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Understanding WAR

Abou Sandal

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter

WEDNESDAY, JUN 10, 2015 06:45 PM MEDT

American imperialists are deluding themselves: Henry Kissinger, George W. Bush and the end of U.S. hegemony

The former secretary of state lauds W's "courage" in Iraq. Here's what he and his fellow hawks refuse to accept

(Credit: AP/Sergey Ponomarev)

For even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently, they have missed the significance of the rapid global changes in Eurasia that are in the process of undermining the grand strategy for world dominion that Washington has pursued these past seven decades.

A glance at what passes for insider “wisdom” in Washington these days reveals a worldview of stunning insularity. Take Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye, Jr., known for his concept of “soft power,” as an example. Offering a simple list of ways in which he believes U.S. military, economic, and cultural power remains singular and superior, he recently argued that there was no force, internal or global, capable of eclipsing America’s future as the world’s premier power.

For those pointing to Beijing’s surging economy and proclaiming this “the Chinese century,” Nye offered up a roster of negatives: China’s per capita income “will take decades to catch up (if ever)” with America’s; it has myopically “focused its policies primarily on its region”; and it has “not developed any significant capabilities for global force projection.” Above all, Nye claimed, China suffers “geopolitical disadvantages in the internal Asian balance of power, compared to America.”

Or put it this way (and in this Nye is typical of a whole world of Washington thinking): with more allies, ships, fighters, missiles, money, patents, and blockbuster movies than any other power, Washington wins hands down.

If Professor Nye paints power by the numbers, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s latest tome, modestly titled World Order and hailed in reviews as nothing less than a revelation, adopts a Nietzschean perspective. The ageless Kissinger portrays global politics as plastic and so highly susceptible to shaping by great leaders with a will to power. By this measure, in the tradition of master European diplomats Charles de Talleyrand and Prince Metternich, President Theodore Roosevelt was a bold visionary who launched “an American role in managing the Asia-Pacific equilibrium.” On the other hand, Woodrow Wilson’s idealistic dream of national self-determination rendered him geopolitically inept and Franklin Roosevelt was blind to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s steely “global strategy.” Harry Truman, in contrast, overcame national ambivalence to commit “America to the shaping of a new international order,” a policy wisely followed by the next 12 presidents.

Among the most “courageous” of them, Kissinger insists, was that leader of “courage, dignity, and conviction,” George W. Bush, whose resolute bid for the “transformation of Iraq from among the Middle East’s most repressive states to a multiparty democracy” would have succeeded, had it not been for the “ruthless” subversion of his work by Syria and Iran. In such a view, geopolitics has no place; only the bold vision of “statesmen” and kings really matters.

And perhaps that’s a comforting perspective in Washington at a moment when America’s hegemony is visibly crumbling amid a tectonic shift in global power.

With Washington’s anointed seers strikingly obtuse on the subject of geopolitical power, perhaps it’s time to get back to basics. That means returning to the foundational text of modern geopolitics, which remains an indispensible guide even though it was published in an obscure British geography journal well over a century ago.

Sir Halford Invents Geopolitics

On a cold London evening in January 1904, Sir Halford Mackinder, the director of the London School of Economics, “entranced” an audience at the Royal Geographical Society on Savile Row with a paper boldly titled “The Geographical Pivot of History.” This presentation evinced, said the society’s president, “a brilliancy of description… we have seldom had equaled in this room.”

Mackinder argued that the future of global power lay not, as most British then imagined, in controlling the global sea lanes, but in controlling a vast land mass he called “Euro-Asia.” By turning the globe away from America to place central Asia at the planet’s epicenter, and then tilting the Earth’s axis northward just a bit beyond Mercator’s equatorial projection, Mackinder redrew and thus reconceptualized the world map.

His new map showed Africa, Asia, and Europe not as three separate continents, but as a unitary land mass, a veritable “world island.” Its broad, deep “heartland” — 4,000 miles from the Persian Gulf to the Siberian Sea — was so enormous that it could only be controlled from its “rimlands” in Eastern Europe or what he called its maritime “marginal” in the surrounding seas.

Click here to see a larger version

Mackinder’s Concept of the World Island, From The Geographical Journal (1904)

The “discovery of the Cape road to the Indies” in the sixteenth century, Mackinder wrote, “endowed Christendom with the widest possible mobility of power… wrapping her influence round the Euro-Asiatic land-power which had hitherto threatened her very existence.” This greater mobility, he later explained, gave Europe’s seamen “superiority for some four centuries over the landsmen of Africa and Asia.”

Yet the “heartland” of this vast landmass, a “pivot area” stretching from the Persian Gulf to China’s Yangtze River, remained nothing less than the Archimedean fulcrum for future world power. “Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island,” went Mackinder’s later summary of the situation. “Who rules the World-Island commands the world.” Beyond the vast mass of that world island, which made up nearly 60% of the Earth’s land area, lay a less consequential hemisphere covered with broad oceans and a few outlying “smaller islands.” He meant, of course, Australia and the Americas.

For an earlier generation, the opening of the Suez Canal and the advent of steam shipping had “increased the mobility of sea-power [relative] to land power.” But future railways could “work the greater wonder in the steppe,” Mackinder claimed, undercutting the cost of sea transport and shifting the locus of geopolitical power inland. In the fullness of time, the “pivot state” of Russia might, in alliance with another power like Germany, expand “over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia,” allowing “the use of vast continental resources for fleet-building, and the empire of the world would be in sight.”

For the next two hours, as he read through a text thick with the convoluted syntax and classical references expected of a former Oxford don, his audience knew that they were privy to something extraordinary. Several stayed after to offer extended commentaries. For instance, the renowned military analyst Spenser Wilkinson, the first to hold a chair in military history at Oxford, pronounced himself unconvinced about “the modern expansion of Russia,” insisting that British and Japanese naval power would continue the historic function of holding “the balance between the divided forces… on the continental area.”

Pressed by his learned listeners to consider other facts or factors, including “air as a means of locomotion,” Mackinder responded: “My aim is not to predict a great future for this or that country, but to make a geographical formula into which you could fit any political balance.” Instead of specific events, Mackinder was reaching for a general theory about the causal connection between geography and global power. “The future of the world,” he insisted, “depends on the maintenance of [a] balance of power” between sea powers such as Britain or Japan operating from the maritime marginal and “the expansive internal forces” within the Euro-Asian heartland they were intent on containing.

