Bush's Foreign Policy Blueprint
A Grand Global Plan
Jim Lobe writes for Inter Press Service, an international newswire, and for Foreign Policy in Focus, a joint project of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies and the New Mexico-based Interhemispheric Resource Center.
As a presidential candidate, George W. Bush stressed the need for America to act like a "humble nation" in foreign policy. He promised, if elected, he would substitute narrow "national interests" in place of his predecessor's globalist aspirations.
At worst, analysts said, Bush would take his foreign-policy cues from his father, a cautious and ‘prudent’ practitioner of balance-of-power diplomacy. The elder Bush was certainly not given to the sudden commitments of U.S. military power in fractious and well-armed locales that we have seen since September -- from Djibouti to Georgia and from Mazar-i-Sharif to Mindanao, Philippines.
But as president, the younger Bush has led the nation in a manner not likely to be described as humble. Since Sept. 11, the Bush administration has aggressively deployed U.S. troops around the globe, promised military aid to dozens of countries, and has unilaterally undermined the global arms-control regime -- all in the name of a "war on terrorism."
In just a few months, Washington has pledged or provided new military aid -- from training, equipment or, most significantly, advisers -- to some two dozen countries, among them Armenia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen, not to mention Afghanistan, where the United States intends to build a national army.
Over the same period, Bush walked away from global negotiations on biological weapons control, withdrew the United States from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, widely considered a cornerstone of international arms-control, and proposed increasing the defense budget in 2003 by $48 billion. The increase alone is greater than the amount any of Washington's NATO allies devotes to its military in an entire year.
Shocking? You bet. Surprising? Not really.
More recently, a leaked government document revealed the administration intends to lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons. The Defense Department is planning to develop smaller, more "precise" nuclear bombs, and may consider using them preemptively against countries suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction.
Shocking? You bet. Surprising? Not really.
The Bush administration's actions fit neatly into a plan for United States hegemony first mapped out in a draft Pentagon paper 10 years ago. The secret document, known as the "Defense Policy Guidance," was written by two relatively obscure civilian Pentagon officials in the aftermath of the Gulf War.
The main authors were Paul Wolfowitz, now the deputy secretary of defense and widely considered among the most hawkish of administration officials, and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a lawyer who now serves as Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and national security adviser. During the first Bush administration, both men were working for Cheney, who was defense secretary.
In 1992, The New York Times was the first to obtain the draft Pentagon paper and break the story. It published excerpts of the document, setting off a storm of controversy in Washington. Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden, now chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called it a prescription for "a Pax Americana," or a world order enforced by U.S. power.
The uproar subsided only after National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and then-Secretary of State James Baker prevailed on Cheney to tone down the final draft, which he did. Though the document may have been revised, administration initiatives today seem strikingly similar to the original.
According to the original draft, preventing the emergence of a rival superpower "is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power."
In addition to Western Europe, these regions include "...East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union and Southwest Asia," the same three regions where the new Bush administration has been most promiscuous in deploying military forces since 9/11.
Indeed, under the new world order envisaged by Wolfowitz and Libby a decade ago, American military intervention around the world would come to be seen "as a constant feature," according to the draft.
If coalitions could not be made, the United States would be prepared to act alone.
"While the U.S. cannot become the world's 'policeman' by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the preeminent 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 1992 document said.
"Like the coalition that opposed Iraqi aggression, we should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted, and in many cases carrying only general agreement over the objectives to be accomplished," the draft said. "Nevertheless, the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S. will be an important stabilizing factor."
The United Nations, which authorized the Gulf campaign, was not mentioned in the document, according to The New York Times. If coalitions could not be made, the United States would be prepared to act alone, the draft said.
The document even anticipated the latest nuclear moves by the Pentagon, as well as Bush's warning to the "axis of evil" that he would resort to pre-emptive strikes against countries suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction.
"The U.S. may be faced with the question of whether to take military steps to prevent the development or use of weapons of mass destruction," the document said. It noted that pre-emptive attacks, including attacks on nuclear plants, might be required, even in conflicts that did not directly engage U.S. interests.
Even historic U.S. allies should not be permitted to gain sufficient power to challenge the United States. "We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role," the draft said.
The plans called for a new order that would satisfy the interests of the advanced industrial nations sufficiently to discourage them from challenging American leadership.
Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd openly criticized the plan at the time. "We love being the sole remaining superpower in the world and we want so much to remain that way that we are willing to put at risk the basic health of our economy and well-being of our people to do so," he said.
Though the strategies in the document outraged many in 1992, the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon seem to have provided the pretext for Wolfowitz, Libby, and like-minded officials to use a war against terror to reintroduce their 10-year-old ambitions.
"Team Bush doesn't talk much about its grand global plan, but that doesn't mean there isn't one, stated or unstated," wrote Ben J. Wattenberg in a little-noticed Washington Times column last fall.
Wattenberg, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the neo-conservative think tank whose policy prescriptions are virtually identical to those of the Pentagon hawks, was quite clear. "America is No. 1," he wrote. "We stand for something decent and important. That's good for us and good for the world."
Published: Mar 26 2002