|11/03/92||Roots of the Imperium|
The Washington Post
March 11, 1992, Wednesday, Final Edition
SECTION: FIRST SECTION; PAGE A1
LENGTH: 1632 words
HEADLINE: Keeping the U.S. First; Pentagon Would Preclude a Rival Superpower
BYLINE: Barton Gellman, Washington Post Staff Writer
BODY: In a classified blueprint intended to help “set the nation's direction for the next century,” the Defense Department calls for concerted efforts to preserve American global military supremacy and to thwart the emergence of a rival superpower in Europe, Asia or the former Soviet Union. The 46-page memorandum describes itself as “definitive guidance from the Secretary of Defense” for preparation of defense budgets for fiscal 1994 through 1999. It defies the predictions of some outside analysts that the Pentagon would relax resistance to further budget cuts after the turmoil of the election year.
Instead it mounts a detailed argument for maintaining the current “base force” of 1.6 million active-duty troops to the end of the decade and beyond.
Though noting that “the passing of the Cold War reduces pressure for U.S. military involvement in every potential regional or local conflict,” the document argues not only for preserving but expanding the most demanding American commitments and for resisting efforts by key allies to provide their own security.
In particular, the document raises the prospects of “a unilateral U.S. defense guarantee” to Eastern Europe, “preferably in cooperation with other NATO states,” and contemplates use of American military power to preempt or punish use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, “even in conflicts that otherwise do not directly engage U.S. interests.”
The memo was drafted under supervision of Paul Wolfowitz, undersecretary for policy. Although it is not supplied to Congress and was not intended for public release, the document represents a response at the highest levels of the Pentagon to a growing call in the American political debate for retrenchment from commitments abroad. First reported Sunday in the New York Times, it provides the rationale for U.S. involvement around the world as “a constant fixture” in an era of fundamental change.
The central strategy of the Pentagon framework is to “establish and protect a new order” that accounts “sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership,” while at the same time maintaining a military dominance capable of “deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”
“While the U.S. cannot become the world's 'policeman,' by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations,” the document states.
Much of the document parallels the extensive public statements of Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney and Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Believing this year's defense debate is a pivotal moment in development of a post-Cold War security framework, the two men have given unusually detailed briefings to Congress of the rationale for the force they designed after collapse of the Warsaw Pact in late 1989.
Like their public statements, the classified memo emphasizes the virtues of collective action and the central U.S. interest in promoting increased respect for international law and “the spread of democratic forms of government and open economic systems.”
Also like their public statements, the document describes a reorientation of U.S. defenses away from the threat of global war with the former Soviet Union and toward potential regional conflicts.
But the new memo gives central billing to U.S. efforts to prevent emergence of a rival superpower, a diplomatically sensitive subject that has not been prominent in public debate.
That objective, the document states, “is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union and Southwest Asia.”
Distributed Feb. 18 to military service chiefs and secretaries, the commanders in chief of worldwide military theaters and other top Pentagon officials, the memorandum is a nearly final draft of this year's long overdue “ Defense Planning Guidance,” the defense secretary's cornerstone statement of policy and strategy.
Senior officials said the document has not been given final approval by Wolfowitz or Cheney.
But they acknowledged that both had played substantial roles in the document's creation and endorsed its principal views. “This is not the piano player in the whorehouse,” one official said.
The policy plan restates support for a set of seven classified scenarios prepared by the Pentagon describing hypothetical roads to war by the end of the century. Those scenarios, reported late last month by the New York Times and Washington Post, included an American-led defense of Lithuania and Poland from invasion by Russia, wars against Iraq and North Korea to repel attacks on their southern neighbors and smaller-scale interventions in Panama and the Philippines. The scenarios came under congressional attack by political figures in both parties, and senior defense officials then suggested that they might be revised or abandoned.
Air Force Secretary Donald B. Rice, for example, said in an interview that the scenario set “was a staff product. It was just about to be circulated for higher level review, and it could have benefited from that review.”
The new document, by contrast, directs military services and defense agencies to measure their purchasing and training decisions against the requirements of the war scenarios.
The services are told, for example, to buy enough “threat-oriented munitions” — such as missiles, bombs and artillery shells — to provide 80 percent confidence that they would destroy 80 percent of the expected targets “in the two most demanding Major Regional Conflict scenarios.”
