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Safeguarding Democratic CapitalismU.S. Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920-2015$
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Melvyn P Leffler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196510

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196510.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

9/11 and American Foreign Policy

9/11 and American Foreign Policy

(p.281) 9 9/11 and American Foreign Policy
Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism

Melvyn P. Leffler

Princeton University Press

This chapter emphasizes that 9/11 dramatically altered the threat perception of U.S. policymakers. “The greater the threat,” said the strategy statement, “the greater the risk of inaction.” In this new threat environment, policymakers declared that the old tactics of deterrence and containment could not work. Although the employment of preemptive or preventative action was not entirely new in the U.S. diplomatic experience, the emphasis accorded to it was much more pronounced. Threat perception altered tactics, not goals. To justify the new tactics, President George W. Bush raised the rhetorical trope of democracy promotion to a new level of importance, and this was even more true after weapons of mass destruction were not located in Iraq. For this chapter, 9/11 raised interesting and complicated questions about the relationships between interests, values, threat perception, and the employment of power.

Keywords:   September 11, 9/11, threat perception, preemptive action, preventative action, George W. Bush, democracy promotion

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