Domestic and Foreign Policy of the Bush Administration

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On October 25, 2001, less than 3 weeks after the United States launched a military offensive in Afghanistan, an overwhelming majority in the United States Congress passed the Patriot Act, which was quickly signed into law by President George W. Bush. This radically reshaped America’s domestic legal structure.

The Patriot Act expanded the powers of the state for increased surveillance of its own citizens, which will be conducted through the National Security Agency (NSA), an intelligence apparatus of the US Department of Defense. The Patriot Act framed America’s new crime of “domestic terrorism”, and in such a broad way that it could be used against various perceived torts.

The Pentagon, whose base of operations was centered on the military, now focused somewhat on the internal problems of the American political system, which was a violation of American law, violating the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. This legislation prohibits the United States armed forces from interfering with national political activities unless the military has authorization from the United States Congress.

Read more: Continuity between the Bush and Obama administrations?

Better understand the subject

On September 17, 2002, President Bush announced the National Security Strategy for the United States. He said the “war on terror” could not be won by defensive methods and that the United States reserved the right to wage preemptive (or preventative) wars unilaterally. President Bush’s support for such actions was not a recent phenomenon. Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, a prominent German World War II commander, wrote in his memoirs in 1946 that against the USSR, the 1941 Wehrmacht had spear “preventive war which alone would be enough to stop the Bolshevik steamroller in its tracks before Europe succumbs to it”. Keitel further maintained that the USSR had made “preparations to attack us”.

Keitel’s claims are not true. Soviet Russia did not anticipate an invasion from Nazi Germany in 1941. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin actually hoped to delay war with the Third Reich as long as necessary. Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet Foreign Minister, recalled how Stalin had strongly hinted, shortly after the fall of France in June 1940, that he wanted to postpone the war with the Germans until 1943 if possible, in order to give no respite for the Russians. Stalin was aware that a conflict with Nazi Germany was inevitable and carried many risks. In the early 1940s, the Soviet Union and the Third Reich were the two most powerful military powers in the world.

As Keitel indirectly mentioned, the Soviet Army was richly armed, a policy of rearmament that Moscow had pursued due to fear of war being waged against Soviet Russia, and not just by the Germans; the Russians also suspected that Western states would at best remain neutral during a Nazi invasion of Russia or even participate alongside Germany. Indeed, European nations like Spain, Italy, Romania and Croatia each sent military contingents to fight with the Nazis against Russia.

Insignificant amounts of American Lend-Lease aid were shipped to Russia in 1941, as the Red Army that year prevented the Germans from capturing Moscow and Leningrad, the largest cities in Soviet Russia. American military hardware began to appear in greater quantities in Russia in 1942 after the Red Army weathered the worst of the Nazi onslaught.

There were shortcomings in 1942, mainly during the autumn and early winter periods, when American military assistance to Russia was reduced, which raised new suspicions in Moscow. During a period of 3.5 months in 1942, as fighting raged in the Caucasus and in Stalingrad, less than 40 ships carrying Lend-Lease cargo entered the Russian ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. This suggests that the Americans have never been entirely comfortable in their alliance with Russia. Additionally, some of the US military equipment sent to Russia was of questionable quality, such as the P-40 fighter jet.

Read more: Did the September 11 attacks stop Bush’s plan to invade Afghanistan?

President Bush asserted in September 2002 that his administration intended to “fight terrorists and tyrants” wherever necessary, which could only be achieved by military force. On March 19, 2003, the Bush White House, with strong backing from Tony Blair’s administration in London, sent the US Air Force to bomb Baghdad, and the next day a full-scale ground assault on Iraq began. Washington ordered Saddam Hussein and his sons, Uday and Qusay, to surrender and leave Iraq within 2 days. The Anglo-American military intervention was launched without the support of their main NATO allies, France and Germany, or the UN Security Council.

