Surprise, Security, and the American Experience

1797 words 8 pages
After the twin towers fell and condensed to rubble on September 11, 2001, the Bush administration quickly formulated a plan to maintain the nation’s sense of national safety and security. John Lewis Gaddis summarized the administration’s directions to the public when he wrote, “Bush requested, and only partially received, what amounted to a global police action against terrorism, combined with a call for vigilance at home and abroad, combined with the suggestion that, despite what had happened, Americans should carry on with their ordinary lives” (Gaddis at 37). The citizens were to follow the example of former British politician Sir Winston Churchill; Bush believed the nation would best react to the crisis by applying Churchill’s words …show more content…
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization supported its members and at the time, helped create a common defense against a Soviet attack in western Europe. America desperately wanted communism to be contained because they believed in the domino effect, or the theory that if one country soon fell to communism more would follow, spreading it like an infectious disease. Through WWI, WWII and the Cold War, the United States did not rely on unilateralism and preemption as heavily as it had in the past. Instead, FDR adopted a multilateral policy and employed hegemony by consent in order to benefit the nation and its allies. If an economic collapse or another world war surfaced, it would be on all of their shoulders, so they consensually defended their own nations and assisted other nations in the alliance. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States actually engaged in bilateral agreements with the Soviet Union (Gaddis at 78). This was due to the almost ridiculous amount of stockpiled nuclear warheads each country had amassed as part of the arms race. The first of these arrangements was SALT, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. SALT’s aim was slowing down the production of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles that were capable of firing the warheads. There are two main limits to the Bush doctrine of preemption and unilateralism, the first being that most threats to national security are transnational and the second that


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