Correspondence with a Co-worker
I wanted to say something about the AP article you forwarded:
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said he would be willing to launch a pre-emptive strike against terrorists if he had adequate intelligence of a threat.This is actually the opposite of the Bush doctrine, which reserved the right to launch a pre-emptive strike against terrorists with no intelligence or proof of a threat whatsoever; and not simply a strike--a full-scale invasion and occupation. And not against terrorists, either. Apparently they were all in Iran.
Remember, the problem isn't the policy of pre-emption. Pre-emption has a meaning roughly approximating what Kerry describes, as laid out by the UN Charter. If someone is going to attack you, and you can prove it, then you can use force pre-emptively to stop the attack. Of course, it doesn't say anything about taking over other countries. It says you are permitted to use an amount of force proportional to the threat, etc. And, as always, the burden of proof is on the people advocating use of force.
Anyway, what is wrongly being called Bush's "pre-emption" policy is not pre-emption at all but rather a doctrine of global dominance as laid out by the neo-cons in the National Security Strategy of 2002. In effect, the US has the right to maintain global dominance by force against any threat, perceived, imagined, or otherwise, in order to destroy the challenge before it becomes reality. That's not pre-emption. That's unprovoked aggression, in the name of US interests.
Do neo-liberals tend towards militarism in solving world problems? Yes. But that doesn't make them the same as neo-conservatives, per se.