"Rebuilding America's Defenses" report
President Bush's National Security Strategy
"Rebuilding America's Defenses," a 2000 report by the Project for the New
American Century, listed 27 people as having attended meetings or contributed papers in
preparation of the report. Among them are six who have since assumed key defense and
foreign policy positions in the Bush administration. And the report seems to have become a
blueprint for Bush's foreign and defense policy.
Political science doctorate from University of Chicago and dean of the international
relations program at Johns Hopkins University during the 1990s. Served in the Reagan State
Department, moved to the Pentagon during the first Bush administration as undersecretary
of defense for policy. Sworn in as deputy defense secretary in March 2001.
Yale Law grad who worked in the Reagan administration as an assistant attorney general.
Switched to the State Department in the first Bush administration as assistant secretary
for international organization affairs. Sworn in as undersecretary of state for arms
control and international security, May 2001.
Harvard doctorate in government who taught at Harvard and at the Naval War College. Now
directs strategic studies at Johns Hopkins and is the author of several books on military
strategy. Was on the Defense Department's policy planning staff in the first Bush
administration and is now on Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board.
I. Lewis Libby
Law degree from Columbia (Yale undergrad). Held advisory positions in the Reagan State
Department. Was a partner in a Washington law firm in the late '80s before becoming deputy
undersecretary of defense for policy in the first Bush administration (under Dick Cheney).
Now is the vice president's chief of staff.
Doctorate in economics and politics from Oxford University. Worked on policy issues in the
Reagan Defense Department and went into private defense consulting during the 1990s. Was
foreign policy adviser to the 2000 Bush campaign. Sworn in as undersecretary of defense
(comptroller) and chief financial officer for the Pentagon, May 2001.
Political science doctorate from Claremont Graduate School. Was in charge of strategic
defense policy at the Defense Department in the first Bush administration. Now heads the
Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation at the Defense Department.
of The Atlanta
The president's real goal in Iraq
Posted September 29, 2002 thepeoplesvoice.org
By JAY BOOKMAN
The official story on Iraq has never made sense. The
connection that the Bush administration has tried to draw between Iraq and al-Qaida has
always seemed contrived and artificial. In fact, it was hard to believe that smart people
in the Bush administration would start a major war based on such flimsy evidence.
The pieces just didn't fit. Something else had to be going
on; something was missing.
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
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
"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.
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
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
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
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.
Copyright © 2002, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution