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December 29, 2007

Unhappy Hegemony


by Gordon Prather

As you may have noticed, things have not been going well, recently, for the American Hegemony.

That would be the global hegemony the wonderful folks who call themselves "neo-conservatives" – having been denied military victory in the Cold War by the internal collