The Powell Doctrine

What’s the point of having this superb military … if we can’t use it? — Madeleine Albright

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

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
  7. Is the action supported by the American people?
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

Might the Russian Government have asked similar questions before invading Ukraine? If so, they might well have answered 1-6 affirmatively, but not 7 and surely not 8.

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1 Response to The Powell Doctrine

  1. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Since the United States routinely undertakes military actions without EVER asking those questions, never mind receiving favorable answers, I fail to see how the so-called Powell Doctrine has any relevance today, other than that of a historical curiosity.

    As to the Soviet government….Putin is an ideologue and on a mission consistent with his ideology. His checklist for military action is known only to him.

    As an aside, I knew a family of Poles who emigrated to the US in the early 1960s, Smack dab in the middle of the Cuban Missile crisis. The family had been occupied during WWII by the Germans and later by the Russians. The Germans were described as well-mannered polite clients for this family’s business. The Russians were remembered for their rudeness and thuggishness. I was advised NEVER to trust a Russian. Seems they knew what they were talking about.


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