Not only did Mackinder give voice to a worldview that would influence Britain’s foreign policy for several decades, but he had, in that moment,created the modern science of “geopolitics” — the study of how geography can, under certain circumstances, shape the destiny of whole peoples, nations, and empires.

That night in London was, of course, more than a long time ago. It was another age. England was still mourning the death of Queen Victoria. Teddy Roosevelt was president. Henry Ford had just opened a small auto plant in Detroit to make his Model-A, an automobile with a top speed of 28 miles per hour. Only a month earlier, the Wright brothers’ “Flyer” had taken to the air for the first time — 120 feet of air, to be exact.

Yet, for the next 110 years, Sir Halford Mackinder’s words would offer a prism of exceptional precision when it came to understanding the often obscure geopolitics driving the world’s major conflicts — two world wars, a Cold War, America’s Asian wars (Korea and Vietnam), two Persian Gulf wars, and even the endless pacification of Afghanistan. The question today is: How can Sir Halford help us understand not only centuries past, but the half-century still to come?

Britannia Rules the Waves

In the age of sea power that lasted just over 400 years — from 1602 to the Washington Disarmament Conference of 1922 — the great powers competed to control the Eurasian world island via the surrounding sea lanes that stretched for 15,000 miles from London to Tokyo. The instrument of power was, of course, the ship — first men-o’-war, then battleships, submarines, and aircraft carriers. While land armies slogged through the mud of Manchuria or France in battles with mind-numbing casualties, imperial navies skimmed over the seas, maneuvering for the control of whole coasts and continents.

At the peak of its imperial power circa 1900, Great Britain ruled the waves with a fleet of 300 capital ships and 30 naval bastions, bases that ringed the world island from the North Atlantic at Scapa Flow through the Mediterranean at Malta and Suez to Bombay, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Just as the Roman Empire enclosed the Mediterranean, making it Mare Nostrum (“Our Sea”), British power would make the Indian Ocean its own “closed sea,” securing its flanks with army forces on India’s Northwest Frontier and barring both Persians and Ottomans from building naval bases on the Persian Gulf.

By that maneuver, Britain also secured control over Arabia and Mesopotamia, strategic terrain that Mackinder had termed “the passage-land from Europe to the Indies” and the gateway to the world island’s “heartland.” From this geopolitical perspective, the nineteenth century was, at heart, a strategic rivalry, often called “the Great Game,” between Russia “in command of nearly the whole of the Heartland… knocking at the landward gates of the Indies,” and Britain “advancing inland from the sea gates of India to meet the menace from the northwest.” In other words, Mackinder concluded, “the final Geographical Realities” of the modern age were sea power versus land power or “the World-Island and the Heartland.”

Intense rivalries, first between England and France, then England and Germany, helped drive a relentless European naval arms race that raised the price of sea power to unsustainable levels. In 1805, Admiral Nelson’s flagship, the HMS Victory, with its oaken hull weighing just 3,500 tons, sailed into the battle of Trafalgar against Napoleon’s navy at nine knots, its 100 smooth-bore cannon firing 42-pound balls at a range of no more than 400 yards.

In 1906, just a century later, Britain launched the world’s first modern battleship, the HMS Dreadnought, its foot-thick steel hull weighing 20,000 tons, its steam turbines allowing speeds of 21 knots, and its mechanized 12-inch guns rapid-firing 850-pound shells up to 12 miles. The cost for this leviathan was £1.8 million, equivalent to nearly $300 million today. Within a decade, half-a-dozen powers had emptied their treasuries to build whole fleets of these lethal, lavishly expensive battleships.

Thanks to a combination of technological superiority, global reach, and naval alliances with the U.S. and Japan, a Pax Britannica would last a full century, 1815 to 1914. In the end, however, this global system was marked by an accelerating naval arms race, volatile great-power diplomacy, and a bitter competition for overseas empire that imploded into the mindless slaughter of World War I, leaving 16 million dead by 1918.

Mackinder’s Century

As the eminent imperial historian Paul Kennedy once observed, “the rest of the twentieth century bore witness to Mackinder’s thesis,” with two world wars fought over his “rimlands” running from Eastern Europe through the Middle East to East Asia. Indeed, World War I was, as Mackinder himself later observed, “a straight duel between land-power and sea-power.” At war’s end in 1918, the sea powers — Britain, America, and Japan — sent naval expeditions to Archangel, the Black Sea, and Siberia to contain Russia’s revolution inside its “heartland.”

Reflecting Mackinder’s influence on geopolitical thinking in Germany, Adolf Hitler would risk his Reich in a misbegotten effort to capture the Russian heartland as Lebensraum, or living space, for his “master race.” Sir Halford’s work helped shape the ideas of German geographer Karl Haushofer, founder of the journal Zeitschrift für Geopolitik, proponent of the concept ofLebensraum, and adviser to Adolf Hitler and his deputy führer, Rudolf Hess.In 1942, the Führer dispatched a million men, 10,000 artillery pieces, and 500 tanks to breach the Volga River at Stalingrad. In the end, his forces suffered 850,000 wounded, killed, and captured in a vain attempt to break through the East European rimland into the world island’s pivotal region.

A century after Mackinder’s seminal treatise, another British scholar, imperial historian John Darwin, argued in his magisterial survey After Tamerlane that the United States had achieved its “colossal Imperium… on an unprecedented scale” in the wake of World War II by becoming the first power in history to control the strategic axial points “at both ends of Eurasia” (his rendering of Mackinder’s “Euro-Asia”). With fears of Chinese and Russian expansion serving as the “catalyst for collaboration,” the U.S. won imperial bastions in both Western Europe and Japan. With these axial points as anchors, Washington then built an arc of military bases that followed Britain’s maritime template and were visibly meant to encircle the world island.

America’s Axial Geopolitics

Having seized the axial ends of the world island from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in 1945, for the next 70 years the United States relied on ever-thickening layers of military power to contain China and Russia inside that Eurasian heartland. Stripped of its ideological foliage, Washington’s grand strategy of Cold War-era anticommunist “containment” was little more than a process of imperial succession. A hollowed-out Britain was replaced astride the maritime “marginal,” but the strategic realities remained essentially the same.

Indeed, in 1943, two years before World War II ended, an aging Mackinderpublished his last article, “The Round World and the Winning of the Peace,” in the influential U.S. journal Foreign Affairs. In it, he reminded Americans aspiring to a “grand strategy” for an unprecedented version of planetary hegemony that even their “dream of a global air power” would not change geopolitical basics. “If the Soviet Union emerges from this war as conqueror of Germany,” he warned, “she must rank as the greatest land power on the globe,” controlling the “greatest natural fortress on earth.”

