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BUSH WATCH...THE BUSH PLAN FOR EMPIRE
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First We Take Baghdad, Then We Take Beijing
"After Baghdad, Beijing." --PNAC enthusiast
They sentenced me to 8 full years of Clinton
I'm guided by a signal from the White House
I really hate to live beside you liberals
You loved me as a loser, now
I don't like this peacenik business, mister
And I thank you for those items that you gave me
Remember me , I used to live for Reagan
Voodoo Foreign Policy. Daddy Didn't Buy It, But Junior Did
Conservatives began drawing up steroid-fueled plans to reorder the world a decade ago, imperial blueprints fantastical enough to make "Star Wars" look achievable.
In 1992, Dick Cheney, the defense secretary for Bush 41, and his aides, Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby, drafted a document asserting that America should prepare to cast off formal alliances and throw its military weight around to prevent the rise of any "potential future global competitor" and to preclude the spread of nuclear weapons.
The solipsistic grandiosity of the plan was offputting to 41, who loved nothing better than chatting up the other members of the global club. To Poppy and Colin Powell, this looked like voodoo foreign policy, and they splashed cold water on it.
In 1996, Richard Perle, now a Pentagon adviser, and Douglas Feith, now a Rumsfeld aide, helped write a report about how Israel could transcend the problems with the Palestinians by changing the "balance of power" in the Middle East, and by replacing Saddam.
The hawks saw their big chance after 9/11, but they feared that it would be hard to sell a eschatological scheme to stomp out Islamic terrorism by recreating the Arab world. So they found Saddam guilty of a crime he could commit later: helping Osama unleash hell on us. --Maureen Dowd, 03.02.03
The president's real goal in Iraq
In recent days, those missing pieces have finally begun to fall into place. As it turns out, this is not really about Iraq. It is not about weapons of mass destruction, or terrorism, or Saddam, or U.N. resolutions.
This war, should it come, is intended to mark the official emergence of the United States as a full-fledged global empire, seizing sole responsibility and authority as planetary policeman. It would be the culmination of a plan 10 years or more in the making, carried out by those who believe the United States must seize the opportunity for global domination, even if it means becoming the "American imperialists" that our enemies always claimed we were.
Once that is understood, other mysteries solve themselves. For example, why does the administration seem unconcerned about an exit strategy from Iraq once Saddam is toppled?
Because we won't be leaving. Having conquered Iraq, the United States will create permanent military bases in that country from which to dominate the Middle East, including neighboring Iran.
In an interview Friday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brushed aside that suggestion, noting that the United States does not covet other nations' territory. That may be true, but 57 years after World War II ended, we still have major bases in Germany and Japan. We will do the same in Iraq.
And why has the administration dismissed the option of containing and deterring Iraq, as we had the Soviet Union for 45 years? Because even if it worked, containment and deterrence would not allow the expansion of American power. Besides, they are beneath us as an empire. Rome did not stoop to containment; it conquered. And so should we.
Among the architects of this would-be American Empire are a group of brilliant and powerful people who now hold key positions in the Bush administration: They envision the creation and enforcement of what they call a worldwide "Pax Americana," or American peace. But so far, the American people have not appreciated the true extent of that ambition.
Part of it's laid out in the National Security Strategy, a document in which each administration outlines its approach to defending the country. The Bush administration plan, released Sept. 20, marks a significant departure from previous approaches, a change that it attributes largely to the attacks of Sept. 11.
To address the terrorism threat, the president's report lays out a newly aggressive military and foreign policy, embracing pre-emptive attack against perceived enemies. It speaks in blunt terms of what it calls "American internationalism," of ignoring international opinion if that suits U.S. interests. "The best defense is a good offense," the document asserts.
It dismisses deterrence as a Cold War relic and instead talks of "convincing or compelling states to accept their sovereign responsibilities."
In essence, it lays out a plan for permanent U.S. military and economic domination of every region on the globe, unfettered by international treaty or concern. And to make that plan a reality, it envisions a stark expansion of our global military presence.
"The United States will require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia," the document warns, "as well as temporary access arrangements for the long-distance deployment of U.S. troops."
The report's repeated references to terrorism are misleading, however, because the approach of the new National Security Strategy was clearly not inspired by the events of Sept. 11. They can be found in much the same language in a report issued in September 2000 by the Project for the New American Century, a group of conservative interventionists outraged by the thought that the United States might be forfeiting its chance at a global empire.
"At no time in history has the international security order been as conducive to American interests and ideals," the report said. stated two years ago. "The challenge of this coming century is to preserve and enhance this 'American peace.' "
Overall, that 2000 report reads like a blueprint for current Bush defense policy. Most of what it advocates, the Bush administration has tried to accomplish. For example, the project report urged the repudiation of the anti-ballistic missile treaty and a commitment to a global missile defense system. The administration has taken that course.
