The Wolfowitz Doctrine And The “Rules-Based Order”: U.S. Credibility Is Gone

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by Harley Schlanger, LaRouche Organization:

Jan. 11—The Anglo-American empire is reaching its “emperor has no clothes” moment, as the arrogant disregard for international law displayed by the Biden administration and its NATO allies is being called out by one of its leading defenders, the {Washington Post}.  A column on January 5 by foreign policy analyst Ishaan Tharoor — who has often served as an apologist for the repeated violations of international law by a succession of U.S. administrations — indicates that it is not just the growing number of anti-colonial leaders from the Global South who recognize the murderous hypocrisy of the “West.”

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Tharoor uses the motion filed by the government of South Africa in the International Court of Justice, which charges the Netanyahu regime with violating law established by the 1948 Genocide Convention, to call attention to the opposition to the atrocities unleashed on the Palestinians in Gaza.  Under the headline “Israeli calls for Gaza’s ethnic cleansing are only getting louder,” Tharoor quotes from the South African motion that “no armed attack on a State’s territory no matter how serious — even an attack involving atrocity crimes — can … provide any possible justification for, or defense to, breaches” of the Genocide Convention.

With quotes from Netanyahu’s extremist allies demanding the removal of most, if not all, of the Palestinian population in Gaza, the article makes a mockery of the oft-repeated assertion that the U.S. support for Israel is a defense of the “Rules-Based Order.”  The South African filing includes ten pages of quotes from Netanyahu’s cabinet members which express vile, dehumanizing views of Palestinian civilians.

The “New World Order”

The concept of a Rules-Based Order (RBO) is nothing more than a modern iteration of imperial domination built on the foundations of classic 19th century imperial British geopolitics.  It was crafted by a team of neo-conservative ideologues to consolidate the global control of an “American century” after the break-up of the Soviet Union, providing content to President George H.W. Bush’s assertion in January 1991 that the coalition going to war against Iraq was creating a “New World Order.”

Wolfowitz Rumsfeld and Bush: Three War Criminals
Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Bush: Three War Criminals

Its founding document was the “Defense Planning Guidance” drafted by a team working under the direction of Paul Wolfowitz, which became known as the “Wolfowitz Doctrine”.  It was completed in February 1992, when Wolfowitz was the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, serving under notorious War Hawk, Dick Cheney, who was Bush’s Secretary of Defense.  After it was leaked to the {New York Times}, which reported on it on March 8, 1992, a second draft was produced, to “soften” the language, but the intent in the original outline was not altered.  It was drafted to address the “new situation” in the world, characterized by the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the U.S. coalition victory over Iraq in the Gulf War.

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 generate global power.

U.S. policy will be to “discourage” any nation, including allies, “from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order.”  To do this, the U.S. “must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”  After acknowledging that the U.S. “cannot become the world’s ‘policeman'”, it states that nonetheless, the U.S. must take “pre-eminent responsibility” to protect “our own interests”.  The first “interest” cited is “access to vital raw materials.”  This requires that U.S. strategy “must now focus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor” (emphasis added).  

The political/economic component of the strategy insisted upon promotion of “peaceful democracies with market-based economics,” i.e., a neoliberal international order.  This would be enforced by U.S. military power, while preserving NATO “as the primary instrument of western defense and security, as well as the channel for U.S. influence and participation in European security affairs.”  This latter point is seen by its sponsors as a success, as recent events such as the NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine and support for Netanyahu’s genocide in Gaza demonstrate that no European Union or NATO subordinate will step out of line with the empire’s policy.

“Bipartisan” Consensus

The Wolfowitz Doctrine has defined the bipartisan consensus which rules Washington, with a commitment to sustaining the U.S. as the “Sole Superpower” running a Unipolar Order.  The continuity of this policy after the first Bush presidency was maintained through President Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who proclaimed the U.S. to be the “indispensable nation” in strategic affairs.  In defending the administration’s support of U.S. military action in Iraq in 1998 and the Balkans in 1999, she said, “If we have to use force, it is because we are America, we are the indispensable nation.”  She conveyed the imperial arrogance of a “sole hegemon” as a strong proponent of NATO expansion, telling the Senate in 1997, “We do not need Russia to agree to enlargement.”

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