Tuesday, October 15, 2002


A few weeks ago The Onion, published a satire titled, Bush Seeks UN Support for US Does Whatever it Wants Plan. According to The Onion, during his speech to the General Assembly, Bush insisted the UN give the United States carte blanche for the United States to remove any leader it did not like, to pillage any resources it wanted and to make whatever demands it deemed expedient.

Bush assured his audience that as soon as the UN granted the carte blanche, the United States would simultaneously invade Iraq, Cuba and North Korea. What’s more, in view of the fact that America was the Beacon of Liberty for the whole world, it would also prohibit protests against the United States by anyone, individuals or states alike.

The joke within the joke is this supposedly mythical plan is in fact the real and actual policy of Bush Administration -- or, more precisely, of the cabal formed around the Cheney - Rumsfeld axis.

In September 2000, the New American Century, a neo-con think tank, headed by Billy Kristol, published a report entitled “Rebuilding American Defenses” Although the study did not anticipate the events of 9/11, it otherwise served as a blue-print for the policies of the Bush Administration.

It goes without saying that the report is written in that detached and impersonal tone so characteristic of affectedly “objectified” bureaucratic and academic jargon. The clipped speech of what Conrad Heiden called the “technological brute.”

At the same time, the report is structured so to give an impression of rigorously deduced conclusions flowing from obvious premises, indisputable facts and penetrating, no-illusions, in-depth, analysis -- all of which puts the study beyond the ken of mere ordinary people and distinguishes this serious business from drooling stupidities of The Onion.

In fact, the PNAC paper said nothing different from what was “reported” in The Onion although it took many more pages to make the point. A brief recapitulation of the report’s more salient point will serve to illustrate how plain thuggery has been brewed into policy.

The report’s preamble announces that at the end of the Twentieth Century, the United States emerged as the preeminent power in the world which, thus, makes it requisite that the its armed forces be maintained in a strengthened state of readiness in order to promote American “principles and interests.”

The notion that principles might at times conflict with interests is simply banished with a conjunction. Principle and Interest are one and the same.

Under the heading “Key Findings,” the paper goes on to assert that “This report proceeds from the belief that America should seek to preserve and extend its position of global leadership by maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military forces. ... The challenge for the coming century is to preserve and enhance this ‘American Peace’.”

Unfortunately Americans are so punch-drunk after half a century of having their brains beaten by meaningless ads and slogans, they are too mentally calloused to so much as feel the hidden punches in these sentences. Like inanimate objects being hit, they can only stagger stupidly.

Both in science and in law, a “finding” is a demonstrated or ascertained fact. But in Billy Kristol’s ThugSpeak, the “finding” is simply the “belief” which is fobbed off as an ascertained fact.

After thus objectifying mere beliefs, the “findings” follow up with a left/right jab that buries the real facts at issue with quintessential double-talk. How is peace “preserved and enhanced”? Peace can be maintained, but otherwise peace is simply peace. Peace cannot be “enhanced” unless what is meant is “gilded” -- which invariable entails someone else paying for the gilding. Similarly, how is leadership “preserved and extended”? Leadership is simply a position held in relation to others. It cannot be “extended” unless what is really meant is extending authority or dominance over more people in more respects. These open ended conjunctives necessarily imply something more than just having peace or just leadership but they hide the undisclosed consequences under the conceptual skirt of simply “preserving” good things.

The way double-speak works is that the idea already stated (once) has to be repeated (twice) as a “conclusion” -- even though there is no real logical argument because the factual findings and premises were simply disguised conclusion. Thus, the “Findings” section concludes with:
“Fulfilling these requirements is essential if America is to retain its militarily dominant status for the coming decades“ and “Today its task is to secure and expand the “zones of democratic peace.”
Technically this might be called a form of argumentative pleonasm. But in all events, what the PNAC’s “Key Findings” come down to is simply an assertion that the United States is the biggest dog on the block and should continue to snap, snarl and bark in order to keep lesser mutts in line, while keeping the big bones for itself.

To this end, the report then postulates four key “missions”. Of course, the mission has already been stated in the “Findings” so that what the missions really denote is nothing more than variable degrees of force to be used, as needed, in order to maintain U.S. hegemony. These variables include the use of tactical and nuclear missiles, conventional continental wars, and -- most significantly -- something called constabulary missions. As shall be seen, these “missions” are really strategies for waging war for global dominance.

