Date of Award

Summer 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International Studies

Committee Director

Simon Serfaty

Committee Member

Regina Karp

Committee Member

Benjamin Neimark


The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, initiated a strategic shift in American national security policy. For the United States, terrorism was no longer a distant phenomenon visited upon faraway regions; it had come to America with stark brutality.1 Consequently, the administration of President George W. Bush sought to advance a security strategy to counter the proliferating threat of terrorism.

The ensuing 2002 National Security Strategy articulated the willingness of the United States to oppose terrorists, and rogue nation-states by merging the strategies of "preemptive" and "preventive" warfare into an unprecedented strategy of "anticipatory action," known as the Doctrine of Preemption (DoP).

During the Global War on Terrorism, the DoP was used to protect the United States against terrorism; however, it initiated "spillover effects" that influenced other political domains in the international community.2 Many scholars argued the DoP leaned toward unilateralism, while others asserted the strategy was in line with the United States' historical tradition of using military force to influence global events favorable to its strategic objectives.3 Accordingly, this dissertation examines the post-9/11 global security environment from 2001 through 2008 to analyze the strategic characteristics of the DoP, and the geo-political conditions that stimulated its maturation as a strategy of anticipatory action.


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