Article 2888 of misc.activism.progressive:
From: nyxfer%panix.com@UMCVMB.missouri.edu (N.Y. Transfer)
Subject: ANALYSIS:Pentagon Mania/WW
Resent-From: "Rich Winkel"
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1992 19:03:08 GMT
Via The NY Transfer News Service ~ All the News that Doesn't Fit
Bush disowns but won't denounce plan for world domination
By Sam Marcy
(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if
source is cited.)
On March 8, the New York Times published excerpts from a 46-page
secret Pentagon draft document that it said was leaked by Pentagon
officials. This document is truly extraordinary.
It asserts complete U.S. world domination in both political and
military terms, and threatens any other countries that even
"aspire" to a greater role. In other words, the U.S. is to be the
sole and exclusive superpower on the face of the planet. It is to
exercise its power not only in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and
Latin America, but also on the territory of the former Soviet
The position laid out in this document is so extreme that it must
have terrified the governments under U.S. pressure. Telephone
calls must have poured into Washington from around the world after
Yet it took several days for the White House to finally comment on
it. And even then, the language used only disowned or dismissed
the document, but _did not denounce it_.
No official comment
First the Times published a second article datelined March 10
citing "senior U.S. officials" as critical of the document.
However, they are not identified. Pete Williams, a Pentagon
spokesperson, disavowed some parts of the document, but no "senior
officials" with the stature of the Secretary of Defense, Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State, CIA Director, or
the President would comment on it.
At a news conference the next day, however, President George Bush
responded to a question about the document by claiming he hadn't
seen it and hadn't read the press accounts about it. Instead of
attacking the very idea of such a plan, he emphasized that "we are
the leaders and we must continue to lead."
A Pentagon official tried to pass off the document as "couched in
language that is a little like the bluster of the officers' club."
But this document doesn't come from the officers. Rather, it was
written by civilians in the Pentagon.
This document surpasses in importance the Pentagon Papers, which
the New York Times, followed by the Washington Post and other
papers, published in 1971. At that time a considerable section of
the ruling class, under the pressure of the massive anti-war
movement in the United States and the unrelenting determination of
the Vietnamese people to free themselves from colonial tutelage,
had become convinced of the hopelessness of the U.S. imperialist
adventure in Southeast Asia.
It should be noted that at the time the USSR was a formidable
military power, a superpower if you will, and was giving political
and military support to the Vietnamese war effort, as was the
People's Republic of China. The case is otherwise today.
The ruling class this time is solidly for maintaining,
strengthening and invigorating the U.S. military position
worldwide in order to regain its economic superiority against its
imperialist rivals, principally Japan and Germany.
It is one thing for the Pentagon to assert in a document that it
plans to exercise domination over the entire globe. It is another
matter altogether to brazenly announce this to the public in such
terms as to threaten not only its alleged foes but its allies as
Considering the worldwide repercussions that the publication of
such a document would have, one would have expected an outburst of
open protest--from abroad but most particularly from here at home.
What is really astonishing about the publication of this document
is how little public response there has been to it, although there
certainly must have been private ones.
Not suppressed like Pentagon Papers
There's no question that this leak to the Times for publication
had the blessing, to one degree or another, of the Pentagon and
the Bush administration. Otherwise the White House would have
quickly set in motion the kind of attack mounted by the Nixon
administration against the publication of the Pentagon Papers. It
ordered the Justice Department to obtain an immediate restraining
order after the first installments of the Pentagon Papers began to
appear in the New York Times. But the Supreme Court upheld the
press at the time and overruled the Nixon administration.
Isn't it obvious that the disclosure of this Pentagon plan for
world domination, coming almost at the climax of the presidential
primaries, could have become a principal issue for public debate?
However, as of this writing, it has been virtually ignored.
Perhaps it will be picked up later, but right now the momentous
issues raised by this document seem headed for the dead-letter
department, if the capitalist media and politicians have their
And even where the capitalist newspapers did subject it to some
criticism, as have the Boston Globe, the Times itself and a few
other newspapers, this has been directed not at the substance of
the document, which concerns the domination of the world by U.S.
military might, but at the way in which it was so brazenly and
`Prevent re-emergence of a new rival'
Precisely what does this draft document, called in Pentagonese the
"Defense Planning Guidance," have as its aim?