When it came to the establishment of a new post-war Pax Americana, first and foundational for the containment of Soviet land power would be the U.S. Navy. Its fleets would come to surround the Eurasian continent, supplementing and then supplanting the British navy: the Sixth Fleet was based at Naples in 1946 for control of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea; the Seventh Fleet at Subic Bay, Philippines, in 1947, for the Western Pacific; and the Fifth Fleet at Bahrain in the Persian Gulf since 1995.

Next, American diplomats added layers of encircling military alliances — the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949), the Middle East Treaty Organization (1955), the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (1954), and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty (1951).

By 1955, the U.S. also had a global network of 450 military bases in 36 countries aimed, in large part, at containing the Sino-Soviet bloc behind an Iron Curtain that coincided to a surprising degree with Mackinder’s “rimlands” around the Eurasian landmass. By the Cold War’s end in 1990, the encirclement of communist China and Russia required 700 overseas bases, an air force of 1,763 jet fighters, a vast nuclear arsenal, more than 1,000 ballistic missiles, and a navy of 600 ships, including 15 nuclear carrier battle groups — all linked by the world’s only global system of communications satellites.

As the fulcrum for Washington’s strategic perimeter around the world island, the Persian Gulf region has for nearly 40 years been the site of constant American intervention, overt and covert. The 1979 revolution in Iran meant the loss of a keystone country in the arch of U.S. power around the Gulf and left Washington struggling to rebuild its presence in the region. To that end, it would simultaneously back Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in its war against revolutionary Iran and arm the most extreme of the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

It was in this context that Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, unleashed his strategy for the defeat of the Soviet Union with a sheer geopolitical agility still little understood even today. In 1979, Brzezinski, a déclassé Polish aristocrat uniquely attuned to his native continent’s geopolitical realities, persuaded Carter to launch Operation Cyclone with massive funding that reached $500 million annually by the late 1980s. Its goal: to mobilize Muslim militants to attack the Soviet Union’s soft Central Asian underbelly and drive a wedge of radical Islam deep into the Soviet heartland. It was to simultaneously inflict a demoralizing defeat on the Red Army in Afghanistan and cut Eastern Europe’s “rimland” free from Moscow’s orbit. “We didn’t push the Russians to intervene [in Afghanistan],” Brzezinski said in 1998, explaining his geopolitical masterstroke in this Cold War edition of the Great Game, “but we knowingly increased the probability that they would… That secret operation was an excellent idea. Its effect was to draw the Russians into the Afghan trap.”

Asked about this operation’s legacy when it came to creating a militant Islam hostile to the U.S., Brzezinski, who studied and frequently cited Mackinder, was coolly unapologetic. “What is most important to the history of the world?” he asked. “The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?”

Yet even America’s stunning victory in the Cold War with the implosion of the Soviet Union would not transform the geopolitical fundamentals of the world island. As a result, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Washington’s first foreign foray in the new era would involve an attempt to reestablish its dominant position in the Persian Gulf, using Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait as a pretext.

In 2003, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, imperial historian Paul Kennedy returned to Mackinder’s century-old treatise to explain this seemingly inexplicable misadventure. “Right now, with hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops in the Eurasian rimlands,” Kennedy wrote in the Guardian, “it looks as if Washington is taking seriously Mackinder’s injunction to ensure control of ‘the geographical pivot of history.’” If we interpret these remarks expansively, the sudden proliferation of U.S. bases across Afghanistan and Iraq should be seen as yet another imperial bid for a pivotal position at the edge of the Eurasian heartland, akin to those old British colonial forts along India’s Northwest Frontier.

In the ensuing years, Washington attempted to replace some of its ineffective boots on the ground with drones in the air. By 2011, the Air Force and the CIA had ringed the Eurasian landmass with 60 bases for its armada of drones. By then, its workhorse Reaper, armed with Hellfire missiles and GBU-30 bombs, had a range of 1,150 miles, which meant that from those bases it could strike targets almost anywhere in Africa and Asia.

Significantly, drone bases now dot the maritime margins around the world island — from Sigonella, Sicily, to Icerlik, Turkey; Djibouti on the Red Sea; Qatar and Abu Dhabi on the Persian Gulf; the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean; Jalalabad, Khost, Kandahar, and Shindand in Afghanistan; and in the Pacific, Zamboanga in the Philippines and Andersen Air Base on the island ofGuam, among other places. To patrol this sweeping periphery, the Pentagon is spending $10 billion to build an armada of 99 Global Hawk dronesequipped with high-resolution cameras capable of surveilling all terrain within a hundred-mile radius, electronic sensors that can sweep up communications, and efficient engines capable of 35 hours of continuous flight and a range of 8,700 miles.

China’s Strategy

Washington’s moves, in other words, represent something old, even if on a previously unimaginable scale. But the rise of China as the world’s largest economy, inconceivable a century ago, represents something new and so threatens to overturn the maritime geopolitics that have shaped world power for the past 400 years. Instead of focusing purely on building a blue-water navy like the British or a global aerospace armada akin to America’s, China is reaching deep within the world island in an attempt to thoroughly reshape the geopolitical fundamentals of global power. It is using a subtle strategy that has so far eluded Washington’s power elites.

After decades of quiet preparation, Beijing has recently begun revealing its grand strategy for global power, move by careful move. Its two-step plan is designed to build a transcontinental infrastructure for the economic integration of the world island from within, while mobilizing military forces to surgically slice through Washington’s encircling containment.

The initial step has involved a breathtaking project to put in place an infrastructure for the continent’s economic integration. By laying down an elaborate and enormously expensive network of high-speed, high-volume railroads as well as oil and natural gas pipelines across the vast breadth of Eurasia, China may realize Mackinder’s vision in a new way. For the first time in history, the rapid transcontinental movement of critical cargo — oil, minerals, and manufactured goods — will be possible on a massive scale, thereby potentially unifying that vast landmass into a single economic zone stretching 6,500 miles from Shanghai to Madrid. In this way, the leadership in Beijing hopes to shift the locus of geopolitical power away from the maritime periphery and deep into the continent’s heartland.

