From Hubris to Reality: Neoconservatism and the Bush Doctrine's Middle East Democratisation Policies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMasters of Arts
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, the Bush administration articulated an anti-terrorism grand strategy of armed democratisation in the Middle East that constituted the heart of the “Bush Doctrine.” This strategy derived primarily from the framework of activist democracy promotion developed by neoconservatives, and reached its apex in 2003 when it served as the rationale for regime change in Iraq as the fulcrum for the democratic transformation of the Arab world. Yet by 2008, the Bush administration's democratisation policies and many elements of the broader neoconservative framework of democracy promotion have been significantly scaled back as a result of the challenges they have faced in the Arab world - to the extent that both are now entering a state of decline. In seeking to assess the development, assumptions and outcomes to date of the United States' post-September 11 anti-terrorism strategy in the Middle East, this thesis offers a critical account of the rise and decline of the “neoconservative moment” in American foreign policy as exemplified by the Bush Doctrine's Middle East democratisation policies. This thesis examines the origins, evolution and claims of the neoconservative paradigm of armed democracy promotion; it relates these to the justifications for interventionist democratisation in the Middle East present in the terms of the Bush Doctrine; and it assesses some of the key critiques made of these assumptions over the past five years. Unlike a number of studies of the Bush Doctrine and neoconservatism, this thesis takes seriously the Bush Doctrine's claims and neoconservative beliefs as a genuine intellectual framework for intervention, consistently examining their assertions on their own terms. Further, this thesis utilises an interdisciplinary approach of study, adopting a number of the methods and analytical tools of history and political science in making its arguments and reaching its conclusions.