Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Volume 3,  Number 6              March 9 - 15, 2003            Quezon City, Philippines

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How the ‘War on Terrorism’ was Plotted 10 Years Ago 
America’s Current Hegemony in Asia Pacific

The U.S. wars on Afghanistan and Iraq reveal themselves as having been plotted 10 years ago. Two recently-publicized documents, the Defense Policy Guidance of 1992 and the Project for a New American Century (1997), were authored or founded by men who campaigned hard for George W. Bush Jr. for the 2000 presidential race and who now occupy top positions in his administration.

By Bobby Tuazon* 

The past few months have seen the upsurge of a worldwide opposition to the U.S. war on Iraq. In the Feb. 15 coordinated protests, for instance, nearly 20 million anti-war protesters turned out in the streets to voice their indignation against U.S. unilateral action against Iraq. This unilateral action, according to a recent report by a London-based fact-finding mission of doctors, psychologists and researchers would kill four million Iraqi civilians in case of a nuclear holocaust and, according to a United Nations confidential report, another seven million would be needing immediate humanitarian intervention.

Over the past two decades particularly after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European revisionist bloc of countries, the United States has waged wars and covert operations in many countries. Unlike during the 40-year Cold War when such actions had to contend with impediments arising from the Soviet veto power in the United Nations and by the existence of strong liberationist movements, the recent years saw the United States displaying its unipolar power with arrogance and self-righteousness.

We have seen this, for instance, in its war against Afghanistan and its war build-up against Iraq where George W. Bush Jr., the Pentagon and the state department have time and again declared or hinted that they will not be bound by international law, by institutions like the United Nations, or by world public opinion including appeals by Pope John Paul II and Nelson Mandela as they decide the fate of Iraq in the pretext of disarming Saddam Hussein's regime of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

To a growing number of people in the world today, however, it is clear who the greatest threat to international peace and security is. Eight out of 10 Americans, according to a recent Time magazine poll, see the U.S. as the world's greatest threat. Very distant second and third are North Korea and Iraq, respectively.

Many people, whether here at home or abroad, ask what really drives George W. Bush and other superhawks to attack a nation of 26 million who continue to suffer the effects of the 1990-1991 Gulf War, years of economic embargo and deprivation and continuous bombings despite calls from UN members to stop an insane war. A former justice minister of Germany has likened Bush to Adolf Hitler. Nelson Mandela doubts that Bush can think coherently. These are of course remarks by leaders meant to warn the world about a cowboy and a Rambo gone berserk.

There is no question that the impending war on Iraq has another agenda to it, which is in relation to the control of oil and the perpetuation of American hegemony and world domination.

I will not dwell on the economics of the U.S. war on Iraq and instead share some insights related to the greed of the Bush administration to perpetuate American hegemony and world domination. First of all, the U.S. war on Iraq, dubbed as the continuing "war on terror," is part of a coherent world strategy that was conceived more than 10 years ago.

Roots of the grand strategy 

The Bush regime's grand strategy for domination and hegemony of the world  extends beyond the "war on terrorism." This ambitious strategy can be traced in: the Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) of 1992 and the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) founded in 1997.

The DPG of 1992 is a top secret blueprint for world domination prepared by the Department of Defense (DoD) under then U.S. President George Bush, Sr. Its vision is world domination by the unilateral use of U.S. military power to ensure Pax Americana; the assertion of the U.S.’ global interests; and thwarting the rise of any possible power competitor in the future.

DPG particularly stresses America’s non-accountability to its partners and to international laws and institutions. It also recommends a more unilateral and pre-emptive role in attacking its perceived enemies (terrorist threats and confronting rogue states seeking weapons of mass destruction or WMDs).

In DPG, the “war on terrorism” is unveiled. This war to be launched by the American Empire must be seen as a pretext of a bigger strategy for projecting U.S. military power around the world, especially Eurasia, and doing away with the multilateral and institutional constraints that undermine Washington's will and power.

The PNAC of 1997, on the other hand, seeks to consolidate and preserve Pax Americana through the 21st Century primarily by military power/hegemony and secondarily, by economic hegemony. In other words, to create a truly global empire by military force. "At no time in history has the international security order been as conducive to American interests and ideals. The challenge of this coming century is to preserve and enhance this 'American peace,'" its vision partly states.

In 2000, an election year in the United States, the men behind PNAC came up with a report, "Rebuilding America's Defenses - Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." Its authors acknowledged that the paper was based on the 1992 DPG.

