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How did the Bush Doctrine affect US foreign policy post-9/11?

The Bush Doctrine significantly shifted US foreign policy post-9/11 towards pre-emptive military action and unilateralism.

The Bush Doctrine, named after President George W. Bush, was a series of foreign policy principles that guided the United States' response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It marked a significant departure from the traditional approach to foreign policy, which emphasised diplomacy and multilateralism. Instead, the Bush Doctrine advocated for pre-emptive military action against perceived threats, even if those threats were not immediate. This was a radical shift, as it essentially gave the US the right to wage war based on potential threats, rather than actual ones.

The Doctrine also promoted the idea of unilateralism, meaning the US would act alone in its interests, even without the support or approval of other nations or international bodies. This was a stark contrast to the multilateral approach that had been the norm in US foreign policy, where the US would work with other nations and international organisations to achieve its goals. The Bush Doctrine argued that the US had the right to act unilaterally to protect its national security, even if it meant disregarding international law or the opinions of its allies.

Furthermore, the Bush Doctrine introduced the concept of 'regime change' as a legitimate tool of US foreign policy. This meant that the US would actively seek to overthrow governments it deemed hostile to its interests, even if those governments were sovereign and had not directly attacked the US. This policy was put into practice in Iraq in 2003, when the US led an invasion to topple the government of Saddam Hussein, based on the belief that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

In essence, the Bush Doctrine represented a more aggressive and unilateral approach to foreign policy, driven by the belief that the US had the right and the duty to act pre-emptively to protect its national security. This marked a significant shift in US foreign policy post-9/11, and its effects are still felt today in the form of ongoing conflicts and strained international relations.

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