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History of US foreign policy, or lack thereof(long post)

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I'm offering up an article that I read in a magazine called "Adbusters" that's been getting me thinking over the past year. For all of those liberals out there, this transcript should motivate you in an "Out the door in 2004" fashion. For all others, I recommend picking up this mag, or better yet-- getting a subscription.

PROJECT FOR THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY
(edited by Anonymous, it seems)adbusters.org

They, too, had their summer of love. It was 1969, and two grad students met in Washington, DC. Paul Wolfowitz was a young mathematician turned political scientist, a gawky kid from Ithica, Ney York, who was shielded from the Vietnam draft while studying for his PhD. He joined Richard Perle on the staff of Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson. There was a chemical spark, and history set a course for the politics of perpetual war.

Scoop Jackson was a hawkish Democrat who wanted a more aggressive American foreign policy than the one overseen by Henry Kissinger, whom he saw as cynically pragmatic if not amoral. A major of President Richard Nixon's foreign policy in the early 70's was the improvement of relations with the Soviets, referred to as "detente". Jackson, Perle, and Wolfowitz saw detente as a strategic error-- a sign of weakness-- and they advocated a more confrontational approach. Perle would later explain that their goal was "to re-establish a set of objectives that was aimed at victory in the Cold War, rather than ending it by accomodation."

As Jackson's chief assistant from 1969 to 1980, Perle became one of Washington's most powerful Cold War warriors. He also established himself as doyen of a swelling network of Washington insiders who favored an unprecedented projection of US military might, not only to protect national security, but because of a moral obligation to export American values. The would come to be known as the "Neo-Conservatives".

While Perle was the political operator, Paul Wolfowitz spent the 70's as a policy wonk, climbing the bureaucratic ladders in the State Department and the Department of Defense. In 1976 he was tapped by George Bush Sr., then director of the CIA, to join the influential "Team B". The group was formed in response to criticism that the intelligence agency was underestimating Soviet military capacity. The Team B findings greatly overestimated the Soviet's nuclear strike capabilities, but their conclusions would go on to help stimulate the massive, trillion-dollar arms race of President Ronald Reagan. (COMMENT: History repeats itself.)

It was during those years that the Neo-Cons began to shine. They had a well-defined enemy, and a president who was inclined to see foreign policy through a similar lens. Perle became assiant defense secretary and, as Reagan's point man on arms control, earned the moniker "Prince of Darkness". He and Wolfowitz were particularly pleased with Reagan's characterization of the Soviet Union as the "evil empire" in 1983. Perle thought it was a historical turning point: "I don't believe the Cold War could've been won without that moral idealogical offensive. That's the single most important thing Ronald Reagan did."

By the end of the 1980's the Neo-Cons were well-represented in the Pentagon. With the election of Bush Sr., however, they found themselves under a president operating with less gusto and more attention to world sentiment.The critical piece of evidence came at the end of Gulf War I. Despite recommendations by Wolfowitz, who was then an undersecretary of defense, the tanks that rolled into Iraq fell far short of toppling Baghdad.

In Bush's final year in office, Wolfowitz produced a forward-looking memo called "Defense Policy Guidance 1992-1994". He advocated preemptive attacks, a beefed-up military budget to ensure American domination, and the "pre-eminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends." Included in the paper was an illustrative, hypothetical war against Iraq. The leaked mome caused a minor scandal, however, and the language was softened before its official release.

(To Be Continued...)

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Then America itself went soft. Bill Clinton was elected to office, and the Neo-Cons retreated to their think tanks and private postings, releasing occasional dispatches into the real world. Wolfowitz wrote a spirited defense of his 1992 memo, arguing that US leadership entailed "demonstrating that your friends will be protected and taken care of, that your enemies will be punished and that those who refuse to support you will live to regret doing so. Perle, who had moved into the private sector, pushed forward a document called "A Clean Break", in which he counselled the Israeli government to scrap the peace process and ratchet up aggression toward Palestinians.

