The U.S. public and policymakers face a fateful choice: will our government be a global leader or a global cop? The Bush administration says there’s no alternative: our homeland security, international peace, and our standard of living depend on the United States policing the world. According to this doctrine, spelled out by the White House in its National Security Strategy, the United States must maintain global military dominance and the right of preemptive military attack against any country it regards as a current or even a potential threat. Under this radical foreign policy doctrine, U.S. national security and interests require that we deploy our forces around the world. We find this a dangerous and alarming concept of peace and security, and we believe that this radical foreign policy doctrine is not America’s only option. It is alarming because the first-strike doctrine ignores international law, dismisses the precepts and procedures of collective security established by the UN Charter, and establishes the United States as an international vigilante—acting at once as cop, judge, and executioner.
It is dangerous not only because it will rush the United States into unnecessary wars but also because it provides a precedent for extraterritorial operations by other nations and nonstate actors. There is another choice—a foreign and military agenda in which our power is exercised responsibly, our leadership fosters respect, and our goals are commonly shared among our partners. At the beginning of the 21st century, our nation and our world face stark and growing threats. These include terrorists with global reach, the worst pandemic in human history (AIDS), the spread of weapons of mass destruction, unprecedented global environmental crises, and a global economy that is generating greater instability and inequality. None of these deepening problems can be addressed by U.S. military prowess alone. None can be addressed by any one country alone, even a country as powerful as the United States. Yet in the face of these threats, the Bush administration has launched a new foreign policy based on U.S. supremacy and exceptionalism.
Despite the passionate opposition of its closest allies and the international community, the Bush administration has set our country on a dangerous and alarming course. It has: Abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty while squandering billions in chasing the chimera of national missile defense.
Undermined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty while expressing support for testing new nuclear weapons and refusing to rule out a nuclear first strike against nonnuclear nations. Derailed negotiations to improve international inspection systems to monitor and prevent the production of biological and chemical weapons. Repudiated an international scientific consensus and withdrawn from global efforts to curb global warming. Renounced the U.S. signature on the treaty to create an International Criminal Court and campaigned aggressively to exempt all U.S. personnel from its jurisdiction, even threatening to veto UN peacekeeping operations if it does not get its way. Dismissed the need for broad international cooperation in its war on terrorism, preferring to act alone or with selected allies. Treated human rights as an obstacle to—rather than an essential component of—civic security at home and abroad. Undermined the Oslo peace process, condoned the Israeli reoccupation of Palestinian territory, and rejected UN Security Council resolutions supported by previous administrations that provide a framework for conflict resolution containing strict security guarantees for both Israel and the Palestinians.
Slighted global efforts to mobilize an offensive against the spread of AIDS, instead privileging the financial interests of pharmaceutical companies over the need for affordable life-saving medicines. Suspended U.S. support for the UN’s family planning programs and balked at supporting the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Continued to pursue a global economic agenda that is of, by, and for transnational corporations and blocked efforts to build international rules to enforce labor and consumer rights and environmental protections.