“Trans-continental railways are now transmuting the conditions of land power,” wrote Mackinder back in 1904 as the “precarious” single track of the Trans-Siberian Railway, the world’s longest, reached across the continent for 5,700 miles from Moscow toward Vladivostok. “But the century will not be old before all Asia is covered with railways,” he added. “The spaces within the Russian Empire and Mongolia are so vast, and their potentialities in… fuel and metals so incalculably great that a vast economic world, more or less apart, will there develop inaccessible to oceanic commerce.”

Mackinder was a bit premature in his prediction. The Russian revolution of 1917, the Chinese revolution of 1949, and the subsequent 40 years of the Cold War slowed any real development for decades. In this way, the Euro-Asian “heartland” was denied economic growth and integration, thanks in part to artificial ideological barriers — the Iron Curtain and then the Sino-Soviet split — that stalled any infrastructure construction across the vast Eurasian land mass. No longer.

Only a few years after the Cold War ended, former National Security Adviser Brzezinski, by then a contrarian sharply critical of the global views of both Republican and Democratic policy elites, began raising warning flags about Washington’s inept style of geopolitics. “Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago,” he wrote in 1998, essentially paraphrasing Mackinder, “Eurasia has been the center of world power. A power that dominates ‘Eurasia’ would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions… rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent.”

While such a geopolitical logic has eluded Washington, it’s been well understood in Beijing. Indeed, in the last decade China has launched the world’s largest burst of infrastructure investment, already a trillion dollars and counting, since Washington started the U.S. Interstate Highway System back in the 1950s. The numbers for the rails and pipelines it’s been building are mind numbing. Between 2007 and 2014, China criss-crossed its countryside with 9,000 miles of new high-speed rail, more than the rest of the world combined. The system now carries 2.5 million passengers daily at top speeds of 240 miles per hour. By the time the system is complete in 2030, it will have added up to 16,000 miles of high-speed track at a cost of $300 billion, linking all of China’s major cities.

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China-Central Asia Infrastructure Integrates the World Island (Source: Stratfor)

Simultaneously, China’s leadership began collaborating with surrounding states on a massive project to integrate the country’s national rail network into a transcontinental grid. Starting in 2008, the Germans and Russians joined with the Chinese in launching the “Eurasian Land Bridge.” Two east-west routes, the old Trans-Siberian in the north and a new southern route along the ancient Silk Road through Kazakhstan are meant to bind all of Eurasia together. On the quicker southern route, containers of high-value manufactured goods, computers, and auto parts started travelling 6,700 miles from Leipzig, Germany, to Chongqing, China, in just 20 days, about half the 35 days such goods now take via ship.

In 2013, Deutsche Bahn AG (German Rail) began preparing a third route between Hamburg and Zhengzhou that has now cut travel time to just 15 days, while Kazakh Rail opened a Chongqing-Duisburg link with similar times. In October 2014, China announced plans for the construction of the world’s longest high-speed rail line at a cost of $230 billion. According to plans, trains will traverse the 4,300 miles between Beijing and Moscow in just two days.

In addition, China is building two spur lines running southwest and due south toward the world island’s maritime “marginal.” In April, President Xi Jinpingsigned an agreement with Pakistan to spend $46 billion on a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Highway, rail links, and pipelines will stretch nearly 2,000 miles from Kashgar in Xinjiang, China’s westernmost province, to a joint port facility at Gwadar, Pakistan, opened back in 2007. China hasinvested more than $200 billion in the building of this strategic port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea, just 370 miles from the Persian Gulf. Starting in 2011, China also began extending its rail lines through Laos into Southeast Asia at an initial cost of $6.2 billion. In the end, a high-speed line is expected to take passengers and goods on a trip of just 10 hours from Kunming to Singapore.

In this same dynamic decade, China has constructed a comprehensive network of trans-continental gas and oil pipelines to import fuels from the whole of Eurasia for its population centers — in the north, center, and southeast. In 2009, after a decade of construction, the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) opened the final stage of the Kazakhstan-China Oil Pipeline. It stretches 1,400 miles from the Caspian Sea to Xinjiang.

Simultaneously, CNPC collaborated with Turkmenistan to inaugurate the Central Asia-China gas pipeline. Running for 1,200 miles largely parallel to the Kazakhstan-China Oil Pipeline, it is the first to bring the region’s natural gas to China. To bypass the Straits of Malacca controlled by the U.S Navy, CNPC opened a Sino-Myanmar pipeline in 2013 to carry both Middle Eastern oil and Burmese natural gas 1,500 miles from the Bay of Bengal to China’s remote southwestern region. In May 2014, the company signed a $400 billion, 30-year deal with the privatized Russian energy giant Gazprom to deliver 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually by 2018 via a still-to-be-completed northern network of pipelines across Siberia and into Manchuria.

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Sino-Myanmar Oil Pipeline Evades the U.S. Navy in the Straits of Malacca (Source: Stratfor)

Though massive, these projects are just part of an ongoing construction boom that, over the past five years, has woven a cat’s cradle of oil and gas lines across Central Asia and south into Iran and Pakistan. The result will soon be an integrated inland energy infrastructure, including Russia’s own vast network of pipelines, extending across the whole of Eurasia, from the Atlantic to the South China Sea.

To capitalize such staggering regional growth plans, in October 2014 Beijing announced the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China’s leadership sees this institution as a future regional and, in the end, Eurasian alternative to the U.S.-dominated World Bank. So far, despite pressure from Washington not to join, 14 key countries, including close U.S. allies like Germany, Great Britain, Australia, and South Korea, have signedon. Simultaneously, China has begun building long-term trade relations with resource-rich areas of Africa, as well as with Australia and Southeast Asia, as part of its plan to economically integrate the world island.

Finally, Beijing has only recently revealed a deftly designed strategy for neutralizing the military forces Washington has arrayed around the continent’s perimeter. In April, President Xi Jinping announced construction of that massive road-rail-pipeline corridor direct from western China to its new port at Gwadar, Pakistan, creating the logistics for future navaldeployments in the energy-rich Arabian Sea.

In May, Beijing escalated its claim to exclusive control over the South China Sea, expanding Longpo Naval Base on Hainan Island for the region’s first nuclear submarine facility, accelerating its dredging to create three new atolls that could become military airfields in the disputed Spratley Islands, and formally warning off U.S. Navy overflights. By building the infrastructure for military bases in the South China and Arabian seas, Beijing is forging the future capacity to surgically and strategically impair U.S. military containment.

