Weinberger-Powell and Transformation: Perceptions of American Power from the Fall of Saigon to the Fall of Baghdad Earl E. K. Abonadi

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88 pages


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Weinberger-Powell and Transformation: Perceptions of American Power from the Fall of Saigon to the Fall of Baghdad  by  Earl E. K. Abonadi

Weinberger-Powell and Transformation: Perceptions of American Power from the Fall of Saigon to the Fall of Baghdad by Earl E. K. Abonadi
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Throughout American history, policymakers have struggled with the use of American military power. The Limited War argument holds that the use of force needs to remain an option to support American diplomacy. The Never Again argument, meanwhile, holdsMoreThroughout American history, policymakers have struggled with the use of American military power. The Limited War argument holds that the use of force needs to remain an option to support American diplomacy. The Never Again argument, meanwhile, holds that the use of American military power should be undertaken only in the face of threats against vital national interests.

The most influential Never Again argument has been the 1984 Weinberger Doctrine, later expanded to the Weinberger-Powell Doctrine, which sought to limit the use of American military power. After the Vietnam War and the 1983 Marine barracks bombing, the Weinberger-Powell Doctrine was ascendant over Limited War arguments like Secretary of State George Schultz’s case in favor of the limited use of American military force against targets of less than vital interest.

Between the 1991 Gulf War and the 2002 Invasion of Iraq, however, the Weinberger-Powell Doctrine lost much of its influence with American policymakers. This thesis will establish a link between the loss of influence by the Weinberger-Powell Doctrine and the rise in the utility of force based on improvements in military technology and doctrines, leading to a broadening of policy objectives that would not have been possible during the Cold War.



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