The Bush Doctrine: an unethical agenda in theory and practice @miner_boy Dry. Jonathan Marks Francesco Poignant Philosophy 119 December 18, 2012 Research Paper: The Bush Doctrine: an unethical agenda in theory and practice The “Bush Doctrine” represents the foreign policy principles of the United States federal government under the administration of President George W. Bush. Although the phrase was never explicitly referred to or defined as a cohesive plan, political scientists coined the Bush Doctrine in order to package these principles into the agenda of the Bush administration.
The Bush Doctrine included the administration’s controversial policies of preventative war, spreading democracy around the world, peacekeeping in foreign regions, and a willingness to unilaterally pursue the Ignited States’ military interests (Serves 2003). This being said, the purpose of this research paper is to determine whether or not these policies and the agenda of the Bush Doctrine were ethical per the standards established by those who came before the administration.
As the paper explains, the evidence overwhelmingly determines that both the intentions and actions contained in he Bush Doctrine are extremely hypocritical on the part of the United States. By this logic, the research proves that the foreign policy decisions made based on the Doctrine were exceedingly unethical. When determining whether the policies of the Bush administration were unethical, we must first consider the definition of ethical behavior and how that applies to political leaders. Then, we must study the policies in the context Of American history and understand how America’s founders foresaw these actions.
Finally, we must evaluate the actions of the Bush administration and determine whether they fit the standard for ethical behavior pursuant to established political theory. In order to truly grasp the concept of an ethical decision on behalf of a political leader, one must have knowledge of fundamental moral philosophy (I. E. , ethics). Mechanical Ethics is a logical starting point, from which Aristotle asserts that the highest aim of any decision should be universal “happiness”. He argues that happiness should be pursued because what is best for the good of society is overwhelmingly preferred to what is good for an individual (Aristotle, pig. , cool. 2. 1). In his own words, “like actions produce like dispositions,” making it the duty of humans to ensure that their actions promote said happiness (Aristotle, pig. 27, cool. 1 . 2). Emmanuel Kane philosophies differed significantly from Aristotle in F-inundations from the Metaphysics of Morals, in which he relates universal happiness to a categorical imperative command – which, unlike a hypothetical imperative, applies to all rational beings regardless of their own desires (I. E. A categorical imperative is a universal law for all rational beings). According to Kant, this dictatorial imperative is formulated when rational beings act in a Way that they wish would be universally accepted. Furthermore, he argues that rational beings must act by ‘treating humanity as an end and never as a means only,” (I. E. , humans must not be “used” solely to achieve an end goal)(Kant, pig. 34, cool. 1). What Kant does not consider is that, in some instances as such, the sacrifice of humanity as a means to an end is inherent.
Despite the ideological differences in these classic philosophies, we can assume that an ethical decision is one that aims for collective, equal and spherical happiness among all rational beings. However, as described in the prompt, deciding what will promote universal happiness can create an ethical dilemma with no clear solution. This being said, it’s important to consider how the classical philosophies apply to political leaders specifically. According to China Tijuana ‘s article, “Ethics of Political Leaders,” ethics is the highest priority for a Presidential administration.
This is the case because the public interest is at stake with every decision a political leader must make. When the public becomes cynical ND suspicious of the President’s actions, public morale suffers and the confidence in the administration shatters. Based on the classical philosophies of ethics, in order to act ethically, Presidents must be honest and respectful, as well as show integrity, professionalism, accountability, fairness, competence, and responsibility in their actions (Tijuana 2007; 10)..
Per the article, unethical practices of a political leader include, but are not limited to, the following: conflicts of interest, abuse of power, obstruction of justice, corruptions, favoritism, cronyism, nepotism, deception, fraud, lying, abuse Of public assets for personal benefit, insider trading, human rights abuse, restricted press freedom, and policy corruption (Tijuana 2007; 12). Before we evaluate whether the actions of the Bush administration exemplify these unethical choices, we must first consider the intentions of Presidential ethics as determined by the Founders of America. Ender the British monarchy that existed through the late-1 8th century, citizens were not protected by the government, they were controlled. The interests of the population were not represented, they were ignored. Decisions were made to benefit only the Royal family, at the devastating expense of each and every man and woman under its jurisdiction. They built on this dominance abroad – in the name of the most influential, ancient civilizations in history – through practices of imperialism and expansionism.