Defense of the Homeland Requires War Overseas!!

Mission One: According to the report, the first “mission” is to “defend the American homeland” Hardly anyone could complain about that! But what the PNAC authors really mean is to defend the U.S. “by counteract[ing] the effects of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction that may soon allow lesser states to deter U.S. military action”

What must be noted is that the report does not state simply and directly that U.S. security requires continued diplomatic efforts to extend the Nuclear Arms Proliferating Treaty and other arms reduction agreements. What the report means is that the states has to take preemptive military action against any state that may be able to “deter” U.S. military action. The report does not require that the state in question present a “threat” to anyone. The goal is incapacitate any state from being able to “deter” what the United States wants to do.

Defense of the Homeland Requires Multiple Big Time Wars Overseas!!

Mission Two: The second mission is to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars.”

This being double-speak, Mission Two is Mission One with one small difference, viz:

Defense of the Homeland Requires Space War and War in Head Space

Mission Three. The third mission is seemingly straightforward and consist of keeping abreast of and using “advanced technologies in[ ] military systems” But a further reading of the Report reveals that this means more than getting the latest beeping device for torpedoes; rather it includes extending “military capacities” into outer space and using “inner space;” (i.e. the internet) for military purposes.

Defense of the Homeland Requires Long Term Occupation Abroad.

Mission Four. The fourth mission is to “perform the constabulary duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions.” At this point the PNAC is forced to engage in what might be called explanatory double talk. The report warns that “constabulary missions” should not be confused with mere “peacekeeping.” Rather “constabulary actions” are a species of offensive warfare designed to impose and maintain order in various regions of the world. The imposition of peace includes such “routine” measures as maintaining no-fly zones, “other missions” and “long term constabulary operations” over and in “Southwest Asia” and “vital regions of East Asia”

The report goes on to assert that the use of “constabulary forces” should be taken out from under UN auspices since the restraints of pretending impartiality in not conducive to their actual role.

Having thus explained what its New World Vision, the Report reverted to now Triple Speak “concluding” that “rogue states” like Iraq, Iran and North Korea represented a threat to the United States inasmuch as they desired to develop “deterrent capabilities”. The capacity of any one of these states to cobble together a primitive ballistic missile would “complicate” the “projection” of American power. According to the report, “U.S. power-projection” could find itself compromised if “the American Homeland or the territory of some ally were subject to an attack by any one of these “malignant regimes.”

Some ally? At least in the foreseeable PNAC future, the U.S. is not going to be conduct “no fly zone” and “constabulary operations” on China’s doorstep. So that, the most immediate incarnation of the four missions boils down invading and occupying the Middle East in order to protect the United States and “some ally.”

The thesis of the report is as simple as it is brutal. The summum bonum is simply the projection of American power. Virtually all elements of Bush’s foreign policy are found in the report including the doctrine of “unilateralism,” the renunciation of “no-first-use” of nuclear weapons, the existence of a supposed axis of evil, the obsession with Iraq extending to such far-fetched allegations (as made in Cincinnati) that Iraq was a threat because it could “point” missiles against the American Homeland.

Nor should it be thought that the parallelism between the PNAC report and Bush policy is simply a coincidence. The report is the labor and reflects the resurgence of the Reaganite extreme right, today led by Cheney and Rumsfeld. In brief,

Donald Rumsfeld has been a hawk’s hawk since the 1970’s when, serving in the Ford Administration, he dedicated himself to undermining Kissinger’s efforts to conclude a Salt II treaty with the Soviets. Rumsfeld also served as mentor to the then young Cheney. The Cheney-Rumsfeld axis has a long history.

Cheney was Secretary of Defense during the Bush-I Administration. According to Colin Powell’s Memoirs, Cheney and his then under-secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, (Rumsfeld’s present day under secretary) stacked the Pentagon’s political-strategy office with former Reagan Administration hawks. Cheney was advocating a hard line against the Soviet Union with the aim of fragmenting it, even at the risk of provoking extremely violent consequences.

