Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

George Kennan and the Wolfowitz Doctrine

Posted by M. C. on April 17, 2023

“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”

Was it the crux of the problem? The U.S. economy required a threat, real or imagined, to keep its economy humming. Simple as that? Perhaps it was intuitively understood by high Pentagon officials, acting as insiders and front-men for the military-industrial complex. 

Ergo, the well-deserved “peace dividend” was not an option.

Dear Friends + Interlocutors,

What are they trying to do, what do they want to accomplish, and why? With reference to the entrenched cabal that has been running Washington for decades, in particular since the end of the Cold War (1990), these basic questions have been racking my brain in recent weeks.

We’ve got to step back and look at the big picture, a larger context. Does the world’s current predicament basically derive from the so-called Wolfowitz Doctrine of 1992, prepared under the stewardship of Dick Cheney at the Pentagon? 

In the aftermath of the Soviet Union collapse (1989) and the U.S.-led successful ejection of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait (1991), Washington lost its bearings. Its collective mindset went fantee.

To quote from the Pentagon document, known as the Defense Planning Guidance: 

“…The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. 

“In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”

Granted, such grandiosity and hubris may have been understandable under the circumstances. However, in retrospect it was not just outlandish, but most unwise. Instead of cashing the “peace dividend” on behalf of the American people thanks to the end of the Cold War, Washington ginned up another, open-ended mission almost immediately. 

This unipolar-world crusade was advocated by private-agenda actors, neocons and neoliberals, who were themselves in the saddle in Washington carrying out policy.

A saner course of action would have been to call out of retirement the wise man of U.S. foreign policy, George Kennan, along with ace Pentagon analyst Chuck Spinney. The latter must be a Kennan enthusiast, because not too long ago he brought to my attention a mind-boggling 1987 statement, contained in Kennan’s book, At A Century’s Ending, Reflections 1982-1995

See the rest here

Be seeing you


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