Four Core Missions

The "Rebuilding" report has "Four Core Missions" for U.S. Military Forces: defend the American homeland; fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars; perform the "constabulary" duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions; transform U.S. forces to exploit the "revolution in military affairs."

The report also says that to carry out the Four Core Missions, the United States must:

* Maintain nuclear strategic superiority globally;

* Increase active-duty strength of today's force from 1.4 million to 1.6 million;

* Reposition U.S. forces by shifting permanently-based forces to Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia, and by changing naval deployment patterns to reflect growing U.S. strategic interests in East Asia;

* Modernize current U.S. forces selectively (such as sending more attack submarines to Asia; more electronic support, helicopters and aircraft for the Marine Corps);

* Develop and deploy global missile defenses in order to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world;

* Control the new "international commons" of space and "cyberspace" and pave the way for the creation of a new military service - U.S. Space Forces - with the mission of space control;

* Exploit the "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMAs)

* Increase defense spending gradually to a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8% of GDP, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually.

All these programs are being pursued under Bush Jr. Of course, some were in fact begun by his predecessor, Bill Clinton, under a different strategy. Note, for instance, that the U.S. defense budget for this year, which is about $385 billion, approximates the maximum of 3.8% projected under PNAC. The U.S. defense secretary has also asked Congress for more money to finance the recruitment of additional U.S. military manpower.

Specifically, the PNAC project also advocates:

* A much larger military presence spread over more of the globe, in addition to the roughly 140 nations in which U.S. troops are already deployed;

* The U.S. needs more permanent military bases in the Middle East, Southeast Europe, Latin America and in Southeast Asia (where no such bases exist);

* The U.S. will consider developing biological weapons in decades to come;

* Iraq is just the beginning, a pretense for a wider conflict (probably more "regime removals") in the Middle East;

* In Iraq, according to PNAC co-chair Donald Kagan, the U.S. will establish permanent military bases in a post-war Iraq. "We will probably need a major concentration of forces in the Middle East over a long period of time...If we have force in Iraq, there will be no disruption in oil supplies."

* Pinpoints Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Syria and Iran as "dangerous regimes."

The brains behind DPG and PNAC

According to reports, the brains behind the Defense Policy Guidance of 1992 are led by then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney (now Bush Jr.'s vice president); Paul Wolfowitz (now U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense); and I. Lewis Libby (now Dick Cheney's chief of staff)

These top Bush associates are also among PNAC’s founding members: Cheney; Donald Rumsfeld (now Bush Jr.'s Secretary of Defense); Wolfowitz (PNAC's ideologue); Condoleezza Rice (now Bush Jr.'s National Security Adviser); Zalmay Khalilzad (an Afghan CIA asset became senior director of the National Security Council; now Bush Jr.'s special envoy in Kabul and to the anti-Saddam Iraqi opposition)’

Jeb Bush (brother of George Jr. and governor of Florida); John Bolton (now undersecretary of state); Stephen Cambone (head of Pentagon's Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation); Eliot Cohen & Devon Cross (members of Defense Policy Board, which advises Rumsfeld); Dov Zakheim ( comptroller for the defense department); Bruce Jackson (now with Lockheed Martin, a major defense contractor); William Kristol (of the conservative Weekly Standard which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, owner of international media giant Fox News and a leading supporter of the war against Iraq); Donald Kagan (also ideologue, now co-chairs PNAC).

Some of the DPG and PNAC men are old Asia hands, i.e., those who have advocated a more aggressive and military-oriented U.S. hegemony in Asia including Southeast Asia. The men behind DPG and PNAC, led by Bush Jr. himself, lead the elite circle of 100 powerful men who occupy the top positions of the U.S. government bringing with them their connections to the oil industry and the military-industrial complex.

PNAC, meanwhile, has given birth to "The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq" which funds anti-Saddam opposition and heir presumptive, Ahmed Chalabi (an Enron-like businessman wanted by Jordan for bank fraud).

PNAC is staffed by men linked to groups like "Friends of the Democratic Center in Central America" which backed U.S.'s bloody covert operations in Nicaragua and El Salvador; and "The Committee for the Present Danger," which during the 1980s under Ronald Reagan pushed for a "winnable" nuclear war with the USSR.

