ABSTRACT

Grand strategies alone cannot resolve pressing national security issues. Their primary purpose is diagnostic; they develop in response to important new national security issues. Thereafter, their role is to stimulate policy and organizational infrastructure, new if necessary, to address the issues they identify. Only then can any doctrine refine and apply these policies to the tasks at hand. One critical element in the response to threats identified by grand strategies,

like the Bush Doctrine, is an appreciation of adversary psychology.1 What are they like? What motivates them? How do they think and calculate the risks associated with their goals? Can these calculations be modified by American initiatives, and if so, which ones? The Bush Doctrine is often accused of having only one instrumental strategy

of preventive war,2 and of abandoning the tried and true strategy of containment. However, this is a profound misreading of the Doctrine and of the Bush Administration’s actual behavior. In his 2004 State of the Union address he specifically said: “Different threats require different strategies.”3 His varied approaches to China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Venezuela, and the Sudan make it quite clear that the diversity of strategic psychology applied to different circumstances is one hallmark of the Bush Doctrine. Mr. Bush did argue that containment may not work against some adversaries and in this was surely correct. Therefore, it would be foolish of any administration to throw away viable strategic tools because they are associated with a controversial presidency. That said, the post-9/11 national security environment does raise questions

about the usefulness of the major strategies that have been American mainstays in the past. The questions can be framed as follows: what strategic policy tools fit in post-9/11 national circumstances? In what circumstances are different tools most effective? What role does force or the threat of it play? And, very importantly does the post-9/11 environment require any modification of the tools that we use? The two most familiar American strategic tools, deterrence and contain-

ment, grew out of strategic developments during the Cold War. During that period the United States faced a primary adversary with enormous power, but also with much to lose and, over time, and increasingly, a disinclination to risk

losing it. As the 2002 National Security Strategy put it, “The nature of the Cold War threat required that the United States-with our allies and friendsemphasize deterrence of the enemy’s use of force, producing a grim strategy of mutual assured destruction.”4 At the level of nuclear deterrence, the theory worked. At regional geopolitical levels, deterrence-persuading others not to start

doing something-and its more forceful sibling compellence-persuading others to stop doing something-had decidedly mixed results. In wars in which the United States has been directly involved-Korea, Vietnam, the 1991 Gulf War, the Yugoslav Wars, and the invasion of Iraq, the two strategies designed to avert substantial military conflict failed. The 2002 NSS says simply, “We know from history that deterrence can fail; and we know from experience that some enemies cannot be deterred.”5 Distinguished scholars of international relations agree.6