Among Democrats on Capitol Hill, the policy memorandum has already come under bitter attack. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), an advocate of deep cuts in defense spending to pay for domestic needs, called the Pentagon strategy “myopic, shallow and disappointing.” “The basic thrust of the document seems to be this: We love being the sole remaining superpower in the world and we want so much to remain that way that we are willing to put at risk the basic health of our economy and well-being of our people to do so,” he said.
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), attacking what he said was the document's emphasis on unilateral action, ridiculed it as “literally a Pax Americana. . . . It won't work. You can be the world superpower and still be unable to maintain peace throughout the world.”
Senior Pentagon officials angrily disputed the charge, first made in Sunday's New York Times, that the new strategy was “the clearest rejection to date of collective internationalism.”
They cited the document's pledge, on its first page, to “continue to support and protect those bilateral, multilateral, international or regionally based institutions, processes and relationships which afford us opportunities to share responsibility for global and regional security.”
“What is just dead wrong is this notion of a sole superpower dominating the rest of the world,” a ranking defense official said. “The main thrust of what the secretary has to say and what that draft also says is that the key to maintaining the rather benign environment we have today is sustaining the democratic alliances we've shaped over 40 years.”
Harold Brown, a former defense secretary, agreed in an interview yesterday that there is no contradiction between collective security and desirability of maintaining the United States as the world's strongest military power.
“Take the Persian Gulf situation,” he said. “That was clearly a collective security arrangement but it clearly wouldn't have happened if the U.S. hadn't taken the lion's share, by which I mean almost all, of the military burden. That is a demonstration of how you can have both at the same time.”
Academic criticism of the new strategy centered, by contrast, on its treatment of Russia. Michael Mandelbaum, a foreign policy analyst at Johns Hopkins University, argued that the logic of preventing reemergence of a hostile superpower suggests “far greater involvement in the economy and democratization of the Russians and the Ukrainians.”
But in the current political debate, he said, “giving them money seems to be a taboo word.” Cheney has spoken in glowing terms of potential U.S.-Russian friendship “if democracy matures,” even suggesting the possibility of combined military action against regional aggressors.
But he has also expressed skepticism that the United States or Western Europe possesses any great influence over Russia's internal development.
The new strategy describes a delicate balance between supporting the former Soviet republics “in their efforts to become peaceful democracies with market based economies” and the need to “hedge against the possibility that democracy will fail.”
“Our strategic challenge,” the memo states, “is to construct the security hedges against democratic failure in such a way that we do not . . . increase the likelihood of a democratic failure.”
In that context, Brown and others also criticized the document's suggestion that the United States or NATO might extend security guarantees to Eastern Europe, describing it as provocative of Russian nationalism and ignoring “the same grave danger of nuclear war” that prevented Western intervention there for 45 years. The New York Times
May 24, 1992, Sunday, Late Edition – Final
SECTION: Section 1; Page 1; Column 4; Foreign Desk
LENGTH: 1660 words
HEADLINE: PENTAGON DROPS GOAL OF BLOCKING NEW SUPERPOWERS
BYLINE: By PATRICK E. TYLER, Special to The New York Times
DATELINE: WASHINGTON, May 23
BODY: The Pentagon has revised a draft of its post-cold-war strategy, dropping language from an earlier document advocating the perpetuation of a one-superpower world in which the United States would work to prevent the rise of any “competitors” to its primacy in Western Europe and East Asia. The new document, approved by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney on Friday, sharpens the American commitment to collective military action as a “key feature” of United States strategy and looks forward to the decline of military investment as the principal means of balancing power among nations.
With far more diplomatic language than in an earlier draft, the new document forsakes any goal of preventing the emergence of “any potential future global competitor” and stresses the importance of strengthening international organizations like the United Nations for resolving disputes.
Input From Cheney
The elimination of what was a dominant theme in the earlier draft reflects high-level input from both Mr. Cheney and Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, senior Pentagon officials said. The new language represents a significant retrenchment and appears to have discredited the idea, expressed in internal Administration foreign policy discussions, that the United States should focus its energies on containing German and Japanese aspirations for regional leadership.
The nearly final draft has been circulating in the Pentagon since April 16. A copy was provided to The New York Times by an Administration official who believes the debate on post-cold-war strategy should be conducted in public.