It recommended that to project sufficient power worldwide to enforce Pax Americana, the United States would have to increase defense spending from 3 percent of gross domestic product to as much as 3.8 percent. For next year, the Bush administration has requested a defense budget of $379 billion, almost exactly 3.8 percent of GDP.
It advocates the "transformation" of the U.S. military to meet its expanded obligations, including the cancellation of such outmoded defense programs as the Crusader artillery system. That's exactly the message being preached by Rumsfeld and others.
It urges the development of small nuclear warheads "required in targeting the very deep, underground hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our potential adversaries." This year the GOP-led U.S. House gave the Pentagon the green light to develop such a weapon, called the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, while the Senate has so far balked.
That close tracking of recommendation with current policy is hardly surprising, given the current positions of the people who contributed to the 2000 report.
Paul Wolfowitz is now deputy defense secretary. John Bolton is undersecretary of state. Stephen Cambone is head of the Pentagon's Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation. Eliot Cohen and Devon Cross are members of the Defense Policy Board, which advises Rumsfeld. I. Lewis Libby is chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Dov Zakheim is comptroller for the Defense Department.
Because they were still just private citizens in 2000, the authors of the project report could be more frank and less diplomatic than they were in drafting the National Security Strategy. Back in 2000, they clearly identified Iran, Iraq and North Korea as primary short-term targets, well before President Bush tagged them as the Axis of Evil. In their report, they criticize the fact that in war planning against North Korea and Iraq, "past Pentagon wargames have given little or no consideration to the force requirements necessary not only to defeat an attack but to remove these regimes from power."
To preserve the Pax Americana, the report says U.S. forces will be required to perform "constabulary duties" -- the United States acting as policeman of the world -- and says that such actions "demand American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations."
To meet those responsibilities, and to ensure that no country dares to challenge the United States, the report advocates a much larger military presence spread over more of the globe, in addition to the roughly 130 nations in which U.S. troops are already deployed.
More specifically, they argue that we need permanent military bases in the Middle East, in Southeast Europe, in Latin America and in Southeast Asia, where no such bases now exist. That helps to explain another of the mysteries of our post-Sept. 11 reaction, in which the Bush administration rushed to install U.S. troops in Georgia and the Philippines, as well as our eagerness to send military advisers to assist in the civil war in Colombia.
The 2000 report directly acknowledges its debt to a still earlier document, drafted in 1992 by the Defense Department. That document had also envisioned the United States as a colossus astride the world, imposing its will and keeping world peace through military and economic power. When leaked in final draft form, however, the proposal drew so much criticism that it was hastily withdrawn and repudiated by the first President Bush.
Effect on allies
The defense secretary in 1992 was Richard Cheney; the document was drafted by Wolfowitz, who at the time was defense undersecretary for policy.
The potential implications of a Pax Americana are immense.
One is the effect on our allies. Once we assert the unilateral right to act as the world's policeman, our allies will quickly recede into the background. Eventually, we will be forced to spend American wealth and American blood protecting the peace while other nations redirect their wealth to such things as health care for their citizenry.
Donald Kagan, a professor of classical Greek history at Yale and an influential advocate of a more aggressive foreign policy -- he served as co-chairman of the 2000 New Century project -- acknowledges that likelihood.
"If [our allies] want a free ride, and they probably will, we can't stop that," he says. But he also argues that the United States, given its unique position, has no choice but to act anyway.
"You saw the movie 'High Noon'? he asks. "We're Gary Cooper."
Accepting the Cooper role would be an historic change in who we are as a nation, and in how we operate in the international arena. Candidate Bush certainly did not campaign on such a change. It is not something that he or others have dared to discuss honestly with the American people. To the contrary, in his foreign policy debate with Al Gore, Bush pointedly advocated a more humble foreign policy, a position calculated to appeal to voters leery of military intervention.
For the same reason, Kagan and others shy away from terms such as empire, understanding its connotations. But they also argue that it would be naive and dangerous to reject the role that history has thrust upon us. Kagan, for example, willingly embraces the idea that the United States would establish permanent military bases in a post-war Iraq.
"I think that's highly possible," he says. "We will probably need a major concentration of forces in the Middle East over a long period of time. That will come at a price, but think of the price of not having it. When we have economic problems, it's been caused by disruptions in our oil supply. If we have a force in Iraq, there will be no disruption in oil supplies."
Costly global commitment
Rumsfeld and Kagan believe that a successful war against Iraq will produce other benefits, such as serving an object lesson for nations such as Iran and Syria. Rumsfeld, as befits his sensitive position, puts it rather gently. If a regime change were to take place in Iraq, other nations pursuing weapons of mass destruction "would get the message that having them . . . is attracting attention that is not favorable and is not helpful," he says.
Kagan is more blunt.
"People worry a lot about how the Arab street is going to react," he notes. "Well, I see that the Arab street has gotten very, very quiet since we started blowing things up."
The cost of such a global commitment would be enormous. In 2000, we spent $281 billion on our military, which was more than the next 11 nations combined. By 2003, our expenditures will have risen to $378 billion. In other words, the increase in our defense budget from 1999-2003 will be more than the total amount spent annually by China, our next largest competitor.
The lure of empire is ancient and powerful, and over the millennia it has driven men to commit terrible crimes on its behalf. But with the end of the Cold War and the disappearance of the Soviet Union, a global empire was essentially laid at the feet of the United States. To the chagrin of some, we did not seize it at the time, in large part because the American people have never been comfortable with themselves as a New Rome.
Now, more than a decade later, the events of Sept. 11 have given those advocates of empire a new opportunity to press their case with a new president. So in debating whether to invade Iraq, we are really debating the role that the United States will play in the years and decades to come.
Are peace and security best achieved by seeking strong alliances and international consensus, led by the United States? Or is it necessary to take a more unilateral approach, accepting and enhancing the global dominance that, according to some, history has thrust upon us?
If we do decide to seize empire, we should make that decision knowingly, as a democracy. The price of maintaining an empire is always high. Kagan and others argue that the price of rejecting it would be higher still.
That's what this is about. --The Anlanta Journal-Constitution, Sept. 29, 2002
Need To Know
Bush Blueprint For World Domination? "Rebuilding America's Defenses" (PNAC, 2000)
1992 Contribution To The Above By Wolfowitz (now Deputy Sec. of Defense) And Libby (now Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff to the Vice President and Assistant to the Vice President for National Security), Sept. 10,2002
Analysis The Politics Behind The PNAC Study (Starts at paragraph 37.), Sept. 11,2002
Source Project for the New American Century. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, and Lewis Libby Among 25 Initiating Members. June, 1997
In his speech Monday night, President Bush warned Iraqi generals that if they used chemical or biological weapons against U.S. troops, they would be tried as international war criminals, much as former Yugoslavian leader Slobodan Milosevic is now being tried by an international court for attempted genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo.
The president's warning was appropriate and necessary, made all the more powerful by its citation of international law. Yet the very next day, the president dispatched a top State Department envoy to Europe to demand that all Americans be given total immunity from prosecution on war-crime charges by international criminal courts.
One law for everybody else; no law for Americans. It is an act of empire.
To most Americans, the notion that their nation might be seeking empire is insulting, perhaps even ridiculous. I understand and share that feeling, as does Donald Kagan of Yale University. When I wrote a recent article charging that Kagan and his neoconservative colleagues are advocating what amounts to a new American empire, he responded with a piece of his own denying the allegation.
"I think it would be a very bad idea and entirely inconsistent with the kind of nation the United States is and should continue to be," Kagan wrote.
"All comparisons between America's current place in the world and anything legitimately called an empire in the past reveal ignorance and confusion about any reasonable meaning of the concept empire, especially the comparison with the Roman Empire, which Bookman makes."
Kagan, however, is arguing with himself. This is the same Donald Kagan who, in an interview with George Will, said, "I think you have to go all the way back, nearly 2,000 years, to the Roman Empire, to find a single power so pre-eminent compared to all others."
And it was Kagan and his colleagues, not I, who adopted and embraced the term "Pax Americana," with its deliberate and provocative echo of "Pax Romana," the Roman peace.
Furthermore, Kagan's most recent book, "While America Sleeps," is a 435-page, explicit, detailed comparison between the position of the British Empire in the 1920s with the position of the United States today.
Clearly, though, blatant talk of empire won't wash in this country. So those who wish to advocate empire would need some less obvious term for what they hope to accomplish. The Orwellian term of art embraced by many neoconservatives is "benevolent global hegemony."
The term first appears in a 1996 article in Foreign Affairs magazine. The piece, co-written by Bill Kristol and Kagan's son, Robert, warned that "conservatives will not be able to govern America over the long term if they fail to offer a more elevated vision of America's international role. What should that role be? Benevolent global hegemony."
"The aspiration to benevolent hegemony might strike some as either hubristic or morally suspect," they acknowledge. "But a hegemon is nothing more or less than a leader with preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain."
Hmmm. "Preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain," with that domain being the entire world.
But not empire.
Kagan, Kristol and others have continued to press that point. The term is also used in "Present Dangers," a book published in 2000, edited by Kristol and Robert Kagan to which Donald Kagan contributed. In that book, they advocate military intervention, "even when we cannot prove that a narrowly construed 'vital interest' . . . is at stake," and argue that with its dominance, the United States can "set about making trouble for hostile and potentially hostile nations."
