Project for the New American Century

kelley kelley at
Sun Apr 6 13:50:29 PDT 2003

Yes, if you read this stuff you will have some insight into what is going 
on. The war party faction has never been particularly interested in 
anyone's support, only in so far as it would enable military operations. 
You have to understand these folks as conceiving of themselves as 
hard-headed realists for whom power is the _only_ thing that matters. They 
are unabashed about this approach to foreign policy.

when Rummy tells Syria and Iran, "You could be next, MFers" and Shrub 
replies that such an action is "Good" the war party is unashamed. This is 
the way it is, on their world view. Power. Unadorned. Undaunted. (Because, 
they say, everyone else works that way, too, and you're a naif if you think 

They believe that both Liberals and Conservatives are misguided. 
Democratization and shared interests and ideals simply do NOT inexorably 
flow from economic development, the flaw of recent foreign policy thinking. 
For them, both left and right mistakenly embrace "comfortable doctrines of 
passivity. ... How nice to imagine that merely by enriching ourselves we 
can spread the blessings of democracy to everyone else." (June 25, 2000 
Robert Kagan, _The Washington Post_, "Springtime for Dictators."

Robert Kagan's material has been most interesting to me--in terms of 
providing some insight into what has gone on over the past couple of years 
and recently. In Kagan's view, which I think represents the "war party" 
fairly well, there is no shame in being called cowboys. Nor are they 
worried about the break up of alliances. I dare say _that_ was a goal--for 
those alliances were built on false premises and must be sundered and 
rebuilt anew. They have never seen Russia as an ally (one look at papa 
Shrub's policy toward them or Condi Rice's statements before the election 
were a klew, anyway). European power was eclipsed long ago. This is the 
moment of Pax Americana and it must be clutched now and moved forward in 
order ensure that power lasts as long as possible. The means? The exercise 
of power as force, first, and only through money or solidarity later--if ever.

Here's an excerpt that illustrates Kagan's "America is from Mars, Europe is 
from Venus" thinking:

Given that the United States is unlikely to reduce its power and that 
Europe is unlikely to increase more than marginally its own power or the 
will to use what power it has, the future seems certain to be one of 
increased transatlantic tension. The danger if it is a danger is that the 
United States and Europe will become positively estranged. Europeans will 
become more shrill in their attacks on the United States. The United States 
will become less inclined to listen, or perhaps even to care. The day could 
come, if it has not already, when Americans will no more heed the 
pronouncements of the EU than they do the pronouncements of Asean or the 
Andean Pact.


The differing threat perceptions in the United States and Europe are not 
just matters of psychology, however. They are also grounded in a practical 
reality that is another product of the disparity of power. For Iraq and 
other “rogue” states objectively do not pose the same level of threat to 
Europeans as they do to the United States. There is, first of all, the 
American security guarantee that Europeans enjoy and have enjoyed for six 
decades, ever since the United States took upon itself the burden of 
maintaining order in far-flung regions of the world — from the Korean 
Peninsula to the Persian Gulf — from which European power had largely 
withdrawn. Europeans generally believe, whether or not they admit it to 
themselves, that were Iraq ever to emerge as a real and present danger, as 
opposed to merely a potential danger, then the United States would do 
something about it — as it did in 1991. If during the Cold War Europe by 
necessity made a major contribution to its own defense, today Europeans 
enjoy an unparalleled measure of “free security” because most of the likely 
threats are in regions outside Europe, where only the United States can 
project effective force. In a very practical sense — that is, when it comes 
to actual strategic planning — neither Iraq nor Iran nor North Korea nor 
any other “rogue” state in the world is primarily a European problem. Nor, 
certainly, is China. Both Europeans and Americans agree that these are 
primarily American problems.

This is why Saddam Hussein is not as great a threat to Europe as he is to 
the United States. He would be a greater threat to the United States even 
were the Americans and Europeans in complete agreement on Iraq policy, 
because it is the logical consequence of the transatlantic disparity of 
power. The task of containing Saddam Hussein belongs primarily to the 
United States, not to Europe, and everyone agrees on this6 — including 
Saddam, which is why he considers the United States, not Europe, his 
principal adversary. In the Persian Gulf, in the Middle East, and in most 
other regions of the world (including Europe), the United States plays the 
role of ultimate enforcer. “You are so powerful,” Europeans often say to 
Americans. “So why do you feel so threatened?” But it is precisely 
America’s great power that makes it the primary target, and often the only 
target. Europeans are understandably content that it should remain so.

Americans are “cowboys,” Europeans love to say. And there is truth in this. 
The United States does act as an international sheriff, self-appointed 
perhaps but widely welcomed nevertheless, trying to enforce some peace and 
justice in what Americans see as a lawless world where outlaws need to be 
deterred or destroyed, and often through the muzzle of a gun. Europe, by 
this old West analogy, is more like a saloonkeeper. Outlaws shoot sheriffs, 
not saloonkeepers. In fact, from the saloonkeeper’s point of view, the 
sheriff trying to impose order by force can sometimes be more threatening 
than the outlaws who, at least for the time being, may just want a drink.

When Europeans took to the streets by the millions after September 11, most 
Americans believed it was out of a sense of shared danger and common 
interest: The Europeans knew they could be next. But Europeans by and large 
did not feel that way and still don’t. Europeans do not really believe they 
are next. They may be secondary targets — because they are allied with the 
U.S. — but they are not the primary target, because they no longer play the 
imperial role in the Middle East that might have engendered the same 
antagonism against them as is aimed at the United States. When Europeans 
wept and waved American flags after September 11, it was out of genuine 
human sympathy, sorrow, and affection for Americans. For better or for 
worse, European displays of solidarity were a product more of 
fellow-feeling than self-interest.

 From Power and Weakness, Robert Kagan, Policy Review, June 2002

see also,
(they knew Russia and France would object in 98. The song and dance with 
the UN was, I'm convinced, just buying time)

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