The Weinberger Doctrine
Caspar Weinberger was the Secretary of Defense during the Reagan Administration (1981-1989). He laid out six basic conditions he felt were necessary before the United States should use force in order to deal with an international situation.
- Vital national interests must be involved.
- It is paramount that the war must be fought with the intention of winning.
- Clear definition of the military and political objectives must be laid out.
- Objective and necessary forces must be continuously monitored and reassessed.
- Public support for a sustained conflict must be highly likely.
- Force should be used only as a last resort, when all other diplomatic and private options had been employed and failed.
The Weinberger Doctrine may seem to be common sense, however, at the time it was promulgated during the 1980s the Viet Nam war had only been over for a short while and the perception of many foreign policy thinkers was that the people who had become involved in the war had not taken at least a few of these factors into account.1
- Framing the Sixties page 72