Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War,
American leaders without any official international blessing simply began
to act like global leaders. A close historic precedent was set in 1876 when
the British Parliament with a de facto coronation designated Queen
Victoria empress of India. Less than twenty-five years later, Britain became
involved in two successive distant, self-destructive, protracted, guerrilla
Boer Wars which discredited the "liberal " British empire, gave Hitler the
model for concentration camps, and saw the rendition of prisoners to
confinement in distant British-held islands. Symptomatic of Brittan's
supremacy was an increased frequency of military engagement in combat and
America's emergence as the world's most powerful state saddled Washington
leadership with three new central missions:
This book postulates certain basic strategic conclusions and fundamental
guidelines regarding the current moment in history that ought to enlighten
future American Presidents. Moreover, Americans need to ask themselves
whether American society is guided by values and its government structured
in a manner congenial to effective long-term global leadership. Do they
understand the historical moment?
As with all Presidents, our first three global leaders differed in experience and involvement. George H. W. Bush had considerable background, knew what he wanted to do and chose a close friend with similar views as national security advisor. Bill Clinton held the view that it was time to correct years of presidential neglect of America's domestic affairs and for his first term filled leading foreign policy positions with people who were not strategically dominate. His second term brought more politically active figures. George W. Bush delegated national affairs to a distinguished national figure until 9/11 shocked the president out of his foreign affairs lethargy. Policy then gravitated to the vice president and highly motivated officials in the White House and Defense Department.
We will find that3 Global Leader I was most experienced, diplomatically skillful, but was not guided by a bold vision at a very unconventional historic moment. Global Leader II , the brightest and most futuristic, lacked strategy consistence in the use of American power. Global Leader III had strong gut instincts but no knowledge of global complexities and a temperament prone to dogmatic formulations.
2. The Mist of Victory
(and the Spawning of Clashing Historical Views)
Confused Expectations-The Search for Certitude
The defeat of the Soviet Union was the consequence of a forty-year bipartisan effort that spanned nine presidencies. Complicating official perceptions and tempering public expectations at the end of the Cold War was that the world America inherited as its ward was neither historically at ease nor truly at peace. Nevertheless, America's opportunity was greater than it was in 1945 but this was less clear. American power faced no threat and the Atlantic alliance was strong. Even more promising was America's politically cordial relationship with the developing European Union. The rise of Asia was perceived as a distant prospect. The leading candidate for a major role was Japan which was increasingly redefined as a "Western" democracy and a member of the trilateral club with America and Europe.
But, the formerly imperial Soviet Union was experiencing soon to be violent pangs of national separation. China was in the early stages of an impressively prudent politically guided social transformation. She was still quietly savoring the success of her semi covert strategic collaboration with America in finally defeating the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This was followed by a deplorable American neglect of that country's future. The issue of nuclear proliferation gained new urgency. North Korea, suddenly bereft of Soviet protection and began to seek its own atomic weapons. India's defiance of nonproliferation was more suspect, Israel's surreptitious acquisition was hardly a secret, and South Africa's efforts were being closely scrutinized. Iran, Syria, and others were strategically adrift because of the loss of Soviet military and political support for their hostility toward Israel. Lastly, the Third World lost the political and economic advantage of being a Nonaligned block and socioeconomic trouble was brewing among its politically awakened populations.
Iraq invaded Kuwait and Bush I felt America had to respond and wisely realized that the response had to respect international law and the interest of other countries. The war ended quickly and represented Bush's greatest military victory and his most conclusive political outcome. But3, Most Americans remain blissfully unaware of the old Arab grievances against British imperial domination, the unfulfilled promise of emancipation from the Ottoman rule, and the periodically brutal repression of rising Arab nationalism. During 1992 contentious squabbles slowed extensive efforts to foster peace between Israel and her neighbors without a fundamental breakthrough. See D'Arcy Oil Concession
The unfortunate result was that President Bush's unconsummated success in Iraq became the original sin of his legacy: the inconclusive but increasingly resented and self-damaging American involvement in the Middle East
The lack of a priority concerning nonproliferation became especially apparent in late 1992 when the administration's draft Defense Planning Guideline was leaked to the press. It contained sensible and tough-minded recommendations for exploiting the fall of the Soviet Union and the defeat of Iraq. It postulated a view heavily influenced by traditional balance-of-power politics while bluntly asserting American global military superiority. The zone of U.S. predominance was to expand eastward in Europe and was to be firmly consolidated in the Middle East. The imperious overtones were tempered in the final draft by a public outcry of the March draft. The midlevel Defense Department and NSC officials who wrote the guideline were senior level officials. A decade later its principle sponsor, then the Secretary of Defense, was now Vice President Cheney.
