Former Deputy Secretary of Defense argues that America’s leadership role in the post-Bush world may depend upon ‘how threatening the world appears’

  WOLFOWITZ: "America’s future leadership role may depend… on how threatening the world appears. Historically, that leadership role has often emerged out of a compelling crisis: Pearl Harbour, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iran hostage crisis, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, or the attacks of 9/11."

Aaron Dykes
July 16, 2008

In a response to PNAC associate Robert Kagan, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz has suggested that a ‘compelling crisis’ such as Pearl Harbor or 9/11 may help bolster America’s stature in the world, which, Wolfowitz clearly hints, has been damaged by the Bush administration:

"America’s future leadership role may depend even more on how threatening the world appears. Historically, that leadership role has often emerged out of a compelling crisis: Pearl Harbour, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iran hostage crisis, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, or the attacks of 9/11.

Such a role would imply even more U.S. troops around the world and the need to maintain and even expand the state of crisis. In other words, it would be a continuation of the so-called ‘Wolfowitz Doctrine,’ a military-first approach to world dominance where the U.S. would function unilaterally as a pre-emptive security arm for world conflicts. However, despite Wolfowitz’s pre-war boast that Iraqis would "greet us as liberators," the phony WMDs episode has likely soured public support for such pre-emptive action.

"Kagan acknowledges, ‘an American problem,’ due to ‘errors of commission and omission, not only in recent years but throughout America’s history’ — a tendency towards unilateralism and a ‘proclivity to use force’…"

"How much will the Iraq experience affect America’s ability to lead in the future? Kagan doesn’t address that question but his answer is implied when he says that the democratic world will still look to the sole superpower for leadership, no matter how “flawed”. It is striking how US leadership recovered after Korea’s unpopular and stalemated war – and even after Vietnam. Whether Kagan believes that history’s return will include the return of US confidence, and how quickly, is unclear."

Clearly, Iraq, too, has become an ‘unpopular and stalemated war.’ Public opinion– worldwide– is strongly anti-war. President Bush– and Congress at only 9%— are at record lows in public support polls as well . Even the Bilderberg Group has reportedly split over objections to the neocon management of Middle East wars. Furthermore, the world has abandoned the dollar and "US confidence" is sadly now a thing of the past.


Wolfowitz essentially gleans from Kagan that the solution to this problem of American fatigue could be a fresh crisis– which Wolfowitz indicates, would renew support and legitimize the U.S. presence around the world. Shockingly, Wolfowitz closely parallels recently unveiled comments Rumsfeld made that essentially welcome another terror attack. Indeed, both former Department of Defense heads show little patience for 9/11’s waning power to generate public support for the War on Terror.

WOLFOWITZ: "Paradoxically, the relative security which Americans have enjoyed since 2001 makes it easier to doubt the necessity of shouldering the burden of leadership. One hopes it will not take another calamity to convince us of the need for a vigilant foreign policy."

RUMSFELD: "This President’s pretty much a victim of success. We haven’t had an attack in five years. The perception of the threat is so low in this society that it’s not surprising that the behavior pattern reflects a low threat assessment. The same thing’s in Europe, there’s a low threat perception. The correction for that, I suppose, is an attack. And when that happens, then everyone gets energized for another [inaudible] and it’s a shame we don’t have the maturity to recognize the seriousness of the threats"

These statements are, without coincidence, very similar to what has become a strongly controversial quote in a PNAC– Project for a New American Century– September 2000 publication titled "Rebuilding America’s Defenses":

"Further, the process 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"

PNAC has now been sufficiently exposed as the intellectual blueprint behind the Bush administration– the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, all founding members, are now infamous to world leaders and informed dissidents everywhere as the architects of the fraudulent and now odorous wars against Terrorism, Afghanistan and most of all Iraq. This campaign of wars was justified almost exclusively by 9/11, which the Bush administration readily exploited and carefully manipulated, along with a handful of other lies (i.e. WMD).


