9 11 and the War on Terror (Representing American Events) by David Holloway

By David Holloway

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Extra resources for 9 11 and the War on Terror (Representing American Events) (2008)

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In their classic neocon apologia for the war, The War over Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny and America’s 36 POLITICS Mission (2003), Lawrence Kaplan and William Kristol noted sniffily that, on the stump in 2000, ‘candidate Bush placed misgivings about military intervention at the center of his foreign policy agenda’. For all its delirious praise of Bush’s ‘moral clarity’, The War over Iraq also implied that the president had a recidivist foreign policy gene, one that would revert to ‘nothing more than a variation of old-world realpolitik and an echo of Gerald Ford’ if it were allowed to develop unchecked (Kaplan and Kristol 2003: 68).

One far-reaching assessment of sclerosis in state institutions and process came from within Congress, in the form of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission), whose expansive, multi-authored The 9/11 Commission Report (National Commission 2004a) was compared by one reviewer to the Federalist Papers, such was its ambition ‘to foster the debate by which the country will re-imagine itself through its [federal] bureaucracy’ (Publishers Weekly 2004). The National Commission had a self-consciously bipartisan membership of five Republicans and five Democrats, and broad terms of reference – ‘Why did they do this?

The ideological core of the Bush Doctrine was its neoconservative insistence that in a world transformed by post-Cold War realities and 9/11, foreign policy and national security strategy must also be reinvented. Cold War concepts of deterrence, it said, did not work against rogue states or enemies seeking martyrdom. Nor did ‘realist’ traditions geared towards maintaining existing balances of power make sense, when the post-Cold War context in which ‘national’ interests were pursued was a ‘unipolar’ world characterised by American primacy.

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