[Last update: 4 November 2002]

Pax Americana Alert

by Steve Fine

October 2002


I would like to bring to your attention a theory that is beginning to surface in the mainstream press and on the Internet. Based on my reading of the source material, I have concluded there is something to it, so what follows is a partisan report.

If you feel the same way, then please forward this to as many people as you can.

Enforcing the American Peace

An underlying policy in defense and foreign affairs runs parallel to the War on Terrorism, which it preceded. If the White House and Pentagon have their way, it shall continue to operate in tandem with the War on Terrorism for years to come. This strategy calls for a major expansion of US military power around the globe to secure the peace . . . for "America". Its goals are to eliminate current regional rivals, such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea, and to discourage the rise of new ones, even among our friends, thereby protecting our vital interests and security via a worldwide network of American protectorates. In the long run, American preeminence as the sole superpower is to be extended as far into the new century as possible.

Not surprisingly, this ambitious strategy for military domination and control of the planet, which is what it is after you strip away all the dross, is called "Pax Americana", with all that that name implies. (Dare we say it? Empire.) Ironically, it is the proponents of the policy that named it that. Their report resides on the web site of a conservative think tank called "The Project for the New American Century." (www.newamericancentury.org) Released in September 2000, a year before the 9/11 attacks, the report is entitled, "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century". (Let's call it the "PNAC report" for short.) Project Co-Chairman: Donald Kagan and Gary Schmitt. Principal Author: Thomas Donnelly.

It's Not a Secret, Just Not Talked About

Since the report is publicly available (as of this writing) you can read it for yourself and make up your own mind. Below, I have provided a list of PNAC policy recommendations that Bush has put into practice. Make your own list. Ferret out nuggets that have so far passed without mention. (Psssst! Can you find the "Pearl Harbor" references? There are two of them. The first should give you pause, and a chill. It is not in the form of a specific recommendation for a new Pearl Harbor to sell Pax Americana, rather just a bit of wishful thinking, perhaps, along those lines on the part of the report's authors. You'll find it in a section that touches briefly on budgetary and congressional restraints anticipated back in 2000, which they feared would be mitigating factors against the speedy implementation of their proposals.)

The Core Ideas are not all that New, Either

The core ideas of the policy have antecedents going back ten years, with some of the same people involved. Specifically, it pays homage to an earlier defense planning document that was prepared by Paul Wolferwitz and I. Lewis Libby for Dick Cheney when he was Defense Secretary under Bush, the First, in '92. Cooler heads rebuked that report at the time, such as Brent Scowcroft, so even Cheney distanced himself from it. (For more, see the "Deep Background" section at the end of this article.) And now the rhetoric and underlying philosophy of the PNAC report has metastasized to the White House National Security Strategy report (NSS), released September 20, 2002. The NSS almost reads as if the same people drafted it. (Maybe they did.)

A September 29th, 2002 op-ed piece by Jay Bookmann in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has this to say about that odd similarity:

"In essence, [the White House National Security Strategy] lays out a plan for permanent U.S. military and economic domination of every region on the globe, unfettered by international treaty or concern. And to make that plan a reality, it envisions a stark expansion of our global military presence. [. . .]

The report's repeated references to terrorism are misleading, however, because the approach of the new National Security Strategy was clearly not inspired by the events of Sept. 11. They can be found in much the same language in a report issued in September 2000 by the Project for the New American Century, a group of conservative interventionists outraged by the thought that the United States might be forfeiting its chance at a global empire."

Report Contributors in High Places

Bookman identifies six contributors to the report (out of a total of 27) who now have key defense and policy positions in the Bush administration. They are:

  • Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Defense Secretary, second to Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.
  • John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for arms control and international security.
  • Eliot Cohen, member of Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board.
  • I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, VP Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff.
  • Dov Zakheim, Undersecretary of Defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer for the Pentagon.
  • Stephen Cambone, heads the Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation at the Defense Department.
  • A Listing of PNAC Report Reccommendations the Bush Administration has Implemented or that are Reflected in Current Strategies:

  • Withdraw from Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which frustrates "the development of useful ballistic missile defenses" in order to revive the Reagan era Star Wars program. Policy adopted pre 9/11, now a DONE DEAL. Funding for ballistic missile defense R&D is included in the new 355 billion dollars defense budget. A missile defense shield has offensive as well as defensive capabilities, simply by being up there. As the report let slip: ". . . effective ballistic missile defenses will be the central element in the exercise of American power and the projection of U.S. military forces abroad."

  • Development of small tactical nuclear warheads—bunker busters. A work in progress. First public mention by the administration was during the Afghanistan War as a desirable new weapon to add to the arsenal for blowing terrorists out of their caves. Supposedly we already have high tech bombs designed to do that without removing the mountain as well, but . . . always room for improvement.

  • End the moratorium on nuclear testing. "If the United States is to have a nuclear deterrent that is both effective and safe, it will need to test." Coming soon to a desert near you, or Pacific atoll.