After all, William Kristol said so two years ago during a confrontation with activists who objected to PNAC’s "new Pearl Harbor" statement. And now, for uncertain reasons, the PNAC website has been pulled offline— perhaps signifying that the Bush policy makers have lost all credibility and its War on Terror is little more than the subject of heavy ridicule.

Wolfowitz’s July 2008 review of Kagan’s The Return of History points to a possible shift from the unilateralist Project for a New American Century approach to a dressed-up multilateralist ‘League of Democracies’ approach, which may potentially project a greater sense of legitimacy. John McCain, who was recently confronted for his formative role in PNAC at a town hall meeting, has adopted the ‘League of Democracies’ as a central plank of his campaign.

Wolfowitz laments, "although the idea of “coalitions of the willing” has taken a beating in recent years, there is no obvious substitute for it." In fact, Wolfowitz acknowledges that the concept may be a "fragile basis for collective action" and suggests that it would have to be stimulated through "a shared sense of threat":

"While shared democratic values may help to draw such a coalition together, they are not necessarily the strongest link. A shared sense of threat… is not only the strongest motivating factor bringing countries together, but also the strongest deterrent to aggressive action by any regional power."

Across the isle, key Clinton administration globalists– now members of Obama’s national security group— have already put forward nearly identical proposals while Hillary Clinton, too, advocated a ‘League of Democracies’ during her campaign. Former Deputy National Security Advisor James Steinberg conceives that “one problem with the Bush doctrine, then, is not that it is overly reliant on preventive force but that it too narrowly conceives of its use.”

In a paper titled, ‘Preventive War, A Useful Tool,’ Steinberg asserts that “Unilateralism is not the only alternative… regional organizations and a new coalition of democratic states offer ways to legitimize the use of force when the council fails to meet its responsibilities.”

One thing is clear– a ‘League of Democracies,’ whether guided by Democrats or Republicans, is set up for one purpose– to instigate a pre-emptive strike against some rogue nation and further widen conflict.

Kagan’s ‘League of Democracies’ even diminishes the long-term threat of radical Islam, arguing that it is relatively insignificant compared with rising powers like Russia and China. Kagan argues that such an ‘autocratic’ threat from Russia or China would better stimulate foreign support amongst a ‘League of Democracies’ anyway. He hints that a new Cold War conflict pitting democracies against the Communists could even surface.


The Wolfowitz Doctrine:
Behind the unilateralist PNAC approach and the multilateral ‘League of Democracy’ approach is the same basic policy– aggressive policing of world conflicts with the ready use of pre-emptive force.  

Needless to say, such a ‘League of Democracies’ would bear little difference to the world PNAC and the Bush administration have shaped. Behind the unilateralist PNAC approach and the multilateral ‘League of Democracy’ approach is the same basic policy– the Wolfowitz Doctrine of aggressive policing world conflicts with the ready use of pre-emptive force. Such a policy has taken root– now for decades– against the warnings of the U.S.’s forefathers and in contradiction to their clear intentions.

Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests? (PNAC Statement of Principles)

I would argue that the Founding Fathers, too, resolved to see after American principles and interests– they outlined a road map in the Constitution that sought to avoid unnecessary wars and guard the people from the interests of the few.

Instead of following Thomas Jefferson’s policy of "peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none," the Wolfowitz Doctrine utterly depends upon and seeks out entanglement in conflicts all across the globe.

Instead of reaping prosperity, commanding respect and inspiring liberty across the globe, the Bush administration, following Wolfowitz and PNAC policies, has fueled hatred and disrespect, threatened liberty worldwide and racked-up trillions in war costs.

But regardless of the face of the conflict, the policies Wolfowitz and his cohorts have put forward are bankrupt. Further entrenching U.S. troops across the globe will stretch the U.S. dollar to the breaking point– if that point has not yet come. What’s more, the affirmation of U.S. stature as the world’s only super-power necessarily depends upon further conflict and crisis– where American forces again and again step up as the “solution”– ensuring that America can never escape a state of perpetual conflict.

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