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[casi] BBC article on Bush's global war plans

article on BBC Wesbite, linked from front page about New American Century


 Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 15:35 GMT

Analysis: Power Americana

   By Paul Reynolds
BBC News Online world affairs correspondent

Might is right, according to Defence Department hawks
The US is heading to war with Iraq whatever happens, in another indication
of the Bush administration's development of a hard-line foreign policy.

Tony Blair might be trying to convince the British Parliament and people
that Saddam Hussein can even now, as he put it in his statement on Tuesday,
"save [his regime] by complying with the UN's demand".

This claim is an insistent one from the British Government. It is designed
to appeal to the doubters. It has become less and less convincing.

For George W Bush is singing the dominant tune.

Saddam Hussein is "playing games", President Bush said, also on Tuesday,
about some concessions from Baghdad, and "I suspect he will try to fool the
world one more time."

 European accusations... are countered by American descriptions of Europeans
as 'EU-nuchs' in general and of the French in particular as 'cheese-eating
surrender monkeys'

The conclusion to be drawn is that whatever Saddam Hussein does now will
probably not be enough for Washington.

US officials are admitting that they only agreed to go back to the Security
Council for another resolution in order to accommodate Mr Blair.

The new resolution therefore has no real meaning beyond covering, or indeed
exposing, the British back. The Americans will go to war anyway.

This points the way to the future. For better, for worse, it is one of Power

Single superpower

To understand why this should be so, it is worth going back to a project
called the New American Century set up in 1997.

Founded by two commentators - William Kristol and Robert Kagan - it laid the
philosophical groundwork for what was to come.

A number its sympathisers later joined the Bush administration, including
two of the leading hawks, Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton.

The thinking behind the New American Century helps to explain why the
current gulf exists between the United States and some of its allies.

European accusations that George W Bush is a "cowboy" or worse are countered
by American descriptions of Europeans as "EU-nuchs" in general and of the
French in particular as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys".

In September 2000, as Mr Bush was running for the presidency, the New
American Century team produced a report called "Rebuilding America's

The goal was to "promote American global leadership", the report stated.

"As the 20th Century draws to a close, the United States stands as the
world's pre-eminent power," it said.

"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 achievement of
past decades?

"Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favourable
to American principles and interests?

"[What we require] is a military that is strong... a foreign policy that
boldly and purposefully promotes American interests... and a national
leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibility."

At first, it did not look as if Mr Bush was that enthusiastic.

He said in a presidential campaign debate in October 2000 that American
foreign policy had to be "humble".

"We must be proud and confident of our values but humble in how we treat
nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course," was how he put

America goes it alone

President Bush has his European supporters like Tony Blair who spotted that
the president was open to persuasion on some issues, and was in due course
persuaded to go to the United Nations over Iraq.

However, as president, it was not long before Mr Bush showed that he could
also chart America's own course.

With the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder sitting next to him in the Oval
Office in early 2001, he dismissed the Kyoto environmental treaty by saying
that American jobs were not to be put at risk.

Maybe Mr Schroeder remembered that humiliation in the charting of his own
Iraq policy later?

Then came 11 September.

After a shaky start, Mr Bush rose to the challenge when he stood amid the
rubble and promised retribution.

He went on to develop his own Bush Doctrine, one of pre-emptive

He has since been encouraged on this course by another contribution from the
folks who heralded The New American Century.

In a book called "The War over Iraq: Saddam's Tyranny and America's
Mission", William Kristol, joined this time by Lawrence F Kaplan, stated:
"The complacent assumptions of the post-Cold War era were destroyed on
September 11.

"That day brought us to a new era for which we need a new road map.

"If America does not shape this new epoch, we can be sure that others will
shape it for us - in ways that neither further our interests nor reflect our

"For the United States this is a decisive moment."


The former CIA Director James Woolsey praised the book.

"The authors show us why - in this age of terror, rogue states and weapons
of mass destruction - we can only make the world safe for democracy by
finishing the job of democratising it," he said.

The new US doctrine is causing resentment in Muslim states
"Democratising" the world is an important part of neo-conservative thinking,
especially when it comes to the Arab and Islamic world.

It does not mean full-scale democracy along Western lines, apparently, but
it does mean "reshaping" it to encourage civil institutions and a freer
press and so on.

Douglas Feith, the US Under-Secretary of Defence in charge of policy and
another of the neo-conservatives in the administration, told the New Yorker
magazine recently that "democratising" Arab and Islamic countries would help
to diminish terrorism.

"If [an Iraqi] government could create some of those institutions of
democracy, that might be inspirational throughout the Middle East," he said.

There is a sub-plot here.

One of the products of the New American Century approach is a close
alignment with Israel and the inclusion of Palestinian groups like Hamas and
Islamic Jihad as part of the "war on terror" declared by President Bush.

Those right-wing supporters of George W Bush who are Jews have consequently
found themselves the subject of political and personal attack.

David Brooks, a commentator on the Weekly Standard, the publication of the
new right, wrote: "Not long ago I was chatting with a prominent Washington
figure in a green room. 'You people have infested everywhere,' he said."

Europe divided

The response of many Europeans - and some Americans as well, it must be
said - has been to regard the New American Century approach with some alarm.

For a start, Europeans are far more sympathetic to the Palestinians.

But it goes beyond that. Former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine
invented the word "hyperpower" to describe the United States and not in an
admiring way.

In a speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, Chris Patten,
former UK Government minister, Hong Kong governor and now European foreign
affairs commissioner, said that "in order to be a more credible partner and
in some cases to be a counterweight, Europe has to invest in its own

Europe, however, is divided and its efforts to forge a "Common Foreign and
Security Policy" have for the moment, and for the foreseeable future,
foundered on the rock of national interest.

The New American Century has begun.

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