At the same time, Beijing is developing plans to challenge Washington’s dominion over space and cyberspace. It expects, for instance, to complete its own global satellite system by 2020, offering the first challenge to Washington’s dominion over space since the U.S. launched its system of 26 defense communication satellites back in 1967. Simultaneously, Beijing isbuilding a formidable capacity for cyber warfare.

In a decade or two, should the need arise, China will be ready to surgically slice through Washington’s continental encirclement at a few strategic points without having to confront the full global might of the U.S. military, potentially rendering the vast American armada of carriers, cruisers, drones, fighters, and submarines redundant.

Lacking the geopolitical vision of Mackinder and his generation of British imperialists, America’s current leadership has failed to grasp the significance of a radical global change underway inside the Eurasian land mass. If China succeeds in linking its rising industries to the vast natural resources of the Eurasian heartland, then quite possibly, as Sir Halford Mackinder predicted on that cold London night in 1904, “the empire of the world would be in sight.”

American imperialists are deluding themselves: Henry Kissinger, George W. Bush and the end of U.S. hegemony - Salon.com

Abou Sandal

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Unless you read more than just the title, and then understand what's written.(which is debatable)

Abou Sandal

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
New Enemies for a New World Order
From Arc of Crisis to Global Intifada
by Joe Stork
published in MER176

There is considerable evidence that the Bush administration saw the Persian Gulf war of 1990-1991 as, among other things, the conflict that could define a new politico-military strategy for the 1990s. The war with Iraq would be the emblematic contest for the post-Cold War period, what the Korean War of 1951-1952 had been for the Cold War era.

Both wars, 40 years apart, were detonated by specific dynamics -- local, regional and global. Beyond some uncannily similar particulars (invasion across disputed border unwittingly encouraged by signals from Washington), each of these crises helped consolidate an evolving approach to apparently new circumstances. Korea, coming on top of confrontations with the Soviet Union over Iran, Turkey and Berlin, confirmed the post-World War II strategy of containment. Similarly, the crisis in the Persian Gulf fit with remarkable ease into the new national security paradigm already emerging with the decline of the Soviet threat. Les Aspin, chair of the Armed Services Committee of the US House of Representations and a key Democratic supporter of the war option, described the Persian Gulf conflict as “the defining moment for America‘s role in the world for a decade or more to come. How we come out of this will determine whether we can or cannot still call on force to achieve our goals abroad.” [1]

Year Zero
1990, in more than a few respects, was “year zero of the post-Cold War world.” [2] When the year began, the series of political upheavals in Eastern Europe and the irreversible collapse of the Warsaw Pact had decisively undermined the customary rationale of the American national security state. While Washington found much to relish in the dissolution of Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe, the “victory over Communism” also brought with it a sense of bewilderment. “The military is going through a real soul searching,” said Aspin in early January 1990. “They are looking for a mission.” [3] “Peace dividend” had become a Congressional mantra. The Pentagon was finding it difficult to parlay the December 1989 invasion of Panama and the dispatch of an aircraft carrier off the coast of Colombia as part of the “war on drugs” into support for a military budget request of $295 billion for the 1991 fiscal year.

The administration’s dilemma was neatly framed on page 13 of the New York Times of February 7, 1990. “Discount Soviet Peril to Iran” was the headline on a report about the Defense Planning Guidance document, a biannual document that spells out current thinking of the US military chiefs. This latest version instructed the head of the US Central Command, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, to drop his mission of protecting Iran from Soviet attack, and instead to concentrate on securing Arabian Peninsula oilfields from “regional threats.” While this seems prescient enough in hindsight, the document itself was uncommonly brief (28 pages), and press accounts agreed that it offered “little specific guidance to help military officers carry out their long-range planning” and “does not say which of the military’s future missions should take priority in the competition for scarce defense dollars.” [4] A less prominent story on the same page in the Timesdescribed President George Bush standing “on a bleak Mojave Desert ridge to watch American soldiers fight ‘Soviet’ tanks in a mock World War III battle.” By acknowledging a reduced Soviet military threat but simultaneously insisting that “fundamental Soviet objectives in the Third World do not appear to have changed,” the Guidance document supported civilian defense expert William Kaufmann’s contention that an “identity crisis” had seized US strategists and left the Pentagon “rudderless.” [5]

In fact, the construction of a new threat paradigm was already well underway. “The security challenges we face today do not come from the East alone,” observed President Bush in a May 1989 address at the Coast Guard Academy. “The emergence of regional powers is rapidly changing the strategic landscape.... We must check the aggressive ambitions of renegade regimes.” [6] The president’s language echoed the theme of a 1988 document from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, entitled “Meeting the Mavericks: Regional Challenges for the Next President.” For the CSIS authors, “At issue is the viability of military power as a general instrument of diplomacy.... The gap between US capabilities and credibility may widen further as the world becomes increasingly multipolar.” Citing weapons proliferation, the rise of regional powers, and a generally “more diffuse environment,” the report urged that Third World developments “no longer be regarded either as troubleshooting at the margins of security or as subsets of the central US-Soviet rivalry. Instead, the ability to cope with regional challengers must become a central objective of US foreign policy.” [7]

The problem was not that the national security managers had not identified a mission. Rather, they had not managed to package that mission in a manner that would secure the level of funding to which the Pentagon had become accustomed. The response to the challenge of Third World insurgences, advanced from the fringes of the US national security establishment, was the concept of low-intensity conflict (LIC). At one level, this was the Pentagon’s way of overcoming the “Vietnam syndrome” by redefining war and intervention as something less intimidating than that (for the US public). But US military planners, in the services and in the military industries, never fully embraced LIC, which required rethinking missions and de-emphasized heavy, expensive weapons systems. The Pentagon held its first Low Intensity Warfare conference in January 1986, and President Reagan signed a National Security Decision Directive in June 1987 authorizing development of a unified LIC strategy, but the main enthusiasts of LIC were in Congress. The Pentagon, under Congressional compulsion, finally set up an LIC command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, far from Congressional or Pentagon corridors of influence (though adjacent to the headquarters of the Central Command). [8]

Threat Reconstruction
The advent of the Bush administration coincided with a shift of emphasis on the “conflict spectrum.” “High-intensity conflict” -- a world war or a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union -- was fast losing currency as a threat that could justify a Reagan-sized military budget, and LIC, by definition, could not supplant it in budgetary and force configuration terms. The new paradigm, one that the Persian Gulf war of 1990-1991 would exemplify, was Mid-Intensity Conflict. This added to the explicit Third World (South) focus of LIC a range of scenarios involving professional armies and an array of sophisticated heavy weaponry as a consequence of weapons proliferation. [9] The Iran-Iraq war, and the US naval intervention in the Persian Gulf in 1987-1988, previewed this mix. [10]

One of the first official markers of this new approach was a December 1988 speech by then-CIA chief William Webster, noting that “By the year 2000, at least 15 developing countries will either have produced or be able to produce their own ballistic missiles” and another 20 were developing chemical weapons. Webster, and later the new secretary of state, James Baker, initially posed the proliferation issue as an arms control problem, but it soon took on the dressing of a battlefield challenge.