3. The Original Sin
Begins With Bush 1
|Summary||War on Terror||Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction|
|The Bush I administration (1989-1992) had to confront intensive, wide-ranging global turmoil. He did a good job managing the fall of the Soviet Union by still treating them as a preeminent player. China's crisis, as exemplified by Tiananmen Square, was handled with a relatively mild public rebuke and without jeopardizing the strategic relationship that had developed between the United States and China after President Carter's 1979 breakthrough in the normalization of relations. But the Bush administration was caught unaware of the escalating Yugoslav crisis. They underestimated the genuine depth of non-Russian nationalism within the faltering states and had considerable concern regarding the eventual collapse of "a strong center." They were predispose to help preserve it. The lone dissenter was Secretary of Defense Chaney. Finally, the administration was very passive toward war torn Afghanistan with nearly 20% of its population living as refugees in Pakistan and Iran.||Just days after Bush I took
office, Soviet troops withdrew from their ten year invasion of Afghanistan.
They had failed to crush persistent Afghan Muslim resistance backed by a semi covert coalition of the U.S., G.B., Pakistan., China, Saudi Arabia, and others.
The deployment of U.S. troops on the sacred ground in Saudi Arabia provided the stimulus for religious fanatics to articulate a doctrine of hate for America. The Sunni Wahabis echoed, in a somewhat different terminology, the Iranian Shiite leadership's earlier labeling of America as the "Great Satan." A fatwa by a hitherto obscure wealthy Saudi militant family targeted America as the desecrator of holy Islamic sites and the principal sponsor of Israel. Al Qaeda thus made its appearance on the world stage.
priority of the Bush I administration was to make certain the Soviet
nuclear arsenal did not fall into unreliable hands. A lot of energy and
skill was expended to the redeployment of weapons from newly independent
Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
A late 1989 U.N. resolution cosponsored by Pakistan and Bangladesh in favor of a South Asia nuclear -free zone was passed, but failed because India opposed it.
Anxiety surfaced that North Korea might also be seeking nuclear weapons. In 1991, hoping to persuade her to accept International Atomic Energy Agency supervision, the U.S. removed its nuclear weapons from South Korea. She issued the Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In 1992, North Korea ratified the safeguard agreement with IAEA and admitted to possessing small amounts of uranium and plutonium.
The Impotence of Good Intentioned
|Summary||The War on Terror||Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation|
|Wanting to stress domestics
issues, the Clinton administration (1993-2000) emphasized globalization.
This provided a convenient formula
for melding the domestic and the foreign policy into a single theme and freed him
from perusing a disciplined foreign policy strategy. The second term brought
adjustments with new Secretary of State Madeline Albright who was strongly committed
to the expansion of NATO.
The Soviet disappearance as a Soviet superpower created three significant opportunities for Clinton
to pursue his agenda of enhanced global security and cooperation:
But there were problems. The liquidity crisis in Southeast Asia, Japan's financial malaise, U.S. obstruction of the Ottawa Treaty banning land mines and the Rome Statute for the new International Criminal Court which could have made American military subject to international prosecution all hinder global cooperation. The U.S. Senate approval 95 to 0 of a resolution opposing the emission limiting Kyoto Protocol didn't help.Clinton's charisma at home eventually lost some of its glow because of personal difficulties and the rising popular sentiment against social self-denial required by global leadership.
|The 1993 Oslo Accords
established de facto Palestinian self-rule. Prime Minister Rabin and PLO
leader Arafat would later share the Nobel Peace prize. The Israeli-Jordan
Peace treaty meant Israel now had normal relations with two of her three
immediate Moslem neighbors. Progress came to an end in 1995 when
a Israeli right-wing fanatic assassinated war hero Prime Minister Rabin.