"Our first objective," it states, "is to prevent the re-emergence
of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union
or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed
formerly by the Soviet Union."
This is aimed not only against a new revolutionary government or a
new socialist revolution in the world. It is also aimed at any
potential new capitalist rival to the U.S. In fact, one wonders
whether this document is not really intended to let the
imperialist competitors know that they should not even dare to
aspire to a greater role, let alone attempt to surpass the U.S.
The document says that to achieve this objective, "First, the U.S.
must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new
order that holds the promise of _convincing potential competitors_
that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more
aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests." (Our
There is no question that this is a message to the imperialist
rivals--Japan, Germany, France, perhaps even Britain. The language
is so rude as to be unprecedented in a public document.
Next, says the document, "we must account sufficiently for the
interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them
from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the
established political and economic order. Finally, we must
maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from
even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."
This is meant for Japan, China and India in Asia; certainly for
Germany and other imperialist countries in Europe; and for
countries like Brazil and Argentina or a new revolutionary
government in Latin America.
Later on, the document speaks specifically of Europe: "[I]t is of
fundamental importance to preserve NATO as the primary instrument
of Western defense and security, as well as the channel for U.S.
influence and participation in European security affairs."
But then it adds: "While the United States supports the goal of
European integration, we must seek to prevent the emergence of
European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO,
particularly the alliance's integrated command structure." The
latter, of course, is led by the U.S.
So, while on the one hand it seems to support NATO, it only does
so as a channel for "U.S. influence," as it says so crudely.
Elsewhere in the document, it says that what is most important is
"the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S.,"
and "the United States should be postured to act independently
when collective action cannot be orchestrated."
This indicates frustration by the Pentagon. Its allies appear to
be quite openly disappointed with the results of the war against
Iraq and the benefits accruing to each of them. It indicates the
U.S. reneged on the promises it made when rounding up their
Of singular significance is the scorn and contempt this document
demonstrates for the United Nations. It says it is for NATO and
the UN, as long as they will follow U.S. military orders. If not,
it will act without them.
How will Japan and Germany react?
How the Japanese and German imperialist governments react to this
remains to be seen. The document cannot be very comforting, coming
at a time when Japan has now followed the U.S. into a deep
economic crisis. Britain is also in economic turmoil, while
Germany has begun closing down shipyards in what was originally
the GDR, a measure it would rather have avoided had not the signs
of economic recession already begun to appear.
It should be plain that the publication of this document is not
likely to soften the sharp economic rivalry between U.S. finance
capital and its imperialist allies. On the contrary, this will
The document is not directed solely at the imperialist rivals.
"Defense of Korea will likely remain one of the most demanding
major regional contingencies. ... Asia is home to the world's
greatest concentration of traditional Communist states, with
fundamental values, governance, and policies decidedly at variance
with our own and those of our friends and allies. ..."
"Cuba's growing domestic crisis holds out the prospect for
positive change, but over the near term, Cuba's tenuous internal
situation is likely to generate new challenges to U.S. policy.
Consequently, our programs must provide capabilities to meet a
variety of Cuban contingencies which could include an attempted
repetition of the Mariel boatlift, a military provocation against
the U.S. or an American ally, or political instability and
internal conflict in Cuba."
Translated, this means that the Pentagon is already planning new
attacks on Cuba and the DPRK. This should be of fundamental
importance for us in the anti-imperialist movement and signal the
need to plan for major activities to counter-act this danger not
only to Cuba and the DPRK but to the oppressed people all over the
New world order
The Pentagon document is one more example that, notwithstanding
all the talk of a "new world order" and a cooperative world
commonwealth of freedom and peace, etc., etc., these phrases are
only calculated to deceive world public opinion, and in particular
the broad working class and the oppressed masses.
In the criticisms that have appeared thus far, only Patrick
Buchanan--Bush's ultra-right opponent in the primaries--has dug up
the old isolationist rhetoric expounded by Sen. William E. Borah
(R-Idaho) in the 1920s and Sen. Robert Taft (R-Ohio) in the 1950s.
