The Remaking of a Unipolar World
tics could be tolerated because they were not great enough to threaten thefundamentals of the unipolar system. Thus, when the United States did in-tervene, it was playing an essentially conservative role.
A New Beginning: Hegemonic Revisionism
Although the 1992 Defense Guidance was drafted by neoconservatives andis often seen as foreshadowing current U.S. policy, the contrast between thetwo is actually quite severe. Three linked elements that have become cen-tral to contemporary U.S. foreign policy had little place in the draft docu-ment almost a decade earlier. First, currentdoctrine emphasizes that peace and coopera-tion can exist only when all important statesare democratic. Because a country’s foreignpolicy reflects the nature of its domestic re-gime, states that rule by law and express theinterests of their people will conduct benignforeign policies, and tyrannies will inflict mis-ery abroad as well as at home.Second, a vital instrument to preserveworld order is what the administration callspreemption but is actually prevention, including preventive war. In extremecases such as Iraq, the United States has justified the use of force by arguingthat even though Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruc-tion (WMD) programs, he would have developed them when conditionswere propitious. It was better for the United States to act rather than waitfor this to occur. This may be a political and psychological rationalization,but the argument does have a strong logic to it, especially if deterrence can-not cope with dedicated adversaries, most notably terrorists. When defenseis also inadequate, the United States must use preventive measures.Preventive actions, however, even if effective in the short run, willonly be a stopgap if international politics were to proceed on its normaltrajectory. To bring lasting peace, stability, and prosperity, the systemmust not simply be preserved, as the Defense Guidance advocated; itmust be transformed.Although the second element in this trilogy can perhaps be squaredwith a conservative view of the role of the hegemon, the other two can-not. Together, the three argue that even if the status quo is in some sensesatisfactory, it is an illusion to believe that it can be maintained. One wayor another, world politics will change drastically. The questions are whowill change it and whether it will be for better or worse. In a way that
he irony is thatWashington seeks tochange the rules oftoday’s unipolarworld order.