Yo, hello Dave! That's the whole point, buddy! US foreign policy is always changing because the characters are always changing, and every big man's got his own doctrine or lobby to adhere to or service.
The BIG change, which is the thing that has changed American foreign policy in the context of 9/11, is the shift within the Republican party from the Realists to the Idealists. And, the thing is, that schism has been playing out for decades. Rummy was challenging Kissinger on his policies in the Nixon administration: he wanted to take Kissinger's place. And his idea was, end detente, and challenge the Soviets.
And then you had Reagan and the end of the Cold War. George Schultz was the don, and things were dirtier and nastier than later on, and supporting right-wing dictators and murderous militias and white oligarchies was justified by the Washington foreign policy community: Jeane Kirkpatrick being key to this, funnily enough, with a Commentary article called 'Dictatorships and Double Standards' which was a weird and sick synthesis of Kissingerism and Neoconservatism served up as newly-minted doctrine.
Then you no longer had the Cold War. But the heirs of Kissinger - Scowcroft, and later, Condi kinda - were still obsessed with Eastern European politics, while the Idealists started to focus on the Middle East. In the meantime, then, there's Clinton's administrations dealing with all the post-Cold War issues, and trying to work out what to DO with all that post-Vietnam/CW military power, and generally trying to work out what kind of foreign policy Democrats are suppossed to have anyway. Meanwhile Powell's in the Pentagon, with the 'don't do a damn thing' Powell doctrine.
You know all this, right? So, is it not just too easy and convenient to view US foreign policy as one monolithic chunk of genocidal evil shit that spans centuries? How the hell is that useful???
Maybe US foreign policy won't change cleanly, fundamentally, ever...because there are so many checks and counterchecks and party partitions and interest groups and there's Congress and there's Senate and there's Comittees and Special Advisors and all sorts...there's nothing clean, and there are too many fundamentalisms.
But it's more basic. Listen, when Bush said that the mission of the US was to challenge tyranny and support and export democracy he was speaking the language of the Idealists and turning his back on the legacy of Kissinger and realpolitik: Bush's 02 State of the Union address openly condemned that very legacy. That's a pretty important swerve in US foreign policy.
Now answer Pearsall's questions.