The 21st Century: Opus One
Were the pre-emptive Iraqi War the only fully achieved accomplishment of the neo-conservatives, the United States could probably recover, move on, and learn valuable and cautionary lessons from the bloody, expensive, and disastrous fiasco. But for the neo-conservatives, Iraq was only a small, beginning step in a broad framework of actions to brace for what they see as the world just around the corner.
The Wall Street Journal set forth, in a series of articles, an outline of a hard plan that is already in play for purposes of strategic planning at the Pentagon, a fully fleshed-out design that makes broad, sweeping assumptions about the threats and opportunities with which the United States will have to deal with little time to spare. "Hard planning" means documentation, and this can be fragmented across anything from working papers to internal memos, and even to computer presentations and software models used for scenario analysis. In the case of the neo-conservative plan for the 21st Century, though, what the Pentagon possesses something far more specific: it has a single system of documents, stunning in scope not merely of plans for the American military over the coming decades, but also in the modeling of the nations of the world and how they will behave and react internally with respect to their citizens and externally with respect to one another. A survey of the mechanics of this plan may be viewed at rense.com.
What follows below is extensive scenario description. It is based upon assumptions in the Pentagon's neo-conservative blueprint document, augmented by known facts and, where appropriate, rumors of greater or lesser reliability, which will be flagged as such where necessary.
Because the United States will build and maintain a massive military/industrial engine for the 21st Century, the Europeans will be induced to do so as well, primarily as a non-adversarial, but nonetheless competitive, bulwark against the military and economic hegemony of the United States. Both the U.S. and Europe will move the production of consumer goods to Third World countries so that the domestic economies can be focused on comparative advantage in industrial and military goods and services.
Whether or not the Europeans want to do this is irrelevant. In a world where vital resources flow along trade routes that could be managed and even choked by the U.S. axis of military and economic influence, European countries will be compelled to respond in kind lest they become victim to de facto economic, military, and even ideological blockade.
Many progressive American Europhiles will reject as outrageous the very idea that the European Union will dispense with social programs, infrastructure, and peaceful productivity in favor of a build-up of a war machine rivaling that of the United States. The arguments against the reshaping of Europe into an American-style military state can be categorized as coming from one or the other of two arguments: first, the Europeans could simply reject the American model of neo-liberal world engagement through military dominance; second, the American model is far too weak on specificsespecially financial viability projectionsfor it to be taken seriously by others.
Both of these arguments are foolhardy. The Europeans will be forced to play the American game for two reasons: physical resources and global dominance. Even if America were to drive itself into bankruptcy reconstructing itself into a military empire, no state could postpone reactive military build-up on the excuse that the Americans will soon go bankrupt. Whether or not that would happen, the European state would be long gone or irreparably damaged by the chokehold the United States would maintain even with its last gasp.
Despite the talk about how Europe is making the transition to a post-fossil fuels age, the reality is that it is every bit as dependent upon oil in the core of its massive industrial and consumer infrastructure as is the United States.
In terms of global dominance, the Europeans won't be dealing merely with a dangerous, albeit possibly somewhat weakened, American military machine. The United States will have a small but not meaningless cluster of traditional allies that have shown their allegiance in the current Iraqi War; and the United States will also have a very new, gargantuan ally for the coming decades.
Despite the few remaining voices in the United States that regard China uni-dimensionally as being run by the "Butchers of Tiannanmen," the Bush Administration has aggressively warmed relations with China as part of an overall axis construction.
China has trillions of U.S. dollars acquired through years of running enormous trade surpluses with the United States. China routinely uses these greenbacks to finance the deficit-ridden neo-conservative policies of the Bush Administration. The idea among some Bush Administration critics that China is going to sooner or later cut off that gravy train is sheer fantasy: China is, in fact, funding the U.S. side of an emerging Sino-American power axis that has every intention of controlling resources across the globe to feed the ever-growing hunger for energy of both countries. It is no accident that Paul Wolfowitz, a central architect of the neo-conservative plans for the 21st Century, has been tapped to head the World Bank, which will become even more than it is now a captive vehicle for focusing global capital flows into projects that will largely satisfy the energy and other resource demands of the emerging China/U.S. production matrix. The extensive environmental damage that will be caused by projects like continent-spanning pipelines, petroleum resource exploitation fields, and hydro-electric dams is entirely irrelevant: the world community of environmentally concerned citizens is not even now a match for the hurricane of global energy demand, and the higher such commodities as gasoline go in price, the more Alaska National Wildlife Refuges will be plowed under.
This does not mean that U.S. and Chinese foreign policy will always coincide. For reasons both of internal political appeasement and of real geo-political differences in incentives, bones of contention will appear from time to time, as is evident in provocative sales of weapons and key materials by China to Iran. But these issues are minor and cannot be expected to derail the growing solidarity of the trans-Pacific alliance between an authoritarian regime becoming comfortable with and embracing domestic capitalism and a capitalist regime already comfortable with and increasingly imposing domestic authoritarianism.
