The American fascist ideologist Lawrence Dennis argued in the 1930s that fascism was a world view that could be imposed by a movement, which did not have to really understand the fascist idea.

In trying to comprehend the foundations of the Bush ideology, scholars and analysts linked the Bush ideology to fascist thinkers; ideologues of the Bush regime propounded fascist ideas, without necessarily claiming to be fascists.

Faith, however, transcends ideas. Bush's religious faith stands above and informs his sense of unshakable convictions. Bush told Bob Woodward: "Going into this period, I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will."

Bruce Barttlet, a republican who worked for Bush senior, told Ron Ruskin that people close to Bush commented on how Bush talks about this: "Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do ? Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis." (NYT Magazine, October 17, 2004).

In the temporal realm, influential mortals have provided the intellectual foundations for the ideological assertiveness of the Bush regime. They all share a common worldview.

In the summer 2004 issue of Daedalus, constitutional law professor, Sanford Levinson, writes that Carl Schmitt, the leading Nazi German philosopher, is the real source of inspiration of the Bush regime.

Professor Alan Wolfe of Boston College described Schmitt as the intellectual guru of the Bush administration. Schmitt's major philosophical contribution to politics is contained in a 1932 influential book entitled The Concept of the Political.

Schmitt argued that in major human endeavours the ultimate distinctions are framed as duality.

But politics is a different realm; its ultimate distinction is between friend and foe. And this comes before the State and before any notion of justice or morality.

Critics describe Schmitt's views as "consciously embracing evil". A protégé of Schmitt, Leo Strauss, has also been described as having a powerful influence over the thinking of the Bush regime. Jeffrey Steinberg described Strauss as the "Fascist godfather of the neo-cons".

Machiavellian approach

Strauss, who admired Nazi philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger and Carl Schmitt believed that morality and ethics had no place in politics and advocated a decidedly Machiavellian approach to politics and foreign policy.

Strauss's influence on the neo-cons has been documented in S. B. Drury's book Leo Strauss and the American Right in which the author argued that Strauss believed that a stable political order required an external threat and that if an external threat did not exist, one should be manufactured.

Strauss has directly influenced some of the leading ideologues of the Bush administration: Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of the Iraq war, and Abram Shulsky, the director of the Special Plans Operation Pentagon office set up by Douglas Feith to produce its own evidence to bolster the case for war. Both Wolfowitz and Shulsky studied under Strauss at the University of Chicago in the 1970s.

A senior adviser to Bush explicitly espoused the fascist notion of the superman as subject of history transcending the limited rationality of the masses, dispensing with justifications for his actions and creating and imposing his own reality.

This adviser told Ron Susking that traditional notions of proof and discernable reality are no longer adequate today because: "We're an empire now and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality judiciously, as you will we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors.'' (NYT Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004).

In addition to God and the fascist philosophers, two other sources have been directly linked to Bush himself.

The first is Karl Rove, Bush's principal political adviser-described by some as the ultimate Machiavellian operative.

James Moore, co-author, with Wayne Slater, of the 2003 book Bush's Brain, the subject of a documentary in 2004, wrote: "Rove is probably the most powerful un-elected person in American history."

Bush acknowledged an intellectual debt to Natan Sharansky, the fanatical rightwing Israeli Likud minister who criticised Sharon for being too soft on the Palestinians.

Bush reportedly consulted with Sharansky and received inspiration from him for the inaugural speech of his second term, setting out what the Washington Times described triumphantly as "a new, expansionist and far more aggressive global mission." (January 21, 2005.)

Professor Adel Safty is Unesco Chair of Leadership and President of the School of Government and Leadership, Bahcesehir University, Istanbul. He is author-editor of 14 books including From Camp David to the Gulf, and Leadership and Democracy, IPSL Press. New York, 2004.