When President Truman made the case for a new US strategic doctrine in 1950, the world was still reeling from the carnage of World War II. Communist rivals with the aim of world dominance threatened the peace. A rapid buildup of US military power and presence in strategic areas was needed to contain them, he said.
To Bush and his advisers, the dangers in the post-9/11 world come not from strong states but from weak ones that nurture terrorists with the capacity to create great chaos "for less than it costs to purchase a single tank," the report says.
The first test for this new strategy is Iraq, which the US says poses an immediate threat to world security. The president has also cast the Iraq threat as a test of the credibility of world institutions.
His Sept. 12 speech to the UN General Assembly directed a bright light on how the UN handles enforcement of its own resolutions, and spurred an intense burst of activity to revive enforcement of some 16 Security Council resolutions.
Last week, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said that he would accept UN weapons inspectors back into the country without conditions.
In New York, US and British diplomats responded by urging a new UN resolution setting a timetable for inspectors to do their work, and specifying consequences if that deadline is not met as well as other conditions on the search for biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons.
Many members of the UN Security Council say they do not want to take up a military option at this time. And on Saturday, the Iraqi president said that his country would not cooperate with any resolution that is different than those previously voted.
THESE ongoing discussions, including direct talks between President Bush and key leaders, involve some of the most complex and focused diplomatic efforts of the Bush presidency. On Friday, President Bush spoke for half-an-hour with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who favors improved weapons inspection but has not backed use of force. Russia has historic ties to Iraq, as well as billions in outstanding loans.
One usual ally, with whom there has been little discussion, is Germany, where a cabinet official was cited in press reports as comparing President Bush's methods to those of Hitler.