Earlier Draft Criticized
The earlier draft, dated Feb. 18, was roundly criticized in the White House and in foreign capitals after its contents were disclosed in The New York Times in March. Prepared under the supervision of the Pentagon's Under Secretary for policy, Paul Wolfowitz, the earlier draft implied that a competing power or alliance of nations, bolstered by surging economic strength in Germany or Japan, could arise from these nations and eventually express their rivalry with America through military competition.
To keep this from happening, the earlier draft proposed that the United States build a new order based on “convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.”
The new draft reflects an American foreign policy establishment far less threatened by ascending roles for important allies, even leadership by those allies when their interests are more directly affected. Yet a goal of the new draft is to seek to preserve a leading American role in strategic deterrence and regional alliances that will, by their demonstration of military cooperation, deter hostile and non-democratic powers from seeking to dominate important regions.
On Friday, Germany and France announced the formation of an all-European military corps and invited other nations to join. The new security alliance would work with NATO in crises where NATO'S 16 member nations declared an interest, but would also respond independently in crises where NATO interests were not involved.
The later Pentagon draft substantially softens the earlier document's expressed opposition to emerging security alliances in Europe while also emphasizing the need to preserve a key role for NATO, where American power and influence have been pre-eminent.
Striking Change of Tone
With a striking change of tone, the later draft states, “One of the primary tasks we face today in shaping the future is carrying longstanding alliances into the new era, and turning old enmities into new cooperative relationships.”
For the first time in the memory of military officials who have drafted policy, the new draft states that while a strong defense to deter potential foes will continue to be an important concept in American security, a leveling of military investment coupled with greater economic and security cooperation will create a more stable world.
“It is not in our interest or those of the other democracies to return to earlier periods in which multiple military powers balanced one another off in what passed for security structures, while regional, or even global peace hung in the balance,” it said.
The new document places greater emphasis on international military cooperation, with a special emphasis on cooperation with Russia, Ukraine and the other republics of the former Soviet Union, as a means of providing “security at lower costs with lower risks for all.”
The document, known as the Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994-99 fiscal years, has never been made public and parts of it are classified. It is a policy that is an internal planning guide for the Pentagon and prepared every two years. As such, it represents “guidance” from the President and the Secretary of Defense to the four military services on how to prepare their budgets and forces in the future.
Additional Refinements Made A senior Pentagon official, commenting on the April 16 draft, said that it “more carefully reflects” the thinking of Mr. Cheney, but that additional refinements and editing changes have been made since that version was circulated. He said the major elements remain.
Though Mr. Cheney signed the document Friday, it was not clear whether it would be subject to additional comment or revision after circulating to the White House and State Department.
The new draft continues to make the case for the Bush Administration's concept of a “base force” military of 1.6 million uniformed troops and rejects calls in Congress for a greater peace dividend that could be derived from deeper military cuts. And while it strengthens the Administration's commitment to act in concert with allies and through international bodies like the United Nations, it preserves a commitment “to act independently, as necessary, to protect our critical interests.”
A central theme of the later draft, which echoes Mr. Cheney's and General Powell's public testimony, is that a precipitous decline in military spending could “break” the organizational competence of the American military and tempt adversaries like Iraq to seek to dominate critical regions.
Commitment to Israel
The later draft also makes a specific commitment to the security of Israel and to providing Taiwan with modern military equipment.
The later version of the planning document, like its predecessor, calls on the four military services to be prepared to fight two major regional wars simultaneously while maintaining sizable military presence in Europe, where the old Soviet-led Warsaw Pact threat has disappeared.
“We must recognize what we are so often told by the leaders of the new democracies — that continued U.S. presence in Europe is an essential part of the West's overall efforts to maintain stability even in the midst of such dramatic change,” it states.
Even with significant adjustments, the later draft is likely to have little impact on the military services. The battle over the document's tone, emphasis and language is more a struggle of ideas about the future of American foreign policy and military strategy.
Potential Threats Reformulated
The later draft, in stating potential threats, retreats to a more narrow formulation, which calls for the United States to prevent “any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests.” It adds that such “consolidated, non-democratic control of the resources” in a region “could generate a significant threat to our security.”
The February draft had stated that while the United States could not become the world's policeman in the future, “we will retain the pre-eminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations.”
The later draft abandons the broad sweep and unilateral tone of the earlier draft and stresses a more narrow point that where possible, the United States will act in concert and cooperation with allies, “but we must maintain the capabilities for addressing selectively those security problems that threaten our own interests.”