A CSIS report in May 1990, Conventional Combat Priorities: An Approach for the New Strategic Era, provided a blueprint of the new approach. LIC would remain the most likely form of conflict with potential for US engagement, and the report critiqued the Pentagon’s failure to get into the LIC spirit. But the main emphasis of the report was elsewhere: “The most dangerous form of conventional combat in the future for US forces will be Mid Intensity Conflict, especially in the Middle East and southwest Asia.... Nothing short of a redesign of forces to fight effectively in the Mid Intensity Conflict environment and for greater deployability is required.” In a “stringent budgetary environment” the priorities would be: logistics (airlift and sealift); anti-tactical ballistic missile defenses; capability to fight in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare environments; and long-range fighter-bombers and cruise missiles for “Third World contingencies in which a small US force can deal with adversaries decisively at standoff ranges.” A “redesign of forces” and “greater deployability” will not come cheaply, and the report predicts that “the potential for US involvement in mid-intensity conflict -- wars with or between powerful regional states -- will provide a key justification for military budgets during the 1990s.”

Here was a “threat reconstruction” the military could endorse enthusiastically. In this same period, during the months prior to the Gulf crisis, each of the service chiefs issued “white papers” stressing the indispensably critical role that branch of the military would play in projecting US power abroad. US Army Chief of Staff Carl Vuono identified “terrorism, trafficking in illicit drugs, proliferation of sophisticated weaponry...and regional instability” as the threats his forces needed to be ready to combat. [11] Defense Secretary **** Cheney, in his first annual report to Congress, warned of “challenges beyond Europe that may place significant demands on our defense capabilities,” and that US strategies must “rely more heavily on mobile, highly ready, well-equipped forces and solid power projection capabilities.” [12] Sea power advocates had the apparently successful Persian Gulf intervention of 1987-1988 to point to. The US Air Force asserted that among the services it offered “in most cases, the quickest, longest-range, leading-edge force available to the president” and “exceptional flexibility across the spectrum of conflict as an instrument of national resolve.” [13] The competition between the services was polite only in public. One unnamed Air Force official spoke contemptuously of Army budget claims: “We have trouble finding places where the enemy forces and our political objectives are such that we are likely to be committing more than one or two Army divisions.” [14]

Ideological Constructs
Iraq provided, for a time, the answer to that riddle, becoming, in William Pfaff’s words, “a metaphor for a Third World that can attack the wealthy nations that dominate the international system, and so avenge the poverty of the ‘South.’” [15] Baghdad’s behavior lent an ideological justification for US military and intervention strategy once the “Soviet threat” had been overtaken by events. Right-wing commentator Charles Krauthammer identified the new enemy as the Weapon State. For Krauthammer, “The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery will constitute the greatest single threat to world security for the rest of our lives,” making George Bush’s new world order “not an imperial dream or a Wilsonian fantasy but a matter of the sheerest prudence.” The Weapon State (today Iraq, tomorrow North Korea or Libya) must be disarmed, “and there is no one to do that but the United States.” [16]Krauthammer ignores the inconvenient fact that, according to a Congressional Research Service study, “At least half the countries that are now acquiring missiles are considered to be friends of the US [and] it is primarily these countries that are developing their own missile production capabilities.” [17] In a less self-conscious exposition of the Weapon State thesis, the Washington Post published a chart during the war comparing US and Iraqi casualties: the number of dead American troops alongside the number of “killed” Iraqi armored personnel carriers and tanks, with no effort to extrapolate how many Iraqis might have been inside those vehicles at the time. [18]

For others, the threat is more pervasive than proliferation: It is disorder. Cold War historian John Lewis Gaddis postulated that “another form of competition has been emerging that could be just as stark and just as pervasive as was the rivalry between democracy and totalitarianism at the height of the Cold War: It is the contest between the forces of integration and fragmentation in the contemporary international environment.” [19] In Pfaff’s words, the collapse of the Soviet Union produced not Krauthammer’s “unipolar moment” but “the abolishment of superpower status itself.” [20]

Iraq briefly supplanted the Soviet Union in filling the need for a tangible threat, an embodiment of the evil challenges that lurk abroad. Not the least of his casting virtues is the fact that he is Muslim and Arab. This seems to be a prototypical feature of the new “threat perception.” Krauthammer is typically most extreme in this aspect, displaying an infallible ear for the quintessential soundbite. In a syndicated column in February 1990, he coined the phrase “global intifada,” seeing in events from Yugoslavia to Kashmir “not just a common thread -- the Muslim demand for hegemony -- but a geographical unity.... These conflicts are all taking place at the edges of [the Islamic] heartland, precisely where the Muslim world meets the surrounding non-Muslims.” [21]

Gaddis the historian more subtly invokes the Muslim bogey. “The forces of fragmentation do not just take the form of pressures for self-determination, formidable as those may be,” he writes: “They certainly show up in the area of religion. The resurgence of Islam might be seen by some as an integrationist force in the Middle East. But it is surely fragmentationist to the extent that it seeks to set that particular region off from the rest of the world.... One can look at Beirut as it has been for the past decade and a half and get a good sense of what the world would look like if the forces of fragmentation should ultimately have their way.”[22]

At the policy level, there is little to support the claim of one unnamed “senior” Bush official that “the march of Islamic fundamentalism” is a particularly grave concern. [23] The “fundamentalist” angle for US policymakers can be reduced to four letters: I-R-A-N. Leak-inspired press accounts of Islamist rule in Sudan, for instance, have mainly highlighted the fall 1992 visit of Iranian President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani to Khartoum. To do otherwise would risk implicating US regional allies, notably Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Morocco, as key funders of the Islamist movements in Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia and Sudan, and among the Palestinians. [24]

Dealing seriously with Islamist trends would also mean grappling with issues of social and economic equity, the enormous disparities of wealth and poverty that afflict the region, and the deteriorating material conditions of life. These trends underlie the growth of Islamist politics, and such trends appear to be less hostile to US interests than overtly class-based movements that the Islamists have for the time being supplanted. Finally, as far as the Pentagon is concerned, there is no military response to the growth of Islamist politics. Western fears of hostile and alienated Muslim societies provide useful atmospherics for threat projections, but cannot deliver the scare that will sustain large military budgets.