Through these actions, the monarchy prospered; it grew rich and powerful, leaving their people poor and powerless. This resulted in an incapable, vulnerable, and helpless society, one that eventually left its home for America and revolted in attempt of self-preservation. George Washington warned against the dangers of “foreign entanglements” n his Farewell Address, declaring to preserve American independence for eternity. He emphasized representation to preserve the republic, he stressed responsibility to preserve opportunity, and he prioritize the homeland to preserve freedom.
He didn’t do this to advance his democratic vision of what this country should represent. Instead, he did so to prevent the influence of an illegitimate, tyrannical authority that his British ancestors experienced previously (Washington). He foresaw the current state of US international affairs, as emerged from the “Bush Doctrine,” in which the federal overspent exerts a crippling level of supremacy over nations – and citizens, rendering threats to its economic, political, and military omnipotence nonexistent (Serves 2003).
Most importantly, he did so because of history, in which every empire eventually failed, and he desperately wished that America wouldn’t follow in their footsteps (Washington). Washington recognized the alarming expansion of the British monarchy and the antiquated model on which it was based. In doing so, he identified the irreparable instability of a nation with no representation or democracy; a nation where government intros its population, and the population has no control over its government.
He also realized that as control tightens, intentions of government naturally turn ill and seek only to benefit itself. Moreover, he argued that once a government strangles the domestic population, it will cross any and all global boundaries to maximize its own hegemony. Through this recognition, Washington knew that America could improve, and mapped a direction for these improvements in this Address. Based on the implications inherent in the arguments of the classical philosophers and the Founding
Fathers, the ideal state of government with respect to ethics can be defined by the “Golden Rule” (Irrigate 2009) In other words, pursuant to the arguments of Aristotle and Washington, Presidents should make decisions upon others as they would wish done unto themselves. Furthermore, Washington’s argument is particularly relevant in that it explains the hypocrisy – with respect to the intentions in general – of engaging in unwarranted foreign entanglements. This rule directly applies to the Bush Doctrine and the agenda that describes the foreign policy decisions of the Bush Administration.
In order to further valuate whether these foreign policy decisions were unethical, we must apply their tangible implications to the standards as presented in Attestation’s article. Although this paper’s purpose is to consider the actions that explicitly referred to the Bush Doctrine, we must also consider the domestic actions taken by Bush’s administration to ensure that the international policy would be unobjectionable. First, he gave the National Security Administration (NSA) unprecedented power of wireless surveillance, an action that, according to the administration, was given in order for the NSA to better track down restricts.
However, it also allowed the NSA full access to the lives and communications of American citizens, which was explicitly unethical due to its violation of the fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Second, he deceived and lied to the American people in order to justify the Iraq War in 2003. He claimed that Iraq had nuclear weapons, which was proven to be a lie, and furthermore, he claimed that Iraq intended to use those nuclear weapons to harm the United States, which was also an explicit lie. Thus, by purposefully and deliberately deceiving the American people, Bush acted unethically again.
For further context, the Bush Doctrine is synonymous with the “War on Terror,” as declared by President Bush after the attacks on September 1 1 , 201 1 . As the paper previously alluded to, the controversial policy of preventive war referred to the United States’ military containment of foreign “regimes” that represented a perceived threat to its national security, regardless of whether or not the threat was immediate. The policy of spreading democracy represented the occupation of countries in the Middle East in order to prevent and combat terrorism that supposedly originated from within the region.
Furthermore, the willingness to act unilaterally to pursue United States’ strategic interests specified the actions of the United States military to act in its own interest regardless of how the rest of the international community reacted. With respect to preventive war and the policy of spreading democracy, this is an unethical misuse of power per the arguments contained within Washington’s Farewell address. More importantly, these policies are directly contradictory to the Just War Theory, which sets out the guidelines for what is ethical and unethical in war.
