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Posted by andreas from ( on Wednesday, September 11, 2002 at 2:23AM :

In Reply to: US wants to "Reshape Entire Mideast &quo posted by Lilly from ? ( on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 at 11:56AM :

Assyrian News Watch
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Assyrian Chaldean Syriac

[ng]-ge-na-da a-ba in-da-di nam-ti --tu
Whoever has walked with truth generates life
Sumerian Proverb

'When a man lies, he murders some part of the world'
Myrddin, Celtic Sage

Source: Asia Times
Date: Sept 10, 2002

US and the triumph of unilateralism

By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - When excerpts of the document first appeared in the New York Times in the spring of 1992, it created quite a stir. One senator described it as a prescription for "literally a Pax Americana". Indeed, the draft Defense Policy Guidance (DPG), which set forth the underlying assumptions for US grand strategy into the next century, was pretty astonishing.

Written by two relatively obscure political appointees in the Pentagon's policy office after the Gulf War, it boldly called for permanent US military pre-eminence over virtually all of Eurasia - to be achieved by "deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role" and by pre-empting states believed to be developing weapons of mass destruction.

It foretold a world in which US military intervention would come to be seen "as a constant fixture" of the geo-political landscape and Washington would act as the ultimate guarantor of the international order. Indeed, the draft failed to even mention the United Nations.

"While the US cannot become the world's 'policeman' by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the pre-eminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations," the draft said.

The paper was essentially a vision of a world dominated by the unilateral use of US military power to ensure international stability, promote the US national interest, and prevent the rise of any possible challenger for the foreseeable future.

The leak, apparently arranged by someone in the military brass worried about the costs of enforcing such an imperial vision, sparked major controversy. At the insistence of then-National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and Secretary of State James Baker, the final DPG was toned down to the point of unrecognizability.

But the draft's strategy clearly retained a central place in the hearts and minds of its two authors and their boss, then-Pentagon chief Dick Cheney, until new circumstances might offer a more auspicious moment. That moment came on the morning of September 11 last year.

At that moment, Cheney had already become the most powerful vice president in US history, while the draft's two authors, Paul Wolfowitz and I Lewis Libby, had risen to the posts of deputy defense secretary and Cheney's chief of staff, respectively.

In the year since then, these three men, along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded officials elsewhere in the administration, have engineered what former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke recently described as a "radical break with 55 years of bipartisan tradition" in US foreign policy making.

That tradition, as described in an article by Georgetown University professor G John Ikenberry in the current edition of Foreign Affairs, consisted of a mixture of two grand strategies pursued after World War II: a realist policy organized around containment, deterrence and maintaining a global balance of power; and a more liberal, internationalist policy based on constructing a set of multilateral institutions and alliances to promote free trade, open economies and democratic values.

While various past US administrations have emphasized one strategy over the other, none since World War II has abandoned both at the same time. "For the first time since the dawn of the Cold War, a new grand strategy is taking shape in Washington," says Ikenberry, who warns that viewing the administration's policy after September 11 as directed against terrorism is to miss its much broader purpose and thrust.

"According to this new paradigm, America is to be less bound to its partners and to global rules and institutions while it steps forward to play a more unilateral and anticipatory role in attacking terrorist threats and confronting rogue states seeking WMD [weapons of mass destruction]," Ikenberry writes in the article titled "America's Imperial Ambition". "The United States," he adds, "will use its unrivalled military power to manage the global order."

In that respect, the war on terrorism must be seen as a facade for a much more ambitious strategy of projecting US military power around the world, especially Eurasia, and cutting loose the multilateral bonds that have constrained Washington's freedom of action and power.

The attacks of September 11 (and the quick military success in Afghanistan that followed) ended a stalemate within the administration between more traditional foreign-policy practitioners, led by Secretary of State Colin Powell, and those who embraced the new paradigm, like Rumsfeld and Cheney. The latter also gave the new strategy a momentum it could never have achieved with its previous marginal political support.

Behind this strategy, of course, lie the 1992 draft DPG and a coalition of three major political forces. These include: right-wing power players, some of whom, like Rumsfeld and Cheney, played key roles in the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations; mainly Jewish neo-conservatives closely tied to the Likud Party in Israel; and leaders of the Christian and Catholic right.

