You are hereHome › College of Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities (CASSH) › Reubin O'D. Askew Department of Government › Shively, Jacob › Abandoning strategy Style APAChicagoHarvardIEEEMLATurabian Choose the citation style. Shively, J. (2013). Abandoning strategy: Assessing negative feedback and the Bush doctrine. International Studies Conference, April 2013, San Francisco, CA. Abandoning strategy Details Title Abandoning strategy: Assessing negative feedback and the Bush doctrine Contributor(s) Shively, Jacob (author) Located In International Studies Conference, April 2013, San Francisco, CA Date 2013 Abstract This paper compares theories of grand strategy feedback by analyzing the Bush Doctrine during Bush's second term. By the time of his 2008 State of the Union address, George W. Bush had scaled back both his rhetoric and his willingness to apply assertive, unilateral pressure around the world. Why? Conventional wisdom suggests that external costs particularly related to the Iraq War--progressively constrained the administration's capacity to act. Yet theories of foreign policy and grand strategy change propose a range of other explanations for what type of feedback most profoundly affects a state's grand strategy. These include domestic political calculations, public opinion, economic interest groups, active veto players, rational analyses and systemic pressures. In order to determine which feedback source most influenced the Bush administration, I compare predicted values on each of these explanations with actual policy outcomes and debates during a series of salient decision-making periods. Findings suggest that domestic variables such as public opinion, veto players and economic interests mattered less than 1) elite perceptions of a gap between strategic goals and reality and 2) exogenous, systemic pressures. Nevertheless, the paper also concludes with a call for theory that integrates these competing explanations.