Paradigm Lost
The Gulf war has not closed but rather extended the competition between the military services for claims on shrinking resources. Weapons wizardry in the war provided outstanding film footage for manufacturers to use in peddling their wares abroad. And there has been much peddling. US weapons sales to the Middle East in the year since the ceasefire are at an all-time high. [25] Part of the reason is that the Pentagon has not made a convincing case for a continued military buildup of US forces, thus encouraging arms manufacturers to rely even more heavily on foreign sales.

The decisive rout of Iraq’s greatly exaggerated military force paradoxically diminished the credibility of the threat that the Cold Warriors had worked to construct. As Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell told Army Times in April 1991: “Think hard about it, I’m running out of demons. I’m running out of villains.... I’m down to Castro and Kim Il Sung.” [26]

True, Washington still has Saddam Hussein to kick around, an especially useful villain-option in an election year. “Saddam can do us one last favor,” said one Gulf diplomat in the fall. “He can hang on for a year or two.” [27] A draft of the latest Defense Planning Guidance document (for fiscal years 1994-1999) sets out seven “illustrative” (as opposed to “predictive”) conflict scenarios for the services to use in preparing and justifying their budget requests. The key element is Defense Secretary Cheney’s instruction to the military chiefs to prepare to fight two large regional wars simultaneously -- against Iraq and North Korea -- while maintaining the capacity to counter military moves in Europe by a “resurgent Russia.” [28] CIA director Gates habitually ranks Iraq first among all “proliferation challenges.” [29] Among Congressional Democrats, too, Saddam Hussein remains the villain of choice. House Armed Services chairman Aspin has proposed “sizing” US military forces on the basis of “generic” threats denominated as “Iraq-equivalents.” [30]

The latest Defense Planning Guidance draft still refers to the war against Iraq, a year after the ceasefire, as “a defining event in US global leadership.” In fact the war has not lived up to this billing, at least not in the sense that the administration intends. The CSIS assessment of the “lessons” of the war notes the “distinctiveness” of this conflict, especially the synchrony and “unique ineptness” with which the Iraqi regime played into US military and diplomatic strengths, and the “superb logistical base” which the US already had in place in Saudi Arabia. [31]

The CSIS postmortem also stressed the military significance of the political coalition that the US assembled. Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 11, 1991, observed that the funds pledged to the US for Desert Shield and Desert Storm “would rank, by a considerable margin, as the world’s third largest defense budget” after those of the US and the Soviet Union. Logistics -- essentially running in reverse NATO’s yearly Reforger exercises that brought men and materiel into Europe -- engaged four NATO nations as well as Arab allies. “The US will be unable to perform any major contingency operation without a substantial degree of assistance from other nations,” wrote the CSIS authors. “All foreign and defense policy decisions must be made with this realization.” (The CSIS report also points out that key electronic warfare microchips came from Japan and “that weakness nearly became a war stopper. Needed computers and other electronic components had to be drawn out of Japanese producers who did not share the same sense of urgency about the crisis.”) [32]

These are not the lessons the administration would like to emphasize. The new Defense Guidance draft bluntly defines the US strategic goal as “precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor.” [33] The main danger of nuclear proliferation, by this calculation, is that it might instigate other industrial countries like Germany and Japan to develop such weapons as well, thus broadening the areas of challenge to US hegemony. Referring to the Middle East, the Pentagon document reiterates that “our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region.” The Pentagon wants to accomplish its “downsizing” by reducing the existing five theater commands (Atlantic, Pacific, European, Southern, Central) to three: Atlantic, Pacific and Contingency. [34] The anticipated military engagement is clearly in the South; the Atlantic and Contingency commands combined would have the capacity to replay Desert Storm.

New World Aura
This prescription is consistent with Defense Secretary Cheney’s insistence that the administration’s military budget represents the bare minimum necessary “to protect US interests and continue to play a leading role in shaping international events.” [35] For Secretary of State Baker, “I think what we say is, our preeminent position in international affairs is important in terms of US interests, US economic interests.” [36]

The problem remains: how to translate this imperial imperative into public acceptance of large military budgets at a time of social and economic crisis domestically. James Schlesinger, former chief of the CIA and the Pentagon, captured the administration’s dilemma when he set out the key US military planning objectives as command of the seas, capacity for rapid intervention in the Middle East, and enforcement of nuclear non-proliferation. But, he writes, “These individual force elements may not add up to the aggregate necessary to sustain America’s position as the leading world power. American policymakers should be quite clear in their own minds that the basis for determining US force structure and military expenditures in the future should not simply be the response to individual threats, but rather that which is needed to maintain the overall aura of American power.” [37]

This aura is meant to impress allies as much as adversaries -- especially allies with ideas of their own about Washington’s proper role in the new era. The Gulf crisis, following on the naval intervention in the Persian Gulf of 1987-1988, has set a precedent for relatively unencumbered NATO out-of-area military activities in the future. The main point of difference appears to be the role of various European states, and the EC as a political unit. When European Community chief Jacques Delors proposed a European Rapid Defense Force in early March 1991, Washington promptly warned against any disruption of NATO or the formation of a “European caucus” within the alliance. As a compromise, rather than the essentially Franco-German brigade originally envisaged, the European Rapid Reaction Corps will have a British commander. The case for a British commander, it seems, was underlined by “the decisiveness of their response to the Gulf crisis” -- i.e., their attachment to Washington’s view of it. And, as one unnamed diplomat put it, “They have the most experience with expeditionary forces.” [38]

For George Bush, the operative term in the phrase “new world order” is not “new” but “order.” The two recent political cataclysms with significance for global politics have been the Persian Gulf crisis and war, and the breakup of the Soviet Union. Both have disturbed the balance of power between and within states in and around the Persian Gulf. Of the various threats to the status quo that prompted the US military intervention of 1990-1991, only Iraq’s regional military capacity has been dealt with on terms favorable to the status quo, and that only partially. Iraq’s defeat, moreover, highlights a major concern for Washington and its clients in the region: how to offset Iran’s strategic weight. The US is working closely with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to preclude any growth of Iranian influence in the new independent republics in the Muslim parts of Central Asia. In the Persian Gulf itself, the US has a much greater “residual” military presence, including greater access to Arabian Peninsula ports and bases, compared to the period before Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