A new millenium was approaching, and America was booming. In 1997, political pundit Robert Kagan and William Kristol(editor of the "Weekly Standard" and former chief-of-staff for Vice President Dan Quayle) brought together the Project for the New American Century. PNAC attacked the "incoherent policies" of the Clinton Administration, as well as the jelly-kneed conservatives who "have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world." The PNAC statement of principles called for military build-up, preemptive attacks when necessary and the recognition of the American responsibility to lead the globe: "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."(COMMENT: Think back to when you used to play King Of The Hill.)

Signatories of the PNAC statement are now familiar faces in the upper echelons of the Pentagon, the White House, and the major media-- they include Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In 1998, many of the same names appeared on a PNAC letter addressed to Bill Clinton that urged a different strategy for dealing with Iraq, one that "should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power."

The following year a new face appeared in the Neo-Con crowd. Some might say that George W. Bush(COMMENT: I'll bet you were wondering when the article would drop his name), with the fervor that characterizes the born-again Christian, gravitated toward a foreign policy that projected America's moral authority. Or perhaps the Neo-Cons had looked around for a vessel into which they might pour their ambitions, and found an amiable Texan with a folksy drawl and a platinum-card name. Whatever the genesis, by the lead-up to his presidential election, Bush was spending weekly sessions with "the Vulcans"-- a team of Neo-Con advisors with Wolfowitz and Condoleeza Rice at its core. On December 12th, 2000, the US Supreme Court preempted the Florida recount, and George W. Bush and friends swept themselves into power.

Into power, but not into their moment in history. That would take a blue-sky morning in September 2001, when a president best known for spending time on his ranch would step forward and put his name to a doctrine of preemptive war. The strategy bore an unmistakable resemblance to the 1992 Wolfowitz memo, and it was only a matter of time before the bombs fell on Baghdad.

What now? What lost, leaked memo can reveal the future of the next American century? Perhaps it's simpler to explain what is not on the agenda" multilateral treaties on land mines of greenhouse gases; the enforcement of international law; concern for the environment; protection of cultures and languanges; global inequalities that see the average American making 100 times as much as citizens of poorer nations; the disease and starvation that wrack the developing world. It would be wrong to say that the Neo-Cons don't care. It would be better to say that priorities have changed.

(COMMENT: all comments and mistakes are mine.)

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The Bush Administration and its loyal opposition seem not to grasp that the quests for dominance generate backlash. Those threatened with preemption may themselves launch preemptory strikes. And even those who are successfully 'preempted' or dominated may object and find means to strike back. Pursuing such strategies may, paradoxically, result in greater factionalism and rivalry.

Not all Americans share Colin Powell’s desire to be 'the bully on the block.' In fact, some believe that by following a different path the United States has an opportunity to establish a more lasting security environment. As Dartmouth professors Stephen Brooks and William Woblforth wrote recently in Foreign Affairs, "Unipolarity makes it possible to be the global bully – but it also offers the United States the luxury of being able to look beyond its immediate needs to its own, and the world’s, long-term interests. ..... Magnanimity and restraint in the face of temptation are tenets of successful statecraft that have proved their worth." Perhaps, in short, we can achieve our desired ends by means other than global domination.

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I remember watching a TV documentary about the Project for the New American Century several months ago. Another interesting thing about PNAC (which this article fails to mention) is that almost everyone involved with it is Jewish...

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Now there's a co-incidence...who says all extremists are Islamic?

They're right about the uni-polarity thing though - as they say, "with great power comes great responsibility". You could say it's like the board of a company - they could either look after it's workers and do everything possible to create a happy working environment, or they could use it to bully and screw the workforce over, fiddle accounts, shady dealings etc. either to line their own pockets or if they're just on a power trip.

Guess which way the Bush Administration went...

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All of which adds up to a 100% certainty of Bush being re-elected in November, regardless of how many votes he wins or loses by. If he loses by a lot, he could easily force recounts in Democrat-won states and pay the election organisers to 'lose' a number of Democrat ballots...

And they will happily oblige, as greed and selfishness are at the core of human behaviour...

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Bush family connections to the Holocaust... American disinterest of Middle-Eastern humane affairs... The US's late response to the Nazi's... the PNAC's Jewish population... I think we're uncovering something here! Better tread lightly.

[/sarcasm]

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