  • Funding for Pax Americana. Increase defense spending from 3 percent of gross domestic product to 3.5 to 3.8 percent. DONE! The new defense budget of 355 billion is in that range. This was proposed to reverse the period of "Defense Neglect" in the '90s. (Clinton's greatest sin.) The PNAC report was written during the 2000 campaign, remember, so a big chunk of it is devoted to detailing how all four branches of the military are ill-prepared to effectively carry out their current and future missions. Years of increased funding were anticipated to correct the damage. Candidate Bush made an issue of this in the 2000 debates with Gore to counter the booming (bubbling, actually) economy (pop!). Curiously enough, as soon as Bush became President we suddenly had the best darn military in the world. And now, just eighteen months since his inauguration that same military is ready to move beyond Afghanistan to Iraq and damn well take on the whole world.

  • Cancellation of outmoded military programs, such as the Crusader Howitzer, to free up funds for "transformation . . . to exploit the revolution in military affairs." That means an expanded and high-tech reliant military, starting with and relying most heavily on missile defense, but there's more to it than that. Go to the section on "transformation". Defense Secretary Rumsfeld made the cancellation of the Crusader almost a personal mission. And now it is a DONE DEAL. The new defense budget shifts millions from that project to unspecified other purposes.

  • Constabulary Missions. The U.S. can't rely on UN peacekeeping operations, which the report's authors deem a failure, so we will just have to fess up to our global responsibilities and become the policemen of the world.

    The report says, ". . . facing up to the realities of multiple constabulary missions will require a permanent allocation of U.S. armed forces." And: "the preponderance of American power is so great and its global interests so wide that it cannot pretend to be indifferent to the political outcome in the Balkans, the Persian Gulf or even when it deploys forces in Africa. . . . Further, these constabulary missions are far more complex and likely to generate violence than traditional "peacekeeping" missions." OPERATIONAL in Afghanistan, PLANNED for Iraq.

  • Expansion of military bases into the Middle East, Central Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia. (Shifting military resources from East Europe.) With a major assist from Al Aqaeda, plans got off the drawing board after 9/11. Permanent new bases are now in Afghanistan and surrounding countries to the north and east and forward bases are radiating out from there. According to an October 21, 2002 article in The Nation Magazine (www.thenation.com), called "Operation Endless Deployment", by William D. Hartung, Frida Berrigan & Michelle Ciarrocca: "the preparations for "Gulf War II" are also part of a larger plan to promote the most significant expansion of US global military presence since the end of the cold war." The difference, they say, is "the new global buildup [is] an elaboration of a new, more flexible infrastructure for intervening in—or initiating—"hot wars" from the Middle East to the Caucasus to East Asia." They go on to list in detail 19 countries where the US military has in one way or another set up shop. Which brings us to one of the PNAC report's core policy recommendations:

  • "Fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars." This is similar to a long-standing Pentagon policy goal, but these guys really want to do it, and so, it appears, does our President.

  • Why stop there? The PNAC report advocates the Pentagon take "control of the new "international commons" of space and cyberspace." This falls under the "core mission" of military transformation, the Revolution in Military Affairs mentioned above. A work in progress
  • > No, I'm not forgetting the "Axis of Evil". Here it comes:


    The cost and risks involved in their elimination is the price we must pay to preserve American global preeminence. Otherwise, if allowed to go unmolested, such regimes will surely "undermine American leadership".

    Top of the list are, you guessed it, Iraq, Iran and North Korea—yes, in that order, too, and mentioned here long before they were re-packaged as the "Axis of Evil" by Bush in his January 2002 State of the Union address. (That was the tip off that more than a war against terrorists was on the administration's mind. A bait and switch was pulled on the American public that night by expanding the definition of terrorists to include selected "rogue" states, thereby shifting the focus from Afghanistan, where Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden had eluded our grasp, to countries on an old hit list that did not attack us on 9/ll and did not have significant ties to Al Qaeda either. (Unlike the Saudis.) What they do have in common is all three walked away from past battles with the US still in one piece. What a provocation!

    Also mentioned in the report are Syria, Libya and Pakistan. (There are bigger fish to fry, though. China, for instance. But that is a long-term goal. Still, Bush made sure to chill US/Chinese relations right after taking office by turning a relatively minor flap over a downed US spy plane into a major confrontation, directly challenging the Chinese leadership rather than allowing lower echelon diplomats to resolve the issue quietly.)

    Iraq pops up so many times in the PNAC report it borders on obsession. Pages 4, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 51- 52, 54, 73 – 75. As for Iran, on page 17, they state: "Iran may prove as much a threat as Iraq." And the phrase "regime change" appears on page 25. Which indicates that idea has been floating around Washington for quite some time. Beyond Iraq and Iran, the goal is an expansion of American influence in the entire region of the Middle East. I quote:

    ". . . The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

    Back to Iraq Resources
    Back to "War on Terrorism" Resources
    Back to ProgressiveAustin main page
    Back to Austin Against War main page

    Contact this site