The other new feature of US policy in the region is Washington’s effort to promote multilateral talks between Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states. This is the one area where the Bush administration can make the US ties of key Arab states appear politically productive. In all the other areas -- arms control, social justice, democratization, human rights -- changes would most likely undermine the regimes. Arms control has received some rhetorical attention but practice continues as before, as record US sales to the region indicate. As for reversing the trend toward acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, the sole goal is to demilitarize Iraq. “I don’t know that Israel has any nuclear capability,” claimed Defense Secretary Cheney in June 1991. “They have certainly never announced it.” [39]

Sanctions and disarmament of Iraq, inconclusive negotiations between Israeli and Arab representatives, and an augmented US military presence in the Gulf -- these three pieces of US strategy in the region are unlikely to be sufficient to forestall potential major social confrontations in the region. Moves toward political and economic liberalization reflect the pervasiveness of economic crisis throughout the region. In deference to the authoritarian sensibilities of the Saudi ruling family and their cohorts in the region, the issue of democracy and political rights is extremely low on the rhetorical agenda, and only then for the states furthest away from the Peninsula. Even in the case of Iraq, where all manner of international intrusion is bruited to secure reparations or reduce Baghdad’s arsenal, the issue of elections is strikingly absent from US policy. [40] If “the Islamic threat” is not potent enough to drive the US military budget in the 1990s, it is serving to rationalize a status quo policy that may well contribute to the sort of political upheaval capable of triggering another episode of military intervention.

[1] Quoted by the Washington Post’s fervidly pro-war foreign editor and columnist Jim Hoagland, January 20, 1991. Aspin went on to add that “how we come out of this will determine whether we can or cannot use the UN to achieve our goals.”
[2] Richard Barnet, “The Uses of Force” The New Yorker, April 29, 1991.
[3] New York Times, January 9, 1990.
[4] Los Angeles Times and New York Times, February 7, 1990. Apparently as part of the reorientation prescribed by Cheney, US forces conducted a war game in July 1990 at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina which posited a “Southwest Asia contingency” involving Iraq as the aggressor. This produced a list of 27 strategic targets in Iraq a month before the invasion of Kuwait. Washington Post, June 23, 1991.
[5] Washington Post, February 13, 1990.
[6] White House transcript.
[7] Cited in Richard Hutchinson, “US Strategy After the Gulf War,” Against the Current (July-August 1991).
[8] See Richard H. Shultz, “The Low-Intensity Conflict Environment of the 1990s,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (September 1991).
[9] Michael Klare, “The US Military Faces South,” The Nation, June 18, 1990 and “Behind Desert Storm: The New Military Paradigm,” Technology Review (May-June 1991).
[10] Marine Corps General George Crist, when he retired as chief of CENTCOM and turned over that command to Norman Schwartzkopf in late 1988, spoke of the 18-month intervention in the Iran-Iraq war as having brought CENTCOM “from adolescence to young adulthood.” New York Times, December 4, 1988.
[11] Barnet, “Uses of Force.”
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid.
[14] New York Times, May 21, 1990.
[15] William Pfaff, “Redefining World Power,” Foreign Affairs 70/1 (1990-1991).
[16] Charles Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment,” Foreign Affairs 70/1 (1990-1991).
[17] Congressional Research Service. “Missile Proliferation: Survey of Emerging Missile Forces,” 88-642 F (October 3, 1988), p. 13.
[18] Extra! (May-June 1991).
[19] John Lewis Gaddis, “Toward the Post-Cold War World,” Foreign Affairs 70/2 (Spring 1991).
[20] Pfaff, “Redefining World Power.”
[21] Charles Krauthammer, “The New Crescent of Crisis: Global Intifada,” Washington Post, February 16, 1990.
[22] Gaddis, “Toward the Post Cold War World,” p. 107.
[23] New York Times, January 1, 1992.
[24] The best journalistic account is in the Guardian, February 29, 1992. According to this report, Kuwait revealed at the April 1990 Arab summit in Baghdad that it had contributed $60 million in the previous year alone to Hamas, the Palestinian group affiliated with the Muslim Brothers. With reference to Sudan, see Abbashar Jamal, “Funding Fundamentalism,” Middle East Report 172 (September-October 1991).
[25] According to the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based NGO, the administration has proposed and Congress has agreed to the transfer of $19 billion in “major conventional weapons” to the Middle East since August 1990, $6 billion of which was announced since President Bush proposed a “Middle East Arms Control Initiative” in May 1991. Saudi Arabia accounts for $14.8 billion of the total.
[26] William W. Kaufmann and John D. Steinbruner, Decisions for Defense (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1991), p. 45.
[27] Guardian, November 14, 1991.
[28] New York Times, February 17, 1992. The remaining scenarios include coups in the Philippines and Panama and an unnamed “resurgent/emergent global threat,” or “REGT.”
[29] For example, see Gates’ testimony before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, January 15, 1992.
[30] The utility of this measure is apparent from the fact that Cuba, for instance, has only 15 percent of Iraq’s peak land forces but, as befits an island as opposed to a virtually landlocked nation, twice Iraq’s sea strength. “An Approach to Sizing American Conventional Forces for the Post-Soviet Era,” January 24, 1992, p. 10.
[31] Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Gulf War: Military Lessons Learned (Washington, July 1991), pp. 2-3.
[32] Ibid. The spirit of this assessment was captured in an Economist editorial of March 9, 1991: “The United States could barely have afforded the battle without plentiful free oil, yen and D-marks. To defeat a country with the national product of Portugal took 75 percent of America’s tactical aircraft and 40 percent of its tanks. Some unipolar gunboat.”
[33] New York Times, March 8, 1992.
[34] Kaufmann and Steinbruner, pp. 33-35.
[35] Ibid., p. 27.
[36] Washington Post, December 8, 1991.
[37] James Schlesinger, “New Instabilities. New Priorities,&rqduo; Foreign Policy (Winter 1991-1992).
[38] The Independent, March 7, 1991.
[39] Cited in the column of Washington Post editorialist Stephen Rosenfeld, December 1, 1991.
[40] After the Storm: Challenges for America’s Middle East Policy, the post-war spin of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, purports to represent the views of a wide range of present and former policymakers. Interestingly, the authors found themselves explicitly unable to endorse a policy of encouraging democratization in Iraq.
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