history of US foreign policy is punctuated by a series of doctrines.
The Monroe doctrine (1823) declared that European powers would not be
allowed to intrude into the western hemisphere. The Truman doctrine
(1947) committed Washington to assisting free peoples in the fight
against communism. The Nixon doctrine (1969) warned that America’s
allies would need to assume primary responsibility for their own
In recent times US grand strategy has been
guided by a new kind of doctrine, named after not its author but its
exemplar: the Costanza doctrine. […]
In “The Opposite”, George breaches the
most fundamental laws in his universe – for example, the age-old
principle that “bald men with no jobs and no money, who live with their
parents, don’t approach strange women”.
military and diplomatic resources are finite and should be directed
towards your greatest priority. An example of the opposite approach
would be for a country that has been attacked by a non-state terrorist
group to retaliate by removing a state regime that had nothing to do
with the attack.
Second, take care not to weaken your
intimidatory powers through poor military performance. Aim for short,
sharp victories (such as that in the 1991 Gulf war) that get your
adversaries worrying about the extent of US power. The opposite would
be to launch a war of choice involving the drawn-out occupation of an
Arab country – the kind of thing that gets your allies worrying about
the limits of US power.
Third, you get by with help from friends.
Although the powerful are sometimes tempted to go it alone,
international support helps determine the perceived legitimacy of an
action, which affects its risk and costs. Building this support
requires discussion and compromise. The opposite would be to spurn real
negotiations, slough off your allies, bin multilateral agreements you
do not like and declare that you are not bound by the rules that govern
Fourth, state-building is hard. Few of the
international efforts at state-building since the cold war’s end have
succeeded. Luckily there are numberless reports identifying lessons
learnt. The alternative would be to do the opposite of what those
reports recommend, for example by deploying insufficient troops and
dismantling any extant national institutions such as the army.
Fifth, democracy is a blessing that
requires patient nurturing. The opposite approach would be to seek to
impose democracy by force of arms on a population traumatised by
decades of vicious and totalitarian rule.
Sixth, politics, like nature, abhors a
vacuum. If two dangerous states are struggling for dominance of a
strategic region, maintaining a balance between them may be the least
worst option. The opposite would be to emasculate one of them, thereby
greatly increasing the relative power of the other.
Finally, historians often cite the need
for prudence in international relations, quoting the physician’s
dictum: “First, do no harm.” The opposite would be: “Don’t think too
much, just chance your arm and see what happens!” [...]
"[Iraq operations are] working far better than even the most optimistic supporter had
predicted. Progress is tangible in many key areas despite the fact that
only 40 percent of the planned forces are in Iraq,"
Shiite militants and policeenraged by massive truck
bombings in Tal Afar went on a revenge spree against Sunni residents in
the northwestern town Wednesday, killing as many as 60 people,
WASHINGTON — Senate
Democrats won a vote Tuesday that would leave in place a timetable to
begin a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq within 120 days. A measure to
strike the language was offered as an amendment to the emergency
spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now Bush has to use a veto on a bill titled the "U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act".
Why doesn't this White House want to support our troops?