According to Buchanan, "This is a formula for endless American
intervention in quarrels and war where no vital interest of the
United States is remotely engaged. It's virtually a blank check
given to all of America's friends and allies that we'll go to war
to defend their interests." (New York Times, March 10)
Such is the criticism of the extreme right wing of the ruling
class. It's a fraud from beginning to end. The inference from all
this is that the U.S. is intervening to help foreign powers at the
expense of American taxpayers, and that the U.S. ruling class has
no vital interests abroad. Of course it's a lie.
The tremendous weight of the U.S. transnational corporations,
especially the giant banks like Citicorp, Chemical, Manufacturers
Trust and BankAmerica, is spread all over the world. It is to
defend these interests that the Pentagon has conceived this
monstrous picture of a world they totally dominate.
Yes, the document says the U.S. military machine will defend its
European military allies. It will defend them against the
oppressed countries in which they operate and garner vast profits,
should there be an insurrectionary movement against their
The U.S. military machine will also defend its allies against the
working classes of their own countries. But it will in no way
defend the imperialist rivals against the interests of U.S.
finance capital. And it would certainly never extend any lavish
aid to them without a quid pro quo.
The right-wing demagogy of the Buchanans and others actually aids
Bush in this way: it inevitably creates fear in large masses of
people of the specter of fascism, of a right-wing political
assault upon the progressive movement, which can push them toward
Bush and his cohorts.
In the current situation as it is unfolding, however, the
conservative constituency in the Republican party is really narrow
by comparison to the broad mass of the workers and oppressed
masses. Together the latter constitute an overwhelming progressive
force, vastly superior to the ultra-right and its fascist tail in
the form of David Duke, whose followers are scurrying to the
The workers will not be easily fooled to go over to the Bush camp
solely as a reaction to the fear raised by Buchanan's racist,
reactionary, anti-lesbian/gay and anti-Semitic propaganda.
Candidates Paul Tsongas and Bill Clinton were also interviewed by
the Times about the Pentagon document. They took the standard
Democratic Party approach that the U.S. should not engage in these
military hostilities without first attempting to get the UN to
support it. They also questioned the magnitude of the
expenditures, but not the overall purpose.
Document written by civilian sector
This document is the product of the civilian leadership in the
Pentagon and not the military camarilla, as one might assume. It
is, according to the New York Times, written by Paul D. Wolfowitz,
who is described as the Pentagon's Under Secretary for Policy.
Wolfowitz also represents the Pentagon on the Deputies Committee
(deputies to the secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury, etc.)
which formulates policy in an inter-agency process dominated by
the State and Defense departments.
It is impossible to properly decipher exactly what is meant by
this. Suffice it to say that they are civilians, and not the
These civilians are mostly the representatives of the
military-industrial-technological complex--the military
contractors and the banks that support them.
It is often assumed in literature written by bourgeois liberal
critics that the military is autonomous, more often dictating
policy to the industrialists and the government than the other way
Of course, there have been times when the military did assume an
independent role or tried to in times of great international
crises, as MacArthur did during the Korean War. He was fired by
Truman for advocating the invasion of China.
The reaction to this Pentagon document is more reminiscent,
however, of Carter's dismissal of Gen. John Singlaub after he
criticized plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Korea, or of Bush's
retirement of Air Force Gen. Paul Dugan last year after he
disclosed the plans to bomb Iraq. In both cases, the reprimand was
because these officers acted out of turn, making public what the
capitalist government wanted kept secret. But the policy pursued
thereafter was exactly in step with what these top brass had
Overall, the military is an instrument of class rule. Nowhere is
that better demonstrated than in this document written by the
civilians in the Pentagon--copies of which were sent to the
military chiefs and to the White House.
It is clear from this document that it is the industrial half of
the military-industrial complex that is speaking here. It is they
who are most in need of expanding the military establishment and
continuing to build weapons of mass destruction in the face of a
looming economic debacle. But this doesn't mean that the military
is indifferent or opposed to it. Far from it.
