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Why Containment WorksPower, Proliferation, and Preventive War$
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Wallace J. Thies

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749483

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749483.001.0001

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Preventive War and Containment

Preventive War and Containment

(p.1) Chapter 1 Preventive War and Containment
Why Containment Works

Wallace J. Thies

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the Bush Doctrine, which proved to be very controversial, not only in the United States but also among America's allies and friends worldwide. In the United States, the Bush Doctrine was criticized by Democrats in Congress as a violation of traditional American norms, which called for responding firmly to provocations but not for striking the first blow. Within the Atlantic Alliance, the Bush Doctrine was likewise attacked — most prominently by the French and German governments — as reckless and provocative. The chapter recasts the Bush Doctrine as a theory of victory, that is, a coherent strategic view that tells a state how best to transform the scarce resources available to it into useful military assets, and how to employ those assets in conflicts with other states or nonstate actors. It then compares and contrasts these prescriptions derived from the Bush Doctrine with an alternative theory of victory — namely, one based on containment and deterrence.

Keywords:   Bush Doctrine, United States, Atlantic Alliance, theory of victory, containment policy, deterrence, military assets

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