National Security Strategy September 2002

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search

The National Security Strategy of September 2002 was the formal promulgation of the Bush Doctrine which the president had earlier introduced in his 1 June 2002 speech at West Point. Many of its ideas stem from the Defence Policy Guidance of 1992, and the Project for the New American Century's 'Rebuilding America's Defences'.

Key Tenets

The key tenets of NSS 2002 are unilateralism, preemption, missilde defence, and combating terrorism by focusing on states. All of them originated with neoconservatives.


In his January 29, 2002 State of the Union address, George W. Bush had first introduced the doctrine of preemption: 'I will not wait on events as dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer.'[1] He reiterated the point in his 1 June speech at West Point, in which he stressed that 'new threats also require new thinking.’ He then added an oblique call for preemption: ‘If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long.’[2] NSS 2002 made preemption official US policy.

Content Analysis

In the document the word 'terrorist' appears 47 times, 'freedom' 46 times, 'liberty' 11 times, 'WMD' 9 times, and 'free market' 8 times.

Historical Antecedents

The document is an inventory of neoconservative ideas from the past two decades. Most of its key tenets have unmistakable antecedents in neoconservative writings.

‘The great struggles of the twentieth century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom—and a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise.’ (Origins: Francis Fukuyama's 'The End of History')
'And America will hold to account nations that are compromised by terror, including those who harbor terrorists' (Origins: This line was inserted into Bush's 11 September 2001 speech by David Frum at Richard Perle's suggestion)
'We will build defenses against ballistic missiles and other means of delivery.' (Origins: Albert Wohlstetter)


  • The National Security Strategy, The White House, September 2002
  • Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke, America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order (Cambridge University Press 2004), pp.141-156
  • George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, The White House, 29 January 2002
  • George W. Bush, President Bush Delivers Graduation Speech at West Point, The White House, 1 June 2002