On the anniversary of Sept. 11, ABC's Charles Gibson interviewed Gov. Sarah Palin and asked her whether she supported the Bush Doctrine. Gibson was rewarded with what he called "a blizzard of words."
President Bush has no single statement called "The Bush Doctrine," as other presidents have had.
President Monroe had a doctrine putting Europe on notice not to fiddle around in Latin America, in America's backyard. The Truman Doctrine warned Stalin not to fiddle around with Greece and Turkey. Nixon designed a doctrine calling for the Vietnamization of the Vietnam War — that is, turning it over to the South Vietnamese.
The Bush Doctrine just grew from a series of policy positions. Probably the central document was the National Security Strategy dated September 2002 — a year after the Sept. 11 attacks. It asserted an American right to launch pre-emptive strikes against potential enemies and a right to unseat hostile regimes. It also asserted the right to support threatened democratic regimes. Threaded through the document was an assertion of unilateralism — a right to "go it alone" when a like-minded coalition is not available.
Is the Bush Doctrine still alive? Yes, if you listen to conservative ideologues.
Lamont Colucci, a former Foreign Service officer who is now an assistant professor at Ripon College, writes in The Washington Times that the Bush Doctrine "should be the basis of American foreign policy in perpetuity."
Joshua Muravchik, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in World Affairs magazine that President Bush has one more Bush Doctrine mission to fulfill before he leaves office, and that is to "hit one more home run right into Iran's nuclear facilities."
Now that Palin has had time to study up, I wonder what she would say about whether she and John McCain embrace the Bush Doctrine.