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  • Saturday, February 19, 2005


    America Uber Alles

    The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is a group that is very up-front about what they want: the United States as undisputed and dominant leader of all the countries of the world. The end of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union simply means there is currently no effective force to counterbalance the military and economic might of the US. Thus, PNAC asserts the need for a new iteration of manifest destiny for the US.

    The PNAC Statement of Principles from June, 1997 has a number of interesting signatories. How many of the following names can you identify?

    Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel, Paul Wolfowitz. (I'm showing my ignorance and knowledge by highlighting the names I'm familiar with on some level. I may know a few more but am not making the connections offhand.)

    I often think the word "imperialist" is overused but PNAC quite clearly desires a consolidation of power and the continuation of US domination of the international stage. From the PNAC Statement of Purpose:

    As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

    We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

    We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.

    Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

    Notice how much of this is couched in terms of "responsibilities" as if the world's nations were children in need of parental discipline. This harks back to the British Empire bringing "civilization" to the countries they conquered regardless of whether the countries wanted it. Many of these countries were doing just fine, thank you.

    The point? Just that the PNAC, for all it's high sounding rhetoric, seems basically intent on extending US influence even further than its already pervasive extent.

    More information on PNAC:

    PNAC.Info - Exposing the The Project for the New American Century doesn't appear to have been updated for over eight months but it also seems to have links to other sites.

    Wikipedia has an entry with more basic information on PNAC.


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