The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, fundamentally reprioritized US foreign policy. In this environment the Bush administration crafted what came to be known as the Bush Doctrine. Though a precise definition of the Bush Doctrine remains contested, definitions typically include the idea that the United States may preemptively attack countries harboring terrorists, and that the US should support the spread of democracy. But, after eight years, the United States is not safer. This paper analyzes democratization as a theory and as an element of the Bush Doctrine through case studies of Iraq and Afghanistan. By tying the notion of victory in the War on Terror to democratization, the United States has angered many Afghanis and Iraqis, wasted an enormous amount of resources, and damaged its relations with other countries. Overall, efforts by the Bush administration to impose democracy in these countries have counterproductive at combating terrorism. I conclude with policy prescriptions for the Obama administration, namely that America must remove itself from the political processes of Iraq and Afghanistan, rebuild ties with the international community, and develop a strategy for complete American withdrawal from these areas.
Duhe, James M.
"Imposing Democracy: State Building and the War on Terror,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2009, Article 10.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2009/iss1/10