Some Real Election Issues-5
October 3, 2004
The discourse below represents an effort on my part to
empathize with the co-authors of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC),
and to express its intentions.as they've explained them. What follows is my
interpretation of what PNAC advocates saying, and doesn't necessarily reflect my
opinions. (My considered review will follow later.)
Project for the New American Century (PNAC)
For more than four decades during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were a few button pushes away from mutual nuclear Armageddon. We were all lucky it didn't happen.
When the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union unraveled into its member states in the late 1980's, only one superpower remained: the United States. The United States spoke of a "peace dividend", and began to reduce its military expenditures below their Cold War levels. However, certain ranking members of the Defense Department realized that the United States, as the world's sole remaining superpower and the pre-eminent military and economic power in the world, had a golden opportunity to ensure that another, hostile superpower like the U.S.S.R--viz, China--could never again arise to threaten the United States. In addition, there was a growing threat from rogue nations such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea that might sooner or later acquire nuclear weapons and launch nuclear attacks upon their neighbors, and even, conceivably, upon the United States, and/or its citizens and interests.Whether we want to think about it or not, over time, rogue states and terrorist organizations are going to emerge around the world, like weeds in a garden, and they are going to have to be trimmed back or uprooted. The time to head off these threats, these gentlemen felt, was sooner rather than later. After all, this amounted to little more than a continuation of what the United States, as the defender of the Free World, had been doing for decades.
Richard Perle observes that you couldn't assume that Iraq would fall of its own weight, or that there was any way to deal with dictators like Saddam Hussein other than to get rid of them. In Haiti, "Papa Doc" Duvalier (with his tonton macoute death squads) was followed by his son, Jean-Claude Duvalier, and in North Korea, dictator Kim Il Sung has been succeeded by his son, Kim Chong Il. Saddam Hussein's sons, Ouday and Qusay, were clearly in line to take over from their father. And getting rid of them is one step the United Nations is unable to take.
Unfortunately, we're a long way from a world that's ready for a world government. There are parts of the world where any kind of government larger than a clan is a new idea not yet accepted by its inhabitants. Further, there are still the greatest divergences in culture and standards of living. Richard Perl also points out that the U. N. has among its member-states some of the worst dictatorships in the world. For the foreseeable future, first-world governments are going to have to protect their citizens and their interests without relying upon the U. N. (For one thing, the U. N. can act only when a nation violates its neighbors' borders by invading them. But before that happens, a would-be conqueror can create a world-class military force, like Hitler before World War II. Also, nations that sell weapons of mass destruction to terrorists can't be countenanced. Furthermore, nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles tend to make borders quaint and old-fashioned.)
Of course, these neoconservatives in the Pentagon didn't propose purely military solutions to the problems of engagement with potential rivals. ("Speak softly, and carry a big stick.") Richard Perle suggests that "the right way to deal with China" is, "politically and diplomatically and economically", rather than militarily.
While this approach might lead to continuing brush-fire wars and "police actions", it would avert the need for all-out warfare that might arise if small threats were allowed to grow into bigger ones. ("Pay me now, or pay me later.") Also, the mere possession by the U. S. of overwhelming military superiority should discourage potential competitors or dictators from even thinking about attacking the United States.or its interests.
Richard Perle explains that the United States doesn't plan to take and hold territory. There are no plans to form an empire in the classic sense of the word. He says, "But neo-conservatives and even some Labour party leaders believe that those values [individual liberty, representative government, free markets, free speech] are so important that we should be fighting for their extension, not by invading people, although occasionally by liberating people." Mr. Perle also mentions that the problem with pre-emptive action against North Korea is that some of the largest cities in South Korea lie within artillery range of North Korean guns.
These ideas for preemptive strikes fell upon deaf ears within the first Bush administration, and then the Clinton administration, and until 9/11, even among the Republicans in President George W Bush' administration.. Before 9/11, the United States government had treated terrorist attacks as a nuisance, but not as one of its most urgent issues. Apparently, this was interpreted by Osama bin Laden and other terrorists as signifying that the U. S. was a paper tiger... that the U. S. would chase terrorists but wouldn't muster the resources that it took to catch them. But, 9/11, our second Pearl Harbor, changed everything. Terrorist attacks like that of 9/11 were what the PNAC was designed to prevent, or at least those that are sponsored by rogue nations such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, North Korea, Libya (since ) and the Sudanese governments. The following quotation is taken from an April, 2003, interview with James Woolsey, who was Director of the CIA during President Clinton's term from 1993 to 1995
"I think that I would say that in the presence of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly biological and potentially nuclear in the hands of states that work with terrorist organizations and are themselves proven aggressors ruled by terrible dictators, it would be highly irresponsible to wait and be struck first by those nuclear or biological weapons and then and only then to retaliate.
"People ask for a smoking gun. A smoking gun in the case of a biological or nuclear weapon is a very terrible smoke indeed. I think the Bush administration is quite correct in the case of these rogue state dictators who work with terrorists and have at least some weapons of mass destruction to have a different policy. Different circumstances require different policies."
Mr. Woolsey supports the concept of pre-emptive strikes against nations that harbor terrorists or could provide terrorists with weapons of mass destruction.
To sum it up, the United States is going to have to continue to defend its citizens and its legitimate interests against terrorists and rogue nations. If steps aren't taken to prevent such a situation from arising, it might also have to face another nuclear-armed superpower... e. g., China. The PNAC sets forth a plan for quenching these incipient brush fires before they become more dangerous and expensive.