According to this Theory, the Bush Doctrine policies – for a multitude Of reasons – are unethical because they constitute a war of aggression, which is expressly forbidden (Irrigate 2009). First, the argument that these actions are those of self-defense, as the administration claimed, is simply false. Since it was proven that these regimes did not wish to harm the United States homeland, especially not with weapons of mass destruction, it was extremely unethical for Bush to deceive the American public into believing this was a preventative war of self-defense and then moving forward with a war of aggression.
Second, the actions of preventative war were unethical because the administration never presented any evidence to justify a war that resulted in the death of its own citizens. While it claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and it claimed that they intended to use these weapons to harm the United States, its deception was even more unethical. The third reason refers to the Just War Theory’s assumption that war only be used as the absolute last resort in a conflict between opposing parties.
Not only did the United States unsuccessfully attempt other methods to oppose the supposed restroom that was endangering the homeland, it never tried other methods at all. The fourth reason refers to the Doctrine’s explicit references to Islamic extremism as a factor in the administration’s decision to engage in preventative War. While there are Some sects of Islam that hold extreme beliefs relative to those of Americans, it was entirely unethical of the administration to use Islamic extremism as justification for regimes to attack the Ignited States (Saunters 2004).
Fifth, once counterterrorism is defined as war, the administration made an irreparable mistake in their definition of said war. Instead of referring to the war in its true state, the Bush expanded the war to an infinite scope. In other words, instead of pursuing the true culprit in the September 11 attacks, al Qaeda, the administration infinitely expanded the war to any regime they found to fit the definition. Once again, this deceptive action was grossly unethical. Sixth, the Just War Theory asserts that war should be resorted to only when success is likely.
In this case, in a war that could only be limited in the scope of time and resources by infinity, it was extremely unethical for President Bush to justify the United States’ involvement at all. Seventh, the actions of the United States’ military do not fit the situation. Specifically, the ethics of dominating an entire country, or region in this case, are not justified when the culprit was a small group of terrorists supposedly existing within caves in the middle of said region’s deserts (I. . , al Qaeda, which was not even operating out of Iraq, providing even less justification for the magnitude of the operation). Finally, because the Just War Theory is the foundation for international law, it was extremely unethical of the united States and the Bush administration to take directly introductory action (Irrigate 2009). The willingness of the Bush administration to act unilaterally is a further explanation for the Bush Doctrines unethical agenda.
Specifically, its actions Of unilaterally rejecting the Kyoto Protocol and withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (BAM) treaty send a signal to the rest of the world that the United States’ foreign policy agenda was non-negotiable, regardless of international support or consequences. Furthermore, its never ending “War on Terror exemplifies this willingness, where the United States affirmed to counter terrorism at all costs despite errors opposition from other foreign countries. These actions are in direct violation of the Golden Rule, and specifically unethical because of their explicitly disrespectful nature.
Whether its preemptive war, spreading democracy, or the willingness to act unilaterally, research thoroughly proves the unethical nature of the Bush Administration’s dishonesty, deception, and disrespect to its own citizens and the rest of the world. This being said, it’s also refreshing to take a common sense approach to the application of the Golden Rule and the Just War Theory. In the words of Ron Paul, “how would e like it if China set up a military base in the middle of Texas and began to ‘occupy’ our streets? Quotes like these show just how hypocritical the actions of the Bush administration and the agenda of the Bush Doctrine truly are (Serves 2003). As the united States, we would never allow anyone to set up a military base on American soil, yet we have bases in almost every country in the entire world. We take offense to any threat to our homeland, yet we mercilessly drop unwarranted bombs on the homelands of others. Finally, we consider unilateral actions of other countries as a breach of our trust, yet we re willing to act unilaterally regardless of the costs or consequences.
In summary, it is inarguable that the actions of the Bush administration and the agenda of the Bush doctrine are explicitly unethical. These actions violate international law, the Just War Theory, and the Golden Rule of politics, as well as the ideals of classical philosophers and the Founders of our country. This being said, if America wishes to continue on a path of success in the rapidly globalizes world that currently exists, they must begin acting ethically. If not, as soon Panicle 10 s another country becomes equal in power and military strength, they will have no incentive to show remorse.
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