Powell Doctrine

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The "Powell Doctrine" is a journalist-created term, named after General Colin Powell in the run-up to the 1990-1991 Gulf War. It is based in large part on the Weinberger Doctrine, devised by Caspar Weinberger, former Secretary of Defense and Powell's former boss.

The Powell Doctrine states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States:

As Powell said in an April 1, 2009 interview on The Rachel Maddow Show, the Doctrine denotes the exhausting of all "political, economic, and diplomatic means," which, only if those means prove to be futile, should a nation resort to military force. Powell has expanded upon the Doctrine, asserting that when a nation is engaging in war, every resource and tool should be used to achieve decisive force against the enemy, minimizing US casualties and ending the conflict quickly by forcing the weaker force to capitulate. This is well in line with Western military strategy dating at least from Carl von Clausewitz's On War.[citation needed]

The Doctrine has been used to compare the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the Iraq War.[2]


See also


Further reading

  • Heiko Meiertöns: The Doctrines of US Security Policy - An Evaluation under International Law, Cambridge University Press (2010), ISBN 9780521766487.
  • Christopher D. O'Sullivan, Colin Powell: American Power and Intervention From Vietnam to Iraq, New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, (2009)

External links

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