Some might point out that all will not be well between the Chinese and the Americans if the situation turns ugly in one particular spot in China's backyard, and that small irrelevancy must be addressed next.
Last week, China set forth in formal policy that it would attack Taiwan if the latter provisional state were to once and for all declare its independence from the former. Freedom loving democrats around the world see Taiwan as a bastion of both capitalism and democracy, and the prospect of the giant dragon swallowing the little island's statehood whole is a source of concern on a philosophical level as much as on a geo-political level. Arguably, Taiwan is meaningless in the large scheme of things; but those who see brutal, realpolitik about to swing into action are wholly misguided.
Taiwan very well might be a nuclear state. If it is, China would pay an unacceptably high price for the luxury of finally dealing with the irritant: certainly, a nuclear Taiwan would level Beijing; but it would also have every incentive to level Hong Kong, too, and that would be a nation-crushing blow to China, which uses that former British colony as its national banking system as well as the personal depository institution for the spoils of its corrupt, fossilized leaders.
Of course, it's pure, mad speculation that Taiwan has nukes. How would it have gotten the technology? And what possible other example is there of a nation that has nuclear weapons, but has never declared that it does, has never done a live-fire test, and is never discussed in the press or halls of government as being a nuclear state?
Rumors have flown for years that Israel, Taiwan, and a certain South American country long ago formed an axis of trade in nuclear technology. Israel had the know-how; Taiwan had the money and Asian connectionspossibly through Malaysiato Pakistani nuclear parts merchant Dr. A.Q. Khan; and the South American country had raw materials and incredibly challenging terrain to frustrate surveillance by the Americans, the Russians, the Europeans, and the Chinese.
No one doubts that Israel has not just nuclear weapons-building technology, but also an impressive stockpile of warheads and delivery vehicles, some of the latter being compliments of the United States and the Europeans. But that leaves open the question of why Israel would ally itself with nations on other, far-flung continents. The answer to that is straight-forward: balance of power. Like it or not, Israelsmall as it ishas been a global player since the day it was born in 1948, affecting the economies, policies, and strategic calculus of the community of nations at just about every turn in the road of the last half of the 20th Century. Especially with China constructively engaging dangerous nations like Iran to gain influence in the Middle East, Israel has every incentive to build a quiet but credible alliance with a rival state in close proximity to China, itself. If China is going to be influential in the Middle East, then Israel must be influential in Asia. But this returns the entire story back to the Middle East and its most important agent provacateur in the early years of this century.
Iran will soon be a nuclear state.
The hope that the Europeans will talk the mullahs into doing something else with their centrifuges and yellowcake is folly. The Europeans have a whole lot of incentive to stop Iran's nuclear program, but they don't have a whole lot of incentives to offer: Iran has the oil that Europe needs; and soon, Iran will have its own oil bourse upon which no small amount of petroleum will trade, thereby making whatever currency Iran chooses for denomination a world standard without rival.
Iran also has something else about which the Europeans can be all kinds of excited: it has developed and put on display the third generation of its intermediate-range missile called Meteor. Although Iran denies the technical specification, the range of this rocket as it is currently configured can be extended to put capitols of Europe within reach, making this version of the Meteor a Mark IV-class delivery vehicle.
As an aside, the hope that Israel will wipe out the nuclear facilities in Iran is folly, too. Israel may very well try, but it won't succeed: right now, speculation has it that the Israel doesn't have the bunker-buster bombs to get to the hardened, underground, core facilities the Iranians have constructed and are using for the enrichment and bomb-building phases of their nuclear program.
It seems that the Iranians, in designing their weapons construction facilities, kept in mind the Osirak reactor in Iraq that the Israelis turned into rubble two-and-a-half decades ago.
Then again, Israel could up the ante by using a low-yield nuclear device from its inventory. In a subsequent installment of this series, the consequences of that choice will be explored in the context of near-apocalyptic scenarios.
Back to the Homeland
And so the neo-conservative world of the 21st Century is emerging; and it is doing so against the curtain of a national economy flat on its back from huge federal deficits, the armed forces backed to the wall in a messy skirmish on the other side of the globe, and a careening world where events are running miles ahead of strategies.
This sounds like a prescription for political disaster for the ruling party in Washington, but it isn't. Once set in motion, a plan like the Project for the New American Century is almost impossible to stop, regardless of which party controls the White House and the Congress, regardless of which assumptions are wrong, and regardless of how far actual events on the ground come to deviate from predictions.
And therein lies the key: the plan has already been set in motion.
The Dark Wraith welcomes you all to the new American Century.
Go to The 21st Century: Opus 1 Opus 2 Opus 3 Opus 4