Bush’s Grand Strategy (Michael Barone, 2/27/06, Real Clear Politics)
[P]re-emption was not the only doctrine in the document. The words just quoted were preceded by a clause reading, “While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community …” Even while claiming the right to act pre-emptively, Bush agreed to Tony Blair’s plea for a second United Nations resolution to justify military action in Iraq, even though it was justified by previous resolutions and Saddam Hussein’s defiance of them.
And there was more to the strategy of securing America than just dealing with immediate threats. The NSS called for “global efforts to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations.” Bush critics say that he has undercut that by continuing to reject the Kyoto Protocol. But the agreement Bush concluded with India, China, Japan and Australia to limit growth of greenhouse gases seems likely to produce significant results, while the European countries, for all their hauteur, are failing to meet their Kyoto targets.
Bush has also gone beyond the NSS by agreeing to joint military operations with India and encouraging a Japanese military presence abroad — both counterweights to Chinese military power. Also going beyond his proposals is his massive commitment to combat AIDS in Africa, which is only hinted at in the document.
In other respects, Bush has not delivered on the promises of the NSS. The Free Trade Area of the Americas, envisioned for 2005, is nowhere in sight. And “an independent and democratic Palestine, living beside Israel in peace and security,” won’t appear soon.
Well, he can act unilaterally to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, and will if necessary, but you can’t unilaterally impose free trade. Meanwhile, Palestine is a democracy and Israel has been moved to the point where it’s about ready to recognize its independence — on Israeli terms — peace and security will follow.