The events of September 11 effectively empowered this coalition within the administration at the expense of the more traditional forces led by Powell, who, significantly, has received strong support from veterans of the first Bush administration, most prominently Scowcroft and Baker.

Aside from a strong belief in US military power and a worldview that assumes that the United States is fundamentally good, the three components of this coalition share several key perspectives that have guided Bush's policy decisions over the past year. These include strong backing for Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and efforts to sabotage several international mechanisms, including the International Criminal Court and arms-control accords.

They also share a contempt for multilateralism, which necessarily denies the "exceptional" nature of the United States, a similar disdain and distrust for Europeans, and a conviction that radical Islam poses a major threat to the United States and the West and that Israel must be considered a strategic ally of Washington in the Middle East.

The same coalition also considers China a long-term strategic threat that should be confronted sooner rather than later, although this view has been muted over the past year due to the need to retain Beijing's support, or at least acquiescence, for the administration's more immediate goals in the Middle East, the Gulf and Southwest Asia, including basing US troops in Central Asia and elsewhere around China's periphery.

All of these positions have been addressed in letters and statements issued by the coalition's most concrete institutional form outside the administration, a group called the Project for a New American Century. It was founded five years ago by two dozen prominent right-wingers, many of whom, including Cheney, Rumsfeld and the authors of the 1992 draft DPG, Wolfowitz, and Libby, now occupy top positions in the administration.

: You guys realize how lucrative a war against Iraq would be, esp. if it spreads to the entire Mid East for the weapons industries? More sales for them. & you know the oil industry wouldn't care - they'd keep on pumping oil while all that fighting is going on. The US gov't could give a rat's ass about democratic change in the Mid East. & those jackasses in the defense industry are the kinds of people who'd sell their grandmothers for a profit if they could.

: --------------------------
: September 10, 2002
: Boston Globe

: Iraq War Hawks Have Plans to Reshape Entire Mideast
: by John Donnelly and Anthony Shadid
: WASHINGTON - As the Bush administration debates going to war against Iraq, its most hawkish members are pushing a sweeping vision for the Middle East that sees the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq as merely a first step in the region's transformation.

: The argument for reshaping the political landscape in the Mideast has been pushed for years by some Washington think tanks and in hawkish circles. It is now being considered as a possible US policy with the ascent of key hard-liners in the administration - from Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith in the Pentagon to John Hannah and Lewis Libby on the vice president's staff and John Bolton in the State Department, analysts and officials say.

: The argument we would be starting a democratic wave in Iraq is pure blowing smoke.

: Jessica Mathews, president of Carnegie Endownment for International Peace
: Iraq, the hawks argue, is just the first piece of the puzzle. After an ouster of Hussein, they say, the United States will have more leverage to act against Syria and Iran, will be in a better position to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and will be able to rely less on Saudi oil.

: The thinking does not represent official US policy. But increasingly the argument has served as a justification for a military attack against Iraq, and elements of the strategy have emerged in speeches by administration officials, most prominently Vice President Dick Cheney.

: ''The goal is not just a new regime in Iraq. The goal is a new Middle East,'' said Raad Alkadiri, an Iraq analyst with PFC, a Washington-based energy consulting organization. ''The goal has been and remains one of the main driving factors of preemptive action against Iraq.''

: Cheney revealed some of the thinking in a speech in August when he made the administration's case for a regime change. He argued Hussein's overthrow would ''bring about a number of benefits to the region'' and enhance US ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

: ''When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace,'' he told the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

: The arguments are, by no means, uniform, and critics dismiss some as wishful thinking. Even among neoconservatives who see an attack on Iraq as a first step toward transforming the Mideast, there are debates over how far-reaching and fast the change will be.

: The more modest version sees an attack as sending a message to the rest of the region, making clear the US is prepared to unilaterally deploy its military power to achieve its goals, objectives, and values.

: Among its most extreme versions was a view elaborated in a briefing in July by a Rand Corp. researcher to the Defense Policy Board - an advisory group to the Pentagon led by Richard Perle, a leading hawk.

: That briefing urged the United States to deliver an ultimatum to the Saudi government to cut its ties to militant Islam or risk seizure of its oil fields and overseas assets. It called Iraq ''the tactical pivot'' and Saudi Arabia ''the strategic pivot.''

: Within those poles some clear themes are emerging, and Saudi Arabia receives much of the attention, analysts and officials say.

: Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, contends that a pro-US Iraq would lead to a reassessment of the US-Saudi alliance, which dates to World War II but has become strained since Sept. 11 attacks, and the worsening of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

: A friendly Iraq - home to the world's second-largest oil reserves - would provide an alternative to Saudi Arabia for basing US troops. Its oil reserves would make Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, less important in setting prices, he said. In general, others contend, a US-allied Iraq could work to diminish the influence of OPEC, long dominated by Saudi Arabia, over oil supplies and prices.

: ''We would be much more in a position of strength vis-a-vis the Saudis,'' Clawson said.

: Others espousing the vision see potential changes in Syria and Iran, as well. The fallout from an attack on Iraq could bring to a head the longstanding power struggle in Iran between conservatives in the clerical leadership and reformers grouped around President Mohammad Khatami.

: Some see the reformers invigorated by the example of a democratic Iraq, or even a surge in popular discontent leading to far-reaching change. At the very least, they argue, the show of US power would give the administration more leverage in pressuring Iran over its suspected missile and nuclear programs.

: The United States could exert that same leverage in forcing an end to Syrian support for Lebanon's Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim guerrilla group allied with Iran that opposes Israel.

: A powerful corollary of the strategy is that a pro-US Iraq would make the region safer for Israel and, indeed, its staunchest proponents are ardent supporters of the Israeli right-wing. Administration officials, meanwhile, have increasingly argued that the onset of an Iraq allied to the US would give the administration more sway in bringing about a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though Cheney and others have offered few details on precisely how.

: ''Maybe we do stir the pot and see what comes up,'' one US official said.

: In its broadest terms, the advocates argue that a democratic Iraq would unleash similar change elsewhere in the Arab world - an argument resonant among Bush administration officials who have increasingly called for change in a region where Western-style democracy is virtually nonexistent.

: ''Everyone will flip out, starting with the Saudis,'' said Meyrav Wurmser, director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Hudson Institute in Washington. ''It will send shock waves throughout the Arab world.

: ''Look, we already are pushing for democracy in the Palestinian Authority - though not with a huge amount of success - and we need a little bit more of a heavy-handed approach,'' she said. ''But if we can get a democracy in the Palestinian Authority, democracy in Iraq, get the Egyptians to improve their human rights and open up their system, it will be a spectacular change. After a war with Iraq, then you really shape the region.''

: Critics call the arguments misguided at best, with tragic worst-case scenarios.

: ''There are some people who religiously believe that Iraq is the beginning of this great new adventure of remapping the Middle East and all these countries. I think that's a simplistic view,'' said Judith Yaphe, an Iraq scholar and senior research professor at the National Defense University.

: Jessica T. Mathews, president of Carnegie Endownment for International Peace, a Washington policy group, said that installing a democracy in Iraq, much less the rest of the Middle East, would be extraordinarily difficult, if not out of the question. She contended that change in Iraq is more akin to building a wall brick by brick and will require the support of allies.

: ''The argument we would be starting a democratic wave in Iraq is pure blowing smoke,'' Mathews said. ''You have 22 Arab governments and not one has made any progress toward democracy, not one. It's one of the great issues before us, but the very last place you'd suspect to turn the tide is Iraq. You don't go from an'' authoritarian '' dictatorship to a democracy overnight, not even quickly.''

: Nevertheless, there are signs the thinking has powerful backers.

: While many of the hawks are under the wing of Wolfowitz, several conservatives hold influential positions in Cheney's office and in the State Department, which is headed by the administration's most prominent moderate, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. During the Clinton administration, many of them served with far-right, defense-oriented think tanks such as the Center for Security Policy and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

: Perle, an adviser to both groups, remains a resident fellow at the hawkish American Enterprise Institute and a member of the board at the Hudson Institute.

: ''There are people invested in this philosophy all throughout the administration. Some of the strongest voices are in State,'' said one senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

: The most vocal hawk at the State Department is Bolton, who holds two titles - undersecretary for arms control and international proliferation and senior adviser to the president for arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament.

: Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company


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