A specific goal of restraining India's “hegemonic aspirations” in South Asia also was dropped in the later draft in favor of language promoting a reduction of tensions between India and Pakistan.
Some Fine Nuances
In some cases, the nuances of change in the new draft seem to draw distinctions without a difference. For instance, the new document drops the claim of an allied “victory” over the Soviet Union, a claim that former President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had criticized after the earlier document was made public. Instead, the new draft characterizes as a “great success” the overall discrediting of Communism as an ideology and the collapse of the Soviet empire.
But other changes in emphasis appeared to be driven by a more fundamental recognition that in the post-cold-war era, diplomatic and economic tools will become more effective instruments in international relations while military tools will recede to a lower status.
“Our tools include political and economic measures and others such as security assistance, military-to-military contacts, humanitarian aid and intelligence assistance, as well as security measures to prevent the emergence of a non-democratic aggressor in critical regions,” the new draft states.
While the role of the United Nations was left unrecognized in the earlier draft, it is prominently mentioned in the new document, which says, “In this more secure international environment, there will be enhanced opportunities for political, economic, environmental, social and security issues to be resolved through new or revitalized international organizations, including the United Nations, or regional arrangements.”
GRAPHIC: Photos: The Pentagon has revised a draft of its post-cold-war strategy in far more diplomatic language than in an earlier draft. The changes reflect opinions from Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, left (Michael Geissinger for The New York Times), and Gen. Colin L. Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Associated Press) (pg. 14)
Chart: “Superpower Notion Gives Way to 'Collective' Approach”
Key Sections of Pentagon Document on Post-Cold-War Strategy
Initial Draft (Feb. 18, 1992)
1) Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to general global power.
2) 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.
3) Like the coalition that opposed Iraqi aggression, we should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted, and in many cases carrying only general agreement over the objectives to be accomplished. Nevertheless, the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S. will be an important stabilizing factor.
4) While the U.S. cannot become the world's policeman, by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations. 5) We continue to recognize that collectively the conventional forces of the states formerly comprising the Soviet Union retain the most military potential in all of Eurasia; and we do not dismiss the risks to stability in Europe from a nationalist backlash in Russia or efforts to reincorporate into Russia the newly independent republics of Ukraine, Belarus, and possibly others…We must, however, be mindful that democratic change in Russia is not irreversible, and that despite its current travails, Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States.
6) In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil.
Latest Draft (April 16, 1992)
1) Our most fundamental goal is to deter or defeat attack from whatever source. . .. The second goal is to strengthen and extend the system of defense arrangements that binds democratic and like-minded nations together in common defense against aggression, build habits of cooperation, avoid the renationalization of security policies, and provide security at lower costs and with lower risks for all. Our preference for a collective response to preclude threats or, if necessary, to deal with them is a key feature of our regional defense strategy. The third goal is to preclude any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests, and also thereby to strengthen the barriers against the re-emergence of a global threat to the interests of the U.S. and our allies.
2) One of the primary tasks we face today in shaping the future is carrying long standing alliances into the new era, and turning old enmities into new cooperative relationships. If we and other leading democracies continue to build a democratic security community, a much safer world is likely to emerge. If we act separately, many other problems could result.
3) Certain situations like the crisis leading to the Gulf War are likely to engender ad hoc coalitions. We should plan to maximize the value of such coalitions. This may include specialized roles for our forces as well as developing cooperative practices with others.
4) While the United States cannot become the world's policeman and assume responsibility for solving every international security problem, neither can we allow our critical interests to depend solely on internation mechanisms that can be blocked by countries whose interests may be very different than our own. Where our allies interests are directly affected, we must expect them to take an appropriate share of the responsibility, and in some cases play the leading role; but we maintain the capabilities for addressing selectively those security problems that threaten our own interests.
5) The U.S. has a significant stake in promoting democratic consolidation and peaceful relations between Russia, Ukraine and the other republics of the former Soviet Union.
6) In the Middle East and Persian Gulf, we seek to foster regional stability, deter aggression against our friends and interests in the region, protect U.S. nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways and to the region's oil. The United States is committed to the security of Israel and to maintaining the qualitative edge that is critical to Israel's security. Israel's confidence in its security and U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation contribute to the stability of the entire region, as demonstrated once again during the Persian Gulf War. At the same time, our assistance to our Arab friends to defend themselves against aggression also strengthens security throughout the region, including for Israel. (pg. 14)