To an extent, the idea of Cold War nation building has been in evidence in attempts to instill democracy in fronts such as Afghanistan and Iraq. But as a new president seeks to undo the damage of previous security policy conditions, it is apparent that this is an archaic approach to understanding the way individuals tend to behave under foreign occupation. The resistance that has made Iraq one of the most violent places on in Earth speaks more clearly to the implications of the Bush doctrine as a security policy umbrella theory.
Another result of this misappropriation of the Bush doctrine is the selective attention which it promotes amongst lawmakers and defensive strategists. Amongst these exists a perception of reactionary necessity, in which the clear vulnerabilities exposed by 9/11 have directed the focus of security policy on airport screening and, in many instances, the obtuse law enforcement tool of racial profiling. These responses are attendant to a culture of relative strategic laziness, contrasting dangerously the energy for ingenuity shown by terrorist cells. As Flynn argues, "from water and food supplies; refineries, energy grids, and pipelines; bridges, tunnels, trains, trucks, and cargo containers; to the cyber backbone that underpins the information age in which we live, the measures we have been cobbling together are hardly fit to deter amateur thieves, vandals, and hackers, never mind determined terrorists." (Flynn, 2) The basic case is made here that under the terms of the War on Terror, America has been ill-prepared in terms of security, emergency response and recuperation from an effectively catastrophic attack in a major American city, at one of America's ports or in any of America's embassies and holdings around the globe.
And with recent events in Iran and the heated exchange which these events have invoked between President Obama and Iranian Prime Minister Ahmadinejad, it is clear that the threat to the United States of hostility resulting from its recent policies of military preemptive attack is real and present. The Islamic hardliner has declared his hostility toward the United States, especially in light of its attempts to intervene with Iranian nuclear production. As this was the very same line of logic which enabled the invasion of Iraq in search of nuclear secrets, it is easy to view a correlation between the Bush doctrine and the current security scenario. Indeed, the conflict between Iran and the United States over human rights, recent election results and aggressive tactics of protest repression have boiled over into a public war of words that is highlight another of America's key security concerns. This relates to nuclear non-proliferation, a priority on which the U.S. itself has a decidedly mixed history.
Indeed, today, the behavior of key nation states such as the U.S. have come to hinder the maintenance of the global non-proliferation regime's goals, even as this compromises U.S. security prospects. By using remote nation-states as venues through which to retain a world presence, the United States has actually played a part in disseminating nuclear secrets to both Israel and India, in direct violation of the 1968 treaty. "U.S. nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) commitments forbid the United States from assisting another state's nuclear weapons program 'in any way.' (Cirincione et al., 1) Concerning its agreements with nations such as Israel and India, which it views as key allies in the ongoing war against terrorism, the United States is itself a central stumbling block to the legitimacy of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This serves as a prime example of the fundamental flaw in the non-proliferation organization. Many of its members view it as a device to be employed when such is congruent with their purposes and as one to be ignored when its provisions stand in the path of self-interest.
A current arrangement between the United States and India, enacted in 2005, is illustrative of the dangerous favoritism which the superpower shows to its militarily strategic allies in terms of nuclear security theory. As an extension of its war on terrorism and the key front of Pakistan, "the U.S. may allow India to keep significant amounts of its existing spent fuel from its nuclear power reactors free of IAEA safeguards." (Cirincione, 3) Though it would be favorable to imply that it is the so-called rogue-nation which must be checked in order to bring greater credibility to the NPT, there is good cause to suggest that these nations are merely the consequence of impropriety amongst the so-called world powers. In the condition of trespassing rogue nations, it would ideally be possible to foster the alliance of the IAEA's more powerful nations in pressuring those outside of the agreement's parameters to adhere to international standards. The presence of imposing diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions or even military action could in such conditions yield positive results from those in the developing world who have aspired to nuclear capacity as a means to gaining international leverage. Indeed, with nations such as Iran and North Korea, which it has deemed to be a threat to global security, the United States has often sponsored or supported the levying of such isolating practices. This is considered an approach to global security which invokes greater alliance with global law and ideology by using economic opportunity as a prod. Unfortunately, the diversion and inconsistency provided by such crucial members as the United States has had a stultifying effect on the agency's effectiveness. Though such conditions are clearly a problem for the regime, as exemplified by the situations in North Korea and Iran today, where collective resistance to efforts at nuclear acquisition have been met with secrecy, resistance and antagonism, there remains a far more foundational stumbling block to the effectiveness of non-proliferation. The unilateral proclivities of some of the world's most powerful nations have in fact factored in most predominantly in rendering the IAEA the minimally effective organization it is today.
At present, the nuclear non-proliferation theories of security have begun to factor into what is seen as a new age in the prevention of the spread of nuclear weapons. A number of factors have contributed to a demand for change in the nature of the initiative, chiefly among them, the incidence of September 11th 2001 brought into focus the threat of international terrorism and its potentially catastrophic relationship with the gaining ambitions of the developing world for the acquisition of nuclear capabilities. As such, many of the most current priorities in security orientation revolve on the goal of inhibiting the capacity of independent terrorist cells and rogue nations to realize nuclear strength. Thus, America's explicit priorities today in addition to its missive safeguard prescriptions are the prevention of the theft of nuclear devices, the prevention of the independent acquisition of radioactive materials, the prevention of the acquisition of other potentially weaponized materials and the prevention of any harmful attack levied directly against a nuclear power facility.
As a guideline to the areas in which the most attention must be dedicated, the Secretariat of the IEAE offered during a 2002 conference a host of directives upon which we are continually attempting to improve our global efforts. Particularly, the conference cited a need for greater protective measures against attacks on civilian and military nuclear targets. This means the 'physical' protection of facilities through the presence of military defense, as both a measure to deter attack and to prevent theft or security breach in these crucial locations around the world. (Berdennikov, 2) These are security policies which are coming increasingly to recognize the need for a counter-terrorism policy that anticipates rather than simply responds to domestic threats.
Today, we are coming to a place of understanding with respect to the lessons of the War on Terror. The extent to which the Bush doctrine had promoted a security theory driven by the extension of war on a global has today been illustrated as counterintuitive. The conflict in Iraq has contributed to a massive loss of life, both American and Iraqi, and underscores the relatively irrational elements of the preemptive strike approach to terrorism prevention.
Increasingly, the Obama Administration will work to remove American troops from Iraq and to bring a formal end to hostilities in Afghanistan as a way to begin to draw back the vestiges of the previous administration's failures. As with the Cold War, however, the events which have already occurred will produce their own lasting effects for the world. How the current and future crops of leaders contend with these effects will determine whether we remain in something of a negative security cycle or whether America proceeds forward with a more rational, ethically grounded and inherently logical approach to maintaining security and safety.
Berdennikov, G. (2002). Dealing With the Risks of Nuclear Terrorism:
Physical Protection, Nuclear Safety and Other Initiatives. Programme for Promoting Nuclear Non-Proliferation: Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, Monterey. Online at http://www.mcis.soton.ac.uk/Annecy2002March/BERDENNIKOV-Annecy.pdf