Was Bush an imperial President ?

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To what extend was Bush an imperial President?

An imperial President is referring to a presidency characterised by the misuse and abuse of the powers of the presidency. The Bush administration was seen as imperialistic as it has ignored standing law, violated treaty obligations, undermined the most basic of civil liberties and on the whole, used its powers to avoid congressional, judicial and public oversight.

Firstly, terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 offered Bush an opportunity to reassert presidential leadership. The crisis gave Bush the chance to exercise his constitutional power as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. As such, he was able to launch attacks on Afghanistan as an emergency act of self-defence, without a formal declaration of war of Congress. Additionally, he coordinated the creation of an international coalition and worked to ensure that American military operations ran smoothly. In all these actions, he received the overwhelming support of both Democrats and Republicans alike, and from a broad cross-section of the American people. Therefore, this exemplifies his power as an imperial president.

Besides that, the terrorist attacks gave Bush the opportunity to set a foreign policy agenda reflective of his administration’s aims and aspirations. In his 2002 State of the Union address, he declared his opposition to the governments of Iraq, Iran and North Korea and suggested that he would seek to take action against them as part of his war on terrorism. This demonstrated that American’s foreign agenda would be set by a Bush, and that the presidency was the dominant political driving force in this area. This is because, at a time of crisis, America looks to the president to lead foreign policy.

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Moreover, Bush violates the Fourth Amendment, for it sends his agents stealing into our lives to search our private communications without probable cause and without a warrant. He also goes against the law by creating NSA, which prohibited the agency from domestic spying without court supervision. He also bypasses 1978’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which set up a special FISA court specifically to issue secret warrants. This meant that Bush had ignored the law hence emphasizing his imperialism.  His imperialism was further highlighted when he set up the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay and created a virtual state of limbo ...

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