Rebuilding America's Defenses' and the Projectfor the New American Centuryby Bette StockbauerJune 18, 2003
"Rebuilding America'sDefenses (RAD)" is a policydocument published by aneoconservative Washingtonthink tank called the Projectfor the New AmericanCentury (PNAC). Its pageshave been compared toHitler's Mein Kampf in thatthey outline an aggressivemilitary plan for U.S. worlddomination during the comingcentury. And just as Hitler's book was not taken seriously until after his catastrophic rise topower, so it seems that relatively few Americans are expressing alarm at this publisheddocument that is a blueprint for many of the present actions of the Bush administration, actionswhich have begun to destabilize the balance of power between the nations of the world.
There is, indeed, much reason for alarm because PNAC is not an ordinary think tank and "RAD"is not an ordinary policy paper. Many PNAC members now hold key positions in the WhiteHouse, Defense and State Departments, among them Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, PaulWolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Lewis Libby, and John Bolton, along with others inlesser positions. William Kristol, writer for the conservative magazine, the Weekly Standard, ischairman of the group.
Some of these men have been advocating for a strong military posture since the ending of coldwar hostilities with the Soviet Union. Wishing to capitalize on the fact that the US had emergedas the world's preeminent superpower, they have lobbied for increases in military spending inorder to establish what they call a Pax Americana that will reap the rewards of complete militaryand commercial control of land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. This, they said, would beaccomplished by the waging of "multiple simultaneous large-scale wars" and one of their firstorders of business was always the removal of Saddam Hussein, thereby giving the US a toeholdin the oil-rich Middle East.
During the Clinton presidency, when the Republicans were out of power, this militaristic wing inAmerican politics became highly organized and efficient. They formed the PNAC in 1997 Andpublished "RAD" in September 2000. Determined to have their world empire, they offered aneerie prophecy on page 52 of that document about how it might be accomplished, "Further, theprocess of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one,absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor." Their dream of acatalyzing event could not have been better actualized than in the events of 9/11.
Although there could have been many responses to the tragedy of 9/11, the Bush administrationseized upon that event to mold public opinion into accepting many ideas embodied in "RAD".The overthrow of Saddam Hussein, was being proposed by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz one dayafter 9/11, even before anyone knew who was responsible for the attacks. As soon as the waragainst Afghanistan was completed, the focus of US policy became regime change in Iraq, withall of the tragic consequences we are now seeing in that country.
Policies advocated in "RAD" are being enacted with terrifyingspeed, such as denigration of the UN, importance of HomelandSecurity, abrogation of international agreements, revamping ofthe US nuclear program and the spread of American militarypower into all corners of the globe by preemptive engagement. InIraq we have seen the embodiment of "RAD" directives that callfor the subjugation of regimes considered hostile to US interestsand the prevention of military build-up in countries that maychallenge US power. Bush's "Axis of Evil" nations Iraq, Iran and
North Korea are mentioned numerous times as potential trouble spots and there is repeatedinsistence that the US establish military outposts in the Middle East and East Asia.
Most frightening is its complete isolation from any ideas of world unity and cooperative action.The authors appear to be intent on waging war as an answer to the problems of our planet,tragically imagining that peace can be won by enforcing American values on every other nation.A more chilling statement of the PNAC devotion to militaristic domination cannot be found thanin Richard Perle's concept of "total war". "No stages," he said, "This is total war. We are fightinga variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to doAfghanistan, then we will do Iraq... this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just letour vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece togetherclever diplomacy, but just wage a total war... our children will sing great songs about us yearsfrom now."
This article is a summarization of "RAD." I believe it is of importance to become familiar withthis document because it is determining US policy decisions which will have far reachingrepercussions for decades to come. Subject areas are arranged under three topics: A. PaxAmericana, outlining the rationale for global empire, B. Securing Global Hegemony, pinpointingregions that are considered trouble spots for US policy, C. Using the Military to Gain Empire,outlining military plans for complete world domination. My personal comments are in italics;page numbers are from the original document. See URLs at the end for further reading.A. Pax Americana
The building of Pax Americana has become possible, claims "RAD," because the fall of theSoviet Union gave the United States status as the world's preeminent superpower. Consequentlythe US must now work hard, not only to maintain that position, but to spread its military mightinto geographic areas that are ideologically opposed to its influence, waging "multiplesimultaneous large-scale wars" to subdue countries that may stand in the way of US globalpreeminence. Rationales offered for going to war with other nations are the preservation of the"American peace" and the spread of "democracy."
On Preserving American Preeminence
"It is not a choice between preeminence today and preeminencetomorrow. Global leadership is not something exercised at ourleisure, when the mood strikes us or when our core nationalsecurity interests are directly threatened; then it is already toolate. Rather, it is a choice whether or not to maintain Americanmilitary preeminence, to secure American geopolitical leadership,and to preserve the American peace" (p. 76).
"The Cold War world was a bipolar world; the 21st century worldis for the moment, at least decidedly unipolar, with Americaas the world's 'sole superpower.' America's strategic goal used tobe containment of the Soviet Union; today the task is to preservean international security environment conducive to Americaninterests and ideals. The military's job during the Cold War wasto deter Soviet expansionism. Today its task is to secure andexpand the 'zones of democratic peace;' to deter the rise of a new great-power competitor; defendkey regions of Europe, East Asia and the Middle East; and to preserve American preeminencethrough the coming transformation of war made possible by new technologies" (p. 2).
Four Vital Missions
"RAD" lists four vital missions "demanded by US global leadership":
"Homeland Defense. . . . the United States . . . must counteract the effects of the proliferation ofballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction that may soon allow lesser states to deter USmilitary action by threatening US allies and the American homeland itself. Of all the new andcurrent missions for US armed forces, this must have priority.
"Large Wars. Second, the United States must retain sufficient forces able to rapidly deploy andwin multiple simultaneous large-scale wars and also to be able to respond to unanticipatedcontingencies in regions where it does not maintain forward-based forces.
"Constabulary Duties. Third, the Pentagon must retain forces to preserve the current peace inways that fall short of conducting major theater campaigns. . . . These duties are today's mostfrequent missions, requiring forces configured for combat but capable of long-term, independentconstabulary operations.
"Transform US Armed Forces. Finally, the Pentagon must begin now to exploit the so-called'revolution in military affairs,' sparked by the introduction of advanced technologies into militarysystems; this must be regarded as a separate and critical mission worthy of a share of forcestructure and defense budgets" (p. 6).
". . . the failure to provide sufficient forces to execute thesefour missions must result in problems for American strategy.And the failure to prepare for tomorrow's challenges willensure that the current Pax Americana comes to an early end"(p. 13).
On Usurping the Power of the UN
"Further, these constabulary missions are far more complexand likely to generate violence than traditional 'peacekeeping'missions. For one, they demand American political leadershiprather than that of the United Nations, as the failure of theUN mission in the Balkans and the relative success of NATOoperations there attests. Nor can the United States assume aUN-like stance of neutrality. . . . American troops, inparticular, must be regarded as part of an overwhelminglypowerful force" (p. 11).
B. Securing Global Hegemony
"RAD" takes the posture that only the US should manipulate international relations and pointsout "trouble spots" that may cause future problems, like all of East Asia, and Iraq, Iran, andNorth Korea (now labeled by George Bush as the "Axis of Evil"). There is concern that severalnations might come together to challenge US interests. Consequently any nation that producesnuclear weapons or engages in significant arms buildup will be viewed as a potential threat.
"America's global leadership, and its role as the guarantor of the current great-power peace,relies upon the safety o