On September 29, 2006, following approval by the House of Representatives, the United States Senate ratified the Military Commissions Act (MCA) by a vote of 65 to 35 as part of the War on Terrorism; and President Bush then signed the MCA on October 17, 2006. It granted him powers unprecedented in US history. Washington could deny the right to habeas corpus to American citizens detained as “unlawful enemy combatants,” not just those who participate in combat, but also those who “deliberately and materially supported hostilities against the United States.” United”.

With the passage of the Military Commissions Act, those imprisoned in Afghanistan and sent to Guantanamo Bay military prison could no longer appeal to US courts. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said before that, “technically illegal combatants have no rights under the Geneva Convention”.

The White House was given the power to indefinitely detain any U.S. or foreign national, in the United States and abroad, found to be in possession of material support activities against America; and the law sanctioned the use in prisons of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (ETI) relating to sleep and sensory deprivation, solitary confinement and forced medication.

US military personnel and CIA agents were authorized to commit “enhanced interrogation techniques”, and testimony extracted under such circumstances was used in trials before military commissions. The Center for Constitutional Rights, headquartered in New York, felt the Military Commissions Act as “a massive legislative attack on fundamental rights, including the right to habeas corpus – the right to challenge his detention before a court”.

Guantanamo received a number of prisoners under the age of 18. Erik R. Saar, a US Army sergeant who had been based at Guantanamo, wrote that he “had to question the wisdom of keeping children so young in a place like Gitmo. [Guantanamo]”. In 2008, Guantanamo had 21 prisoners under the age of 18.

The White House’s response when criticized for human rights abuses in places like Guantanamo, located on the southeastern shores of Cuba, is that since it is not officially one of the states United States, the region is not under the jurisdiction of US courts or international law. The establishment of US control over Guantanamo, which is a major port area, has enabled Washington to escape responsibility for such policies. The CIA established other secret prisons in NATO states such as Poland, Romania and Lithuania, as well as in the Middle East and Asia.

Read more: The dilemma of old-style bushwhacking in Pakistan

The Bush administration was advancing its military and political ambitions in the prized Caucasus region. This inevitably led to rising tensions between Washington and Moscow. The United States has often ignored Kremlin concerns about a region on Russia’s doorstep, which President Vladimir Putin believes is in his country’s sphere of interest, because the Caucasus has been historic.

President Bush has sent 200 military advisers to Georgia and Russian officials have complained to Washington about the presence of US troops on Georgian soil. The United States created the NATO Partnership for Peace Program (NATO-PPP) relating to the former Soviet republicsand the U.S. military had been conducting exercises in former Soviet Union territories since 1997.

Yet the Bush administration was aware that other means were needed to achieve its goals, rather than just armed persuasion. Billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Institute, renamed Open Society Foundations in 2011, have been prominent on the international stage. The policies of Soros and his Open Society groups are generally compatible with Washington.

Soros’ Open Society groups funneled tens of millions of dollars to former Soviet republics. In the fall of 2003 alone, the Open Society paid at least $42 million to help the Rose Revolution in Georgia, which helped Mikheil Saakashvili to power in January 2004.

Soros was also involved in Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, which saw pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko become president of Kyiv in January 2005. The following month Yushchenko spoke of his desire to apply for Ukraine’s membership in NATO. American and European organizations such as USAID, the Poland-America-Ukraine Cooperation Initiative, Freedom House, and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) also aided the above Color Revolutions. These groups helped support Yushchenko’s election campaign, which otherwise would likely have failed.

Read more: Bush, Clinton and Obama unite to help Afghan refugees

The Color Revolutions drew some similarities to the 1953 Anglo-American-led putsch in Iran. Here, Britain’s MI6 and the CIA had funded protests and other unrest in Tehran, in order to remove Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and replace him with someone more docile, ultimately the Shah. Mosaddegh had placed Iran’s oil reserves under state control.

Shane Quinn has been a regular contributor to Global Research for nearly two years and has published articles in US media People’s World and MintPress News, Morning Star in Britain and Orinoco Tribune in Venezuela. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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