Coalition and Conflict: The Formation of the Bush Doctrine

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Gary Prevost, Political Science


In June of 2002, following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the consequent military campaign in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush outlined the Bush Doctrine. This Doctrine, which identifies terrorism as the greatest global threat of the contemporary era, publicly espouses preemptive action as the only means of adequately confronting terrorism. Using foreign policy decision making theory, this paper examines the formation and legitimation of the Bush Doctrine. The theoretical foundations and beliefs of neoconservatism are examined and the varying political ideologies within the Bush Administration are analyzed in an attempt to identify the key personalities and pressures leading to the choice of the Bush Doctrine as the administration's response to global terrorism. This work reveals that fears of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction engendered by September 11, compelled members of the Bush foreign policy team to espouse the transformative , interventionist approach advocated by the neoconservative position.

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