Monday, March 21, 2011

The Weinberger/Powell Doctrine is Dead


[...]the doctrine that sought to prevent the United States from engaging in risky and counterproductive missions that had nothing to do with protecting U.S. vital interests (e.g. Lebanon 1983; Somalia, 1991; and Kosovo, 1999) is dead. Shovel dirt on it.

To review, the doctrine was first coined by Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, in a speech at the National Press Club in 1984. Weinberger was aided by a rising military officer, Colin Powell, who later adapted the concepts for his own purposes as National Security Adviser for Reagan and later as Chairman of the JCS under George H.W. Bush. The essential elements boil down to five key questions:

1. Is there a compelling national interest at stake?
2. Have the costs and consequences of intervention been considered?
3. Have we exhausted all available options for resolving the problem, i.e. is force a last resort?
4. Is there a clear and achievable military mission, and therefore a well-defined end state?
5. Is there strong public support - both domestic and international - for the operation?

The current operations over Libya fail on at least four counts.

Very good article. Highly recommended.

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