Bush Jr.'s strategies and doctrines

When George W. Bush, Jr. took over as president of the United States in 2001, the men behind DPG and PNAC wasted no time implementing their military blueprints. Translating the two blueprints for U.S. global hegemony and domination in just two years of his presidency, Bush, Jr. defined his government's military strategies and doctrines:

* National Security Strategy (NSS, Sept. 17, 2002)

* Pre-Emptive Doctrine (June, West Point speech, 2002)

* Nuclear Posture Review (January, 2002)

* Quadrennial Defense Review of 2001 (Sept. 30, 2001)

* Theory of Less Casualties, New Weapons Technology and the Training of Surrogate Armies

* Unilateralism and the Manipulation of Temporary Coalitions

* Regime Change or Regime Removal

Basically, the Bush regime's world strategies and military doctrines assert American internationalism (spreading America's free market, open market and other globalization paradigms) throughout the world and unilateralism in which the United States will not be bound by international law and global institutions or by invocations of national sovereignty and territorial integrity; warn against potential competitors who intend to challenge American unipolar power; the acquisition of more bases and military stations beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia; the right of the U.S. to strike first against security threats (pre-emptive doctrine) under which the U.S. is justified to use nuclear weapons; increase America's forward deployed forces and the conduct of more military trainings and joint war exercises.

America’s economic, geopolitical and military objectives in Asia Pacific

For more than a century, America has considered itself the dominant hegemon in Asia Pacific, having conquered Samoa, Hawaii, Guam and the Philippines and invaded China to repress the Boxer Rebellion; it has also fought three major wars in Asia. U.S. trade with Asia Pacific surpasses that with Europe, with more than $500 billion in trade and investment of more than $150 billion. About 400,000 U.S. non-military citizens live and conduct business in the region.

Meanwhile, Southeast Asia (pop.: 525 million) has a combined GNP of $700 billion and is America's 5th largest trading partner and $35 billion direct investment (1998) in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore; most of Fortune's Top 500 TNCs have significant interests in the region. There are vast oil and gas reserves in Indonesia and Brunei; as well as in Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.

To the United States, furthermore, Southeast Asia is "a place of great geopolitical consequence" because it sits aside some of the world's most critical sealanes. According to the Council on Foreign Relations which advises Bush Jr., more than $1.3 trillion in merchandise trade passed through the Strait of Malacca and Lombok in 1999 (nearly half of the world trade) including crucial supplies from the Persian Gulf to Japan, South Korea and China. South China Sea particularly Spratlys and Paracels are believed to have significant oil reserves."

Especially today, the United States wants to make sure the control of these sealanes does not fall into the hands of its “enemies.” These sealanes are a strategic part of the network of oil extraction, production and distribution which is being consolidated by the United States linking the Caspian and Gulf Regions, Asian oil and natural gas fields and markets and the American mainland.

Bush’s imperial thinkers and power players show a particular bias on Asia Pacific. Among these are RAND Corporation (funded by Pentagon particularly U.S. Air Force; formerly chaired by Donald Rumsfeld with Zalmay Khalilzad as senior consultant); the Council on Foreign Relations; Center for Security Policy (which is also identified with Rumsfeld) - headed by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. with 8 top CEOs from defense contractors on its board); Carlyle Group (headed by Frank Carlucci, ex-deputy director of CIA and former defense secretary of Reagan; with Bush Sr. and Fidel V. Ramos as Asian advisers). Carlyle is actually the U.S.'s 11th largest defense contractor with significant interest in Asia; Heritage Foundation (official right wing think tank of the Republican Party).

In 2001, RAND came up with a report, "The United States and Asia: Toward a New U.S. Strategy and Force Posture." This report recommends shifting U.S. forces toward the Philippines, Guam, Southeast Asia and other countries close to Taiwan. The report’s lead author was Zalmay Khalilzad.

A year earlier, this think tank in a report, "The Role of Southeast Asia in U.S. Strategy Toward China," also stressed that China's emergence as a major regional power over the next 10-15 years could intensify U.S.-China competition in Southeast Asia and increase the potential for armed conflict. "Economic growth in the region, which is important to the economic security of the U.S., depends on preserving American presence and influence in the region and unrestricted access to sea lanes," RAND said.

The Council on Foreign Relations, on the other hand, in a Memorandum to Bush Jr. in May 2001 ("The U.S. and Southeast Asia: A Policy Agenda for the New Administration") argued for a more assertive U.S. military stance in the region: "The (Bush Jr.) administration should preserve a credible military presence and a viable regional training and support infrastructure" specifying "high-priority efforts" in the areas of "joint and combined military training exercises and individual and small group exchanges and training."