In 2000 Israeli-Palestinian tensions rising. Clinton went for broke by calling a meeting between the parties at Camp David (much as President Carter had done twenty plus years earlier). What happened is in dispute. Arafat came to be widely blamed for refusing a generous offer and Palestine claimed the offer was never spelled out formerly, with maps. Violence soon followed and led to the second intifada (rebellion)3
As a result the US policy gradually drifted from the commitment to a fair settlement to an increasingly one-sided pro-Israel posture. Editor's Note: Americans would soon learn of a Muslim Jihad.The issue of Iraq lingered on with periodic administration ordered air strikes against Saddam's military and a doubling of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. This provided grist for the mills of anti-American fundamentalists, notably, Osama bin Laden. Neoconservatives began campaigning for unilateral military action to remove Saddam before he could acquire weapons of mass destruction. Many of these people became officials in the next administration.
An Iranian 1995 overture to open its oil fields to U.S. investment failed as President Clinton banned trade with extremist Iran. Iranian moderates won the 1997 election but President Clinton feared domestic repercussions from Israeli and Iranian-American lobbies chose not to react. Before long anti American fundamentalists were back in charge.In 1993, Al Qaeda's failed attempt to blow up the World Trade Center resulted in retaliation bombings of their operation in Sudan and Taliban controlled Afghanistan.
In 1998, Al Qaeda attack U.S. Embassies in east Africa
In 2000, Al Qaeda boomed the USS Cole
A wider global system of shared security started with more
effective impediments to nuclear weapons proliferation. A
danger from the use of these weapons by impoverished countries to settle
local political conflicts had emerged during the Bush I presidency.
Countries included North
Korea, India, Pakistan, and Libya. In 1995 Iran contracted with Russia for the construction of the Bushehr
Within weeks of Clinton's first 1993 inauguration North Korea refused the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) demand for additional inspections and threaten withdrawal from the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The Clinton administration responded with a proposal to help North Korea with a peaceful nuclear program and promised not to use force against her, but no credible punitive threat was used. Preemptive 1996 strikes against North Korea nuclear facility were considered and rejected. Numerous political initiatives failed.American opposition India and Pakistani's quests for nuclear weapons showed similar futility. Editor's Note: There 1998 membership into the nuclear club was a surprise to all, including the CIA.
As the North Korea saga unfolded, the U.S. administration succeeded in its efforts to obtain an indefinite extension of the NPT though French and Chinese nuclear tests made these efforts more difficult. The Senates failed to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and this strengthen the view of many abroad that the American quest for nonproliferation was driven by essentially monopolistic motives.
5. Catastrophic Leadership
from George Bush
Bush II choice of top associates, vice president Chaney, secretary of defense Powell, and secretary of defense Rumsfeld implied continuity with the realism of Bush I's foreign policy.
Initially, they focused on Bush I's unfinished business of missile defense, military transformation, and big power relationships.
War on Terror
Strategically, the "war on terror" reflected the traditional imperial concerns over control of Persian Gulf resources and the neoconservative desire to enhance Israel's security by eliminating threats from Iraq.
Critical roles were held by national security advisor Rice, the VP's chief of staff Libby, and Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz. The later two collaborated on a 1991 strategic document articulating the case for unadulterated American global military superiority and both held strong views on the Middle East.
Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation
The initial focus of the Bush administration
at their first meeting in Ljubljana,
Bush looks into Putin's soul and
has positive vibes.
|9/11/01 Occurs and the U.S. had unanimous national and international support to overthrow the Taliban controlled government of Afghanistan, because it proved al Qaeda shelter.|
|In 2002 President Bush labeled North Korea, Iran, and Iraq the "axis of evil ." The U.S. withdraws from the ABM treaty and the International Criminal Court Treaty. Israeli, with U.S. support, crushes the Palestine authority. Using force in Iraq was approved by Congress and the UN.||
A 2002 cleavage of what
to do next developed between
neoconservative Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
who wanted to follow-up against Iraq and Secretary of State Powell who was mindful of a riskier larger war.
North Korea rejected IAEA restrictions and states that its nuclear
facilities are a discussion matter for only herself and the United States.
