity of threats the United States faces in the modern world.

About the Author

Robert G. Kaufman, professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, is the author of numerous publications, including Henry M. Jackson: A Life in Politics. He is a former Bradley Scholar and current adjunct scholar at the Heritage Foundation.

Reviews

"Kaufman's fine book is required reading for thoughtful candidates and citizens alike."—George Weigel, Catholic Exchange

"The best part of Kaufman's book is his critical analysis of alternatives, in U.S. grand strategy, to the Bush doctrine, whose moral democratic realism entails the prudent application of American power to replace dangerous regimes in the Middle East."—Library Journal (starred review)

"A very interesting book, based on a fresh concept of 'moral democratic realism,' that distinguishes Kaufman's work from that of Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Francis Fukuyama, and others. A helpful and clarifying book."—Michael Novak, coauthor of Washington's God and author of The Spirit of Democ

"In this excellent new book, Kaufman describes the Bush approach to foreign policy as the latest example of what he calls moral democratic realism, an approach he attributes to FDR, Truman, and Reagan as well."—National Review

"This is a very well-grounded defense of the Bush Doctrine. It is scholarly and political in the best sense of both terms. Those who disagree (as I do) will be challenged and informed."—Robert Jervis, author of American Foreign Policy in a New Era

"An important book about the central issue of our time."—Senator Joe Lieberman

"President Bush could use an unapologetic argument for his foreign policy these days, and this is it...[Kaufmann] makes a persuasive case."—The Weekly Standard

"Kaufman offers a much needed, well-reasoned defense of the present Bush doctrine in the Middle East. As Kaufman shows, for all the heartbreak in our present efforts in Iraq, ultimately it remains the best practical and moral course to foster some third way other than either autocracy or theocracy."—Victor Davis Hanson, author of A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spart

"Kaufman presents a thoughtful, comprehensive case. It ranks as the most histocially powerful support of Mr. Bush and his doctrine, including the Iraq war."—Washington Times

"The author has compiled, better than anywhere else that I have seen, a systematic explanation of the Bush Doctrine and its moral and historical foundations."—Modern Age

"Kaufman is passionate without being polemical, and is quite evenhanded, consistently pointing out arguments and examples that disagree with his point of view. This is a provocative book written by a first-rate mind."—John Robert Greene, Historian

"Robert Kaufman's short and provocative book provides and interesting and timely defense of what is perhaps become one of the most contentious concepts in international politics."—Andrew J. Futter, University of Birmingham, Political Studies Review

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Other Titles by Robert G. Kaufman

Dangerous Doctrine

Robert G. Kaufman
May 2016 - University Press of Kentucky
$40.00 USD - Hardback
$40.00 USD - Electronic book text
$40.00 USD - Electronic book text

Henry M. Jackson

Robert G. Kaufman
Oct 2015 - University of Washington Press
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$99.00 USD - Hardback

Other Titles in POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General

Republics of Myth

Hussein Banai, Malcolm Byrne, John Tirman
Mar 2022 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$29.95 USD - Hardback
$29.95 USD - Electronic book text

Bitter Legacy

Richard C. Lukas
Dec 2021 - University Press of Kentucky
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$35.00 USD - Electronic book text

Caught between Roosevelt and Stalin

Dennis J. Dunn
Dec 2021 - University Press of Kentucky
$60.00 USD - Hardback
$60.00 USD - Electronic book text