Other contributors included Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, now chief architects of our policy toward Iraq.
Within foreign policy circles, such talk was soon recognized for what it is. Walter McDougall, a conservative foreign policy analyst and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote a withering critique of the concept in 1997.
"Benevolent hegemony' is a contradiction in terms," McDougall warned. "Such a self-conscious, self-righteous bid for global hegemony is bound to drive foreign rivals into open hostility to the U.S. and make our allies resentful and nervous."
"If you go abroad in search of monsters, you will inevitably find them even if you have to create them," McDougall wrote. "You will then fight them, whether or not you need to, and you will either come home defeated, or else so bloodied that the American people will lose their tolerance for engagement altogether, or else so victorious and full of yourself that the rest of the world will hate you and fear that you'll name them the next monster."
Five years later, McDougall's warning seems about to come true.
Jay Bookman's column appears Thursdays.
BUSH'S FOREIGN POLICY MANIFESTO:
KILL 'EM ALL, LET GOD SORT 'EM OUT
According to Bush in his GOP War Party foreign policy menifesto, released Friday (text, excerpts) just in time for the Saturday morning news blackout, as a country we should shoot first and ask questions later. Morality? We don' need no steenkin' morality ! Just gotta soften morality up a bit to fit today's exigencies, right? This from the guy who promised that, if elected, he'd bring ethics and morality back to Washington. Right. All that it takes for Bush, actually, is to redefine words. Bigger words than "is."
1. Imminent threats. "'Imminent' no longer means knowing when the enemy will strike, or even what the enemy will do. "Imminent" now means that the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by our enemies must be stopped, by unilateral American military action if necessary, because these weapons inherently pose an imminent threat. The manifesto stipulates, "The purpose of our actions will always be to eliminate a specific threat to the United States or our allies and friends. The reasons for our actions will be clear, the force measured, and the cause just." But this is linguistic trickery. Instead of specifying the threats against which you'll attack pre-emptively, you assert vaguely that those threats will be specific. Instead of giving clear reasons, you assert that your reasons will be clear. Instead of quantifying the force you'll use, you say your force will be properly measured. You leave the rules vague so that in practice, by filling in the blanks later, you get to make up the rules as you go along," writes William Saleton.
2. Self-defense. "The manifesto says the United States will focus on "defending the United States, the American people, and our interests at home and abroad by identifying and destroying the threat before it reaches our borders." To justify unilateral action against such threats, the document frames this policy as part of "our right of self-defense." But this stretches the meaning of both "self" and "defense." Don't American interests abroad, under Bush's definition, include Israel's security? If our borders don't define the self we're committed to defend, and if the violation of those borders doesn't define the difference between offensive and defensive action on our part, what does?" asks Saleton
3. Interests and Values. "According to the manifesto, "The U.S. national security strategy will be based on a distinctly American internationalism that reflects the union of our values and our national interests." But the only thing distinctly American about this proposition is its pretense that our interests and values are identical. Nations choose their interests over their values all the time. They go easy on dictators to protect profitable commerce. They prop up friendly but repressive governments.The United States under Bush isn't much different. Our new moral compromise is that we're putting stability and order before reform. The manifesto gives familiar lip service to the importance of Russian and Chinese reform, but the whole point of the new doctrine is that reform is no longer primary. Fighting terrorism is," he writes.
4. Multilateralism. "The manifesto makes a show of embracing the United Nations and other international institutions. It pledges, "America will implement its strategies by organizing coalitions—as broad as practicable—of states able and willing to promote a balance of power that favors freedom." But what does this mean? If you aren't willing to engage in military action that in the view of the U.S. "favors freedom," your inclusion in the coalition isn't "practicable." This is unilateralism dressed up as multilateralism. We're happy to work with you, as long as you'll do it our way," Saletan notes.
The point to be made about Bush's view of the world is that he can promise a morality that he doesn't plan to deliver, lie about his amoral approach to foreign policy, have his lies reported as truth by most of the media, gain the support of around 60% of the American people on the basis of distorting propaganda, and use his version of the law and police squads to keep the remaining 40% in line, preferably, in compounds, far from the action and away from the eyes of the media, while he loads his audiences with GOP War Party followers, seen on the evening news as participants in our open and free democracy.
Saletan concludes, "The new world is the one rationalized by Bush's manifesto: a world in which great powers wink at each other's misconduct, every threat is imminent, self-defense means pre-emptive action abroad, interests are dressed up as values, and cooperation means cooperating with the United States. We don't know what history will judge harshly about this era, but there's a good chance it'll be the compromises we embraced to rectify the mistakes of Sept. 11." Politex, Sept. 22, 2002