However, to build more nuclear weapons at this time, after the
collapse of the Soviet Union, is superfluous. The nuclear weapons
program has cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Now that the
military struggle with the USSR is over, the entire
military-industrial-technological apparatus faces a diminished
exchange value, or market value. It shrinks particularly in
relation to the industrial-technological apparatus of the Japanese
and Germans, most of all because they have no military baggage.
This will be reflected in the daily currency wars between these
capitalist countries. The exchange value of military items, in
terms of world currencies, has sunk sharply. But their capitalist
production continues to mount.
Criticism skirts issue
Such criticism of this document as has appeared to date doesn't go
to the essence of the matter. It is narrow, very mild, and would
scarcely raise an eyebrow in the military-industrial complex.
Leslie Gelb, in his column in the New York Times (March 9),
pretends to criticize the Pentagon plan but in fact goes along
with the whole program. The only fault Gelb finds is that the
document makes no mention of Israel! He is appalled by this
without really analyzing why Israel does not appear under the
umbrella of U.S. protection.
The U.S. genocidal war against Iraq demonstrated one thing: with
the absence of the USSR as a protagonist against U.S. imperialism
(the Gorbachev regime collaborated with the U.S.), the Pentagon
did not need Israel very much. Israel has really served as a
super-giant military base for U.S. military operations.
However, when the Pentagon assembled a vast armada in the
Mediterranean and the Gulf area, it made Israeli military support
Furthermore, the U.S. also demonstrated its military prowess when
it air-lifted in tens of thousands of soldiers and their military
gear, allowed them to directly attack Iraq.
The new Pentagon strategy, which reflects the new position of the
U.S. since the collapse of the USSR, diminishes the significance
of Israel. This is especially true in light of the fact that the
U.S. cowed and subjugated countries in the Middle East like Egypt
and Saudi Arabia, and even Syria, Iran and others. The Israelis
can now play a role only in minor skirmishes that the U.S.
The fact that the U.S. told Israel it would not guarantee a
$10-billion loan (a piddling sum when you consider the many
billions used to build up the Israeli military machine), so that
now Israel is on the verge of withdrawing its request for the
loan, reveals an altogether different situation in the Middle
East. Unfortunately, it does not at this particular historical
conjuncture necessarily help the Palestinians in their struggle.
But that will come as surely as the rising sun.
Monstrous growth of Pentagon
Before World War II, the U.S. War Office occupied a modest
building in the heart of Washington, D.C. It soon felt compelled
to change its name from War Office to Defense Department--an
attempt to take into account the anti-war sentiment of the masses
while at the same time retaining the essence of its function.
It then went on to build the largest office building in the
world--the Pentagon--where it resides to this date. While
utilizing pacifist phrases, it was at the same time preparing for
war. What need was there to go from a modest structure in downtown
D.C. to a metropolis packed into one building?
It was necessary because of the vast increase in the
military-industrial-technological complex. War has become a
function of the capitalist state on such an enormous scale that it
virtually threatens to swallow up all of society.
How is it possible that in the midst of what is admittedly the
worst capitalist crisis since the early 1930s, with almost 10
million people unemployed, the Pentagon planners betray such utter
disregard for the needs of the masses of people, let alone their
aspirations for a better life?
One tends to ponder this when one reads that the Pentagon is
demanding $1.2 trillion over five years to promote the program
outlined in this infamous document.
For the ordinary worker a million is a lot. A billion is
A trillion--which is a thousand billion--is out of sight!
Compare this to the paltry demands made by authentic popular
organizations, which are resisted down to the last penny.
It is impossible for this to go on for any length of time. Sooner
or later there will be a reckoning. What the military leaders, the
industrialists, the bankers, the politicians, propose, the masses
will ultimately dispose.
It's still premature to speculate whether the publication of this
document represents a split in the ruling class regarding the
economic prospects of the military-industrial complex. Its
economic and political weight has been so great up until now that
it may be in for a readjustment at a time when it is demanding
greater, not less, financial support. It is inevitable that some
fissures will arise in the course of the struggle.
The working class movement must have an independent position in
this and not be beguiled by fraudulent promises of a peaceful
conversion of the capitalist economy, as happened right after the
This article originally appeared in Workers World newspaper. A
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