The Heritage Foundation also argued that the "war against terrorism" would ultimately be pursued in Southeast Asia with or without the express approval of local governments.

Again, PNAC envisions some specific operative plans for Asia Pacific:

* In Asia, deploying more troops to beef up the presence of 100,000 U.S. forces to address new challenges for the 21st Century;

* Key to coping with the rise of China to great-power status is the increase in military strength in East Asia and Southeast Asia;

* A heightened U.S. military presence in Southeast Asia will provide the core around which a de facto military coalition (a la NATO) will be formed;

* Reduce the frequency of carrier presence in the Mediterranean and the Gulf while increasing U.S. Navy presence in the Pacific;

* For this reason, it is preferable, for strategic and operational reasons, to create a second major home port for a carrier battle group in the southern Pacific - in the Philippines or Australia;

* Establish a network of "deployment bases" or "forward operating bases" to improve the ability to project force to outlying regions. Prepositioned materiel would speed the initial deployment and improve the sustainability of U.S. forces when deployed for training, joint training with the host nation, or operations in time of crisis. (e.g. MLSA)

The Carlyle Group, which is worth $13.5 billion, a private empire which operates in the shadows of government, military and industry and spans three continents including Asia; owns companies making tanks, aircraft wings and other military hardware.

In the company are former U.S. President George Bush, Sr. (head of the Asia advisory board); former British PM John Major; Frank Carlucci, former Reagan defense secretary; former President Fidel V. Ramos (Asia advisory board); and other world leaders.

Carlyle has large investments and big acquisitions in South Korea, Taiwan and China. Carlyle has a $4 million infrastructure project in Basilan, part of Balikatan 02-1.


At this point, let me summarize that most public declarations and policy statements made by the U.S. government emphasize that the targets of America's current security objectives are to prevent the rise of a regional hegemon like China, "regime change" in North Korea for possession of WMDs, to wage war against "transnational terrorism" and insurgencies and other security threats.

But the secret reports, security strategies, doctrines and actuations of the U.S. government that give emphasis on the use of military power reveal beyond reasonable doubt that the main objective is to consolidate and preserve U.S. hegemony and domination in Asia Pacific and the whole world. The objective is to prolong Pax Americana through the 21st Century.

America’s current hegemonic operations in Asia Pacific

Today in Asia Pacific, the United States aggressively pursues its agenda for the region. It maintains the largest military command here (U.S. Pacific Command of USPACOM). PACOM interacts with the armed forces of 14 of Asia Pacific's 45 countries. The number of U.S. troops on land and afloat in the region has surpassed those forward-deployed in Europe: 100,000 troops are based in Japan (60,000) and South Korea (37,000), with the rest in Guam, afloat or on various attachments.

The U.S.-Japan alliance - the linchpin of U.S. security in the region, with Japan playing an increasingly aggressive role. Bilateral military alliances with Australia, Thailand and the Philippines; reinforced by access or basing agreements with Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka.

The United States also relies on a stronger military partnership with Australia while seeking a new strategic partnership with India and Pakistan. It plans to reinstall its military bases in Southeast Asia (either in the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, Indonesia or Singapore). It is also laying the ground for a regional military alliance or treaty in the guise of fighting terrorism.

The Sept. 11, 2001 events, which ignited Bush's "war without borders" (or "Operation Enduring Freedom"), were seized upon by Bush to reverse the decline of the U.S. military presence in Asia Pacific and to aggressively assert U.S. hegemonic interests. In this regard, the Bush regime opened the "second front" in Bush's "war without borders" using the Philippines as a template (or model) for greater military presence and power projection in the region. The Philippines will serve as the epicenter in the new U.S. military strategy in the circumference of Asia Pacific.

It has also increased military aid to Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines and other countries; increased arms sales. It has also increased military trainings and funds to support these as well as "forward-deployed forces" and enhanced their capability through the deployment of Special Operations Forces, covert operations, war materiel and other equipment.

It is launching renewed offensive moves against North Korea, hastened plan to build a missile defense system in the Korean Peninsula.


U.S. hegemony in Asia Pacific is a reality and showcases a strategic part of the American Empire that is undergoing consolidation with a vision that will last through the 21st Century.

