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Preemptive strike, the heart of "Bush Doctrine"

The preemptive-strike policy at the core of the so-called "Bush Doctrine" is the sound of the other shoe dropping.

President Ronald Reagan, with his genial grandfatherly forgetfulness and movie-cowboy swagger, made it okay to act like an American—powerful, brash, with a "God-given" attitude toward wealth and white masculinity.

George W. Bush, son of George Bush the protégé of Ronald Reagan, has come to deliver the real message of the Republican party. Leftists have long complained that America is imperialistic. Now, it is clear, America is an empire.

Post-coldwar and post-September 11, Mr. Bush and some of his associates intend to take the opportunity to press the power of that empire. Even before that atrocity, the list of international agreements that the current administration rejected was impressive.

The most recent "best example" of American imperialism is the preemptive strike policy. Who would have been so assinine as to float that idea only a few years ago? Now it flies with little debate. Sure, people question it. Folks wonder "What if Russia wants to invade Georgia to pursue Chechen rebels," for example.

And that's important. But what about America itself? True, America's precedent could influence other nations disastrously. But there's an elephant in our own room: what is America going to do?

American leaders of no particular moral quality are feeling the nation's almost unrestrained global power. It would be terribly naïve to assume their good will.

America is no longer a beacon of moral government. Whether it ever was is not the issue. The fact is that now American imperialism has come out in the open. America is no longer the leader of the free world. It's just the leader of the world.

—23 September 2002

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