ABOUT THAT HYPOCRISY CHARGE: My

ABOUT THAT HYPOCRISY CHARGE: My Friday post on North Korea prompted an e-mail from the MinuteMan. He points out that the administration is not acting hypocritically, because the pre-emption doctrine does not imply that the U.S. will always use force to deal with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He’s right. This section of ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast.

ABOUT THAT HYPOCRISY CHARGE: My Friday post on North Korea prompted an e-mail from the MinuteMan. He points out that the administration is not acting hypocritically, because the pre-emption doctrine does not imply that the U.S. will always use force to deal with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He's right. This section of the National Security Strategy concludes: "The United States will not use force in all cases to preempt emerging threats, nor should nations use preemption as a pretext for aggression.... We will always proceed deliberately, weighing the consequences of our actions." Fair point, and consistent with what I said about all foreign policy doctrine having necessary wiggle room. But to be clear, the reason I said the Bush administration was being hypocritical was not that they were threatening to use force on Iraq but not North Korea. The hypocrisy stems from the administration's claim that the situation in Iraq merits force because that country's leadership is more evil. The reason the situations are different has everything to do with power politics and nothing to do with a "malevolence gap."

ABOUT THAT HYPOCRISY CHARGE: My Friday post on North Korea prompted an e-mail from the MinuteMan. He points out that the administration is not acting hypocritically, because the pre-emption doctrine does not imply that the U.S. will always use force to deal with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He’s right. This section of the National Security Strategy concludes: “The United States will not use force in all cases to preempt emerging threats, nor should nations use preemption as a pretext for aggression…. We will always proceed deliberately, weighing the consequences of our actions.” Fair point, and consistent with what I said about all foreign policy doctrine having necessary wiggle room. But to be clear, the reason I said the Bush administration was being hypocritical was not that they were threatening to use force on Iraq but not North Korea. The hypocrisy stems from the administration’s claim that the situation in Iraq merits force because that country’s leadership is more evil. The reason the situations are different has everything to do with power politics and nothing to do with a “malevolence gap.”

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner

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