I submit that the debate on whether there is really U.S. imperialism or a global American Empire should now be put to rest. In the United States itself, there is a growing advocacy or acceptance even in many conservative circles, institutions, think tanks, universities and media that there is indeed an American Empire and that it is the only the way that the world can be saved from doom. The only distinction which they want the world to believe is that, unlike empires in past centuries, this American Empire is "benign" and "benevolent" and is performing a role which no other nation can pursue in order to preserve "democracy and freedom" across the globe and resist threats posed by "evils," "rogue regimes" and forces of radicalism.

But this American Empire is something the American people themselves loathe simply because they also suffer under the rule of the U.S. oligarchs and their freedoms and civil liberties continue to be threatened. It is an empire imposed upon the world by America's ruling regime on behalf of corporate giants, the military-industrial-media complex, the oil-igarchy and other elite interests. It is an empire that is supported by right-wing power players, militarists, free market ideologues, Jewish neo-conservatives, leaders of the Christian and Catholic right and anti-socialists. Under Bush Jr., the military-industrial complex is no longer invisible - it has become the most visible, most articulate and most aggressive driving force behind America's wars for world hegemony and domination today.

In order to preserve the American Empire that will rule the world for as long as can be sustained, the strategists and politico-military leaders of this grand project are more and more relying on the use of military power precisely because America's economic power is on the decline. America's right-wing leaders and militarists believe that economic impositions through the instruments of the Bretton Woods institutions (the IMF, WB, GATT-WTO) no longer suffice to preserve American hegemony and domination of the world. With arrogance and self-righteousness, they believe that the American Empire cannot exist under current international law, ethical concepts, multilateralism and global institutions like the United Nations because of the constraints and impediments that these pose on America's will and action. To them, principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity, self-determination and dignity are just concepts best learned only in school. To them, the concept of Pax Americana should be asserted through unipolar military superiority, warlordism, aggression, moral absolutism and a global ideological offensive using U.S. media oligopolies. Their ideological offensive centers on drumming up an apocalyptic conflict between "Good and Evil."

It is clear how this strategy is being applied in Asia Pacific and across the globe under the Bush Jr. administration and I personally do not see any change coming even if Bush Jr. is no longer president of the United States. Using the pretext of "war against terrorism" and other so-called threats to the security of the region, the U.S. government is increasingly and steadily deploying its forces; building and rebuilding its military bases; forming and training more surrogate armies; securing stronger and more reliable military alliances and security partnerships, gaining more access to ports, airfields and air spaces. But soon the combat missions that we now see in the Philippines particularly in Mindanao will be replicated throughout the Philippines, in Southeast Asia and other parts of the Asia Pacific. America's objective in Asia Pacific is to maintain a strong military power never seen before in the entire history of the region.

U.S. military power in the region addresses the American Empire's strategic objectives to contain the rise of power competitors such as - but not limited to - China, and deter the growth of other threats to its hegemony including revolutionary movements and the rise of independent regimes.

Because Asia Pacific is a vast mass of land and sea territory with huge economic and geopolitical potentials, and because it is contiguous to the American mainland and its Pacific territories, this region remains of strategic interest to the United States. Without a strong power projection in Asia Pacific, America's drive for global hegemony and domination will be threatened.

To the peoples of Asia Pacific however the threat to their independence and security is and will always be U.S. imperialism. So much blood has been spilled because of U.S. imperialism which has been asserting itself here for more than a century. The independence, sovereignty, freedom, self-determination and economic growth of many nations - including the possible reunification of countries divided by post-war U.S. intervention in the region - are always threatened because of U.S. imperialism. Tensions and instabilities particularly in the Korean Peninsula, in the China-Taiwan conflict and other hotpots in the region are heightened because of U.S. interventionism.

But, just as the previous world wars led to the rise of independence and liberationist movements throughout the world, the U.S. "war on terrorism" has led to the reawakening of the peoples of Asia Pacific to the real threat to humanity. More and more peoples are standing up against U.S. imperialism. Especially in Muslim countries, the "war against terrorism" is beginning to appear as a war against the world particularly against Muslims who oppose foreign domination. Today, the more U.S. imperialism displays its arrogance and military power, the more resistance it will generate.

George W. Bush, Jr. has declared a "war against terrorism" - a "war without borders" and without time limit. This, he said, is America's "war of the century." Let us instead turn America's "war of the century" into the "Century's War Against U.S. Imperialism." Bulatlat.com


*This paper is the guiding text of a power point presentation during a Workshop on Asia-Pacific at the International Conference on War and Globalization, March 1, 2003, School of Economics, UP Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. The workshop was sponsored by Bayan and the International League of Peoples’ Struggle while the entire conference was organized by IBON Foundation.

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