Russia began constructing Iran's first nuclear plant at Bushehr.
2003, Turkey refuses to allow U.S. troop deployment, France, Germany,
and Russia openly oppose the Iraq War. Weapons of mass destruction
are not found. NATO takes command of the Afghanistan International
Security Assistance Force.
|It took a mere three weeks to destroy Saddam Hussein's regime. By elevating the 9/11 criminal attack into an allegorical declaration of war, his advisors anointed the president with the status of "wartime" commander in chief with enhanced executive authority. The arrogance that swept the Bush administration was captured by Ron Suskind's October of 2004 New York Time Magazine story which a senior Bush aid derisively dismissed the criticism. Said the official," ... We are the empire now..." Not surprisingly, a nemesis was not long in coming.||
United States responded to North Korea's announced withdrawal from the
Nonproliferation Treaty with a call for a regional solution. Russia and
China block U.N. condemnation of North Korea.
|In 2004, NATO expanded by seven countries and the EU expanded by ten countries. The Abu Ghraib prison scandal erupts while resistance to U.S. occupation and sectarian strife mount in Iraq.||Terror bombings hit Madrid in 2004|
In 2005, Kyoto Protocol without the U.S. goes into effect. Iraqi Sectarian violence intensifies.
In 2006, Violence mounts in Palestine and Iraq, erupts in Lebanon, and resurfaces in Afghanistan.
Terror bombings hit London and
Ahmandinejad elected president of Iran.
Bush II finally accepted the international architecture demonstrated by the Six-Party talks concerning North Korean nuclear activity and explored negotiations with Iran over the 1990
member of the "axis of evil. After the war, the U.S., rebuffed a an Iranian probe regarding the possibility of a dialogue on security, economic issues, and nuclear safeguards.
Six-Party talks (North Korea, South Korea,
China, Russia, Japan, and the U.S.) concerning North Korea's nuclear
program were announced, Iran promises to suspend uranium enrichment, and
Libya abandoned its nuclear program.
reverses its pledge not to enrich uranium.
Three articles of
faith which were largely derived from the neocons worldview were
fervently embraced by the administration.
1) Terror originating from the Middle East
2) The political culture of the region respected force above all else.
3) The electoral democracy could be imposed from the
Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
and Russian support in limiting North Koreas nuclear efforts were
America failed to capitalize on her Cold War victory and
missed two historical opportunities of
America may have a second chance because Russia can not decide whether she wants to be a socially backward Eurasian authoritarian state or a genuinely modern European democracy.
China has a Far Eastern rival in Japan and has to
resolve the contradiction between her freewheeling economy and her
bureaucratic centrist political system.
will depend on her answering important questions.
Answers are not easy.
1) Is the American system structurally
equipped to formulate and sustain a global policy to protect her own
interests and also promotes global security and well-being? Policies with worldwide impact must no longer be structured largely on
The executive and legislative branches must have a formal policy for
taking a long-range view at the global future and for consulting about
2) Is the American society up for a sustained leadership role that requires a degree of responsible self-restraint derived from an understanding of global trends? Material self indulgence, personal short comings, and public ignorance about the world are compounding in an increasing way. This adds to the difficulty our democracy faces in formulating a globally appealing program for effective global leadership.
3) Does America intuitively sense what
the global political awakening implies?
American paramount has been described as the new global empire and history shows the longevity of empires has recently, because of political awakenings and technology, shrunk dramatically.
Populist activism's anti-Western character has more to do with historical experience and Western domination than ideological or religious bias.
By 2020 the Euro-Atlantic world will have
only 15% of the world's population and
9. Beyond 2008-America's Second
3. An Iran predominate in the Persian Gulf
4) A volatile, nuclear armed Pakistan
5) A disaffected Europe
7) China setting up an East Asian community
9) Populist anti-U.S. wave in Latin America
|Grading the Presidents|
|Bush I||Clinton||Bush II|
|Overall||Solid B||Uneven C||Failed F|
Tactical skill but missed
Major gap between
potential and performance
A simplistic dogmatic worldview
prompts self-deceptive unilateralism
Quick Notes Footnotes
Please e-mail with thoughts and suggestions.