At that time, Cheney also asked General Powell to draw up a study analyzing the possible use of nuclear arms during the Gulf War. In 1990, Cheney ordered yet another study to review the geo-political mission of the United States following the end of the Cold War. The report, finished 1992, asserted that America’s “mission” was to insure its own global domination. Regardless of cost, no rival power whatsoever could be tolerated, whether it was Germany, Japan, Russia or China.

According to the Moscow Times, the 1992 study was simply a draft for the PNAC report of September 2000. With reason. The “Project for a New American Century” -- billed as an “educational organization” -- was in fact bankrolled by Rockwell Automation, a Defense Department contractor. The PNAC was headed by William Kristol, editor of the Reaganite Weekly Standard, and staffed with (among others), Paul Wolfowitz and John R. Bolton, a leading unilateralist (“There is no such thing as a United Nations”) currently appointed by Cheney as as under-secretary for international affairs and armaments control.

After the election (such as it was) of Bush II, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld have worked to assure that new civilian committees in the Pentagon remain staffed with hawks, among them Douglas Feith, who during the Reagan Era was a protegĂ© of Chief Hawk, Richard Perle who today heads the Defense Policy Board, an outside Pentagon advisory committee. During the 1990’s Firth fought against ratification of the Convention on Chemical Armaments. In 1996, Firth y Perle co-authored a paper for Benjamin Netanyahu, then the Likudist prime minister of Israel. The paper urged the scuttling of the Oslo Accords and the reaffirmation of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza. At the same Feith was agitating in the press for a reoccupation by Israel of Palestinian territory regardless of the foreseeable “high price in blood”.

Without further tracing all the individual connections and institutional relationships between various think tanks and government agencies, it can be said summarily that report and Bush-II geo-politics are the work of a well organized and tenacious ultra-right cabal.

The events of 9/11 did not derail anything. On the contrary, the provided the occasion for testing the new “constabulary” measures in Afghanistan. During his 2002 State of the Union Address, three months after the attack on the Twin Towers, Bush seemingly out of the blue pronounced his now famous condemnation against the Axis of Evil. People wondered where this slogan had come from. In fact Bush was only returning to his blue-print.

What is astonishing is not so much that an empire relies on force but rather that the project for a “New American Century” pronounces no vision and no good beyond mere imperiousness. The cabal behind the Report apparently sees no difference between Augustus and Attila.

But if we today remember the Pax Romana it is only because in the ultimate analysis it reflected an international consensus and diffused prosperity and cultural interchange among the peoples of the Mediterranean world. Bush’s Pax Americana postulates nothing more than the Big Stick and Big Plunder. The Report says as much with evident self-satisfaction and pride.

Apart from pathological causes, power for its own sake is pointless, leaving us to look for some motive, whatever it might be, as raison d’etre behind this belligerent peace.

The ties between Cheney and the petro-chemical industry interests indicate oil as a motive. On another side, the affiliations between Wolfowitz or Perle and Israel implicate a zionist motive. Lastly, Rumsfeld long time association with the military-industrial complex point to Eisenhower’s famous complex. Does it have to be one or the other? I think not. It seems to me an error to look for too much logic in politics. To be sure, political projects can be developed with ideological coherence and an encompassing vision. But they do not have to be. It is entirely possible that the three interests mentioned have conspired or simply flowed together to bring forth the policy ad hoc like thieves meeting on the road. This is entirely feasible given that the “principle” behind the policy is simply pillage in one form or another.

The politics of the Rumsfeld-Cheney Axis is not without opposition from the traditional foreign policy establishment as symbolised by Robert McNamara (Defense Secretary under presidents Kennedy and Johnson) and James Baker III (Secretary of State under Bush I) McNamara has vigorously criticised the abandonment of the ABM Treaty and renunciation of no first use. Baker all but called Bush II and imbecile and has publicly opposed the Bush’s doctrine of unilateralism, any invasion of Iraq.

This opposition is not grounded in any transcendental idealism but in the simple and practical realization that the United States cannot operate contra mundum and if not it will have to take into account what the world thinks and wants, so it is best to do what is inevitable with ostensible grace.

Given the domestic and international opposition it is surprising that the Rumsfeld-Cheney project has gained so much momentum. It remains to be seen whether the opposition has the will and the strength to stop it.

©WCG, 2002

No comments: