Here’s a detailed article from Asia Times about the Project for the New American Century, the people and plans behind it, and how it all relates to the current war in Iraq.
AsiaTimes: This war is brought to you by…
By Pepe Escobar
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt – They’ve won. They got their war against Afghanistan (planned before September 11). They’re getting their war against Iraq (planned slightly after September 11). After Iraq, they plan to get their wars against Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Last Sunday, one of them, Vice President Dick Cheney, said that President George W Bush would have to make “a very difficult decision” on Iraq. Not really. The decision had already been taken for him in the autumn of 2001.
As far as their “showdown Iraq” is concerned, it’s not about weapons of mass destruction, nor United Nations inspections, nor non-compliance, nor a virtual connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, nor the liberation of the Iraqi people, nor a Middle East living in “democracy and liberty”.
The American corporate media are not inclined to spell it out, and the absolute majority of American public opinion is anesthetized non-stop by a barrage of technical, bureaucratic and totally peripheral aspects of the war against Iraq. For all the president’s (sales)men, the whole game is about global preeminence, if not unilateral world domination – military, economic, political and cultural. This may be an early 21st century replay of the “white man’s burden”. Or this may be just megalomania. Either way, enshrined in a goal of the Bush administration, it cannot but frighten practically the whole world, from Asia to Africa, from “old Europe” to the conservative establishment within the US itself.
During the Clinton years, they were an obscure bunch – almost a sect. Then they were all elevated to power – again: most had worked for Ronald Reagan and Bush senior. Now they have pushed America – and the world – to war because they want it. Period. An Asia Times Online investigation reveals this is no conspiracy theory: it’s all about the implementation of a project.
The lexicon of the Bush doctrine of unilateral world domination is laid out in detail by the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), founded in Washington in 1997. The ideological, political, economic and military fundamentals of American foreign policy – and uncontested world hegemony – for the 21st century are there for all to see.
PNAC’s credo is officially to muster “the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests”. PNAC states that the US must be sure of “deterring any potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role” – without ever mentioning these competitors, the European Union, Russia or China, by name. The UN is predictably dismissed as “a forum for leftists, anti-Zionists and anti-imperialists”. The UN is only as good as it supports American policy.
The PNAC mixes a peculiar brand of messianic internationalism with realpolitik founded over a stark analysis of American oil interests. Its key document, dated June 1997, reads like a manifesto. Horrified by the “debased” Bill Clinton, PNAC exponents lavishly praise “the essential elements of the Reagan administration’s success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities”. These exponents include Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, an advisory panel to the Pentagon made up of leading figures in national security and defense, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Reagan-era White House adviser Elliott Abrahms.
Already in 1997, the PNAC wanted to “increase defense spending significantly” to “challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values” and “to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles”. The deceptively bland language admitted “such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next”.
The signatories of this 1997 document read like a who’s who of Washington power today: among them, in addition to those mentioned above, Eliot Cohen, Steve Forbes, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, William Bennett, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz and Dan Quayle.
The PNAC, now actively exercising power, is about to fulfill its dream of invading Iraq. In the PNAC’s vision of Iraq, the only vector that matters is US strategic interest. Nobody really cares about Saddam Hussein’s “brutal dictatorship”, nor his extensive catalogue of human rights violations, nor “the suffering of the Iraqi people”, nor his US-supplied weapons of mass destruction, nor his alleged connection to terrorism.
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