The War Behind Closed Doors
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excerpts from 1992 draft 'defense planning guidance'

Paul Wolfowitz, then-under secretary of defense for policy, supervised the drafting of a 1992 policy statement on America's mission in the post-Cold War era. Called the "Defense Planning Guidance," it is an internal set of military guidelines that typically is prepared every few years by the Defense Department. This policy guidance is distributed to military leaders and civilian Defense Department heads to provide them with a geopolitical framework for assessing their force level and bugetary needs.

The 46-page classified document circulated for several weeks at senior levels in the Pentagon. But controversy erupted after it was leaked to The New York Times and The Washington Post and the White House ordered then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney to rewrite it.

Key Points/Excerpts:

· The number one objective of U.S. post-Cold War political and military strategy should be preventing the emergence of a rival superpower.

"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. 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 generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.

"There are three additional aspects to this objective: First 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. Second, in the 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. Finally, we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."

· Another major U.S. objective should be to safeguard U.S. interests and promote American values.

According to the draft document, the U.S. should aim "to address sources of regional conflict and instability in such a way as to promote increasing respect for international law, limit international violence, and encourage the spread of democratic forms of government and open economic systems."

The draft outlines several scenarios in which U.S. interests could be threatened by regional conflict: "access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, threats to U.S. citizens from terrorism or regional or local conflict, and threats to U.S. society from narcotics trafficking."

The draft relies on seven scenarios in potential trouble spots to make its argument -- with the primary case studies being Iraq and North Korea.

· If necessary, the United States must be prepared to take unilateral action.

There is no mention in the draft document of taking collective action through the United Nations.

The document states that coalitions "hold considerable promise for promoting collective action," but it also states the U.S. "should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies" formed to deal with a particular crisis and which may not outlive the resolution of the crisis.

The document states that what is most important is "the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S." and that "the United States should be postured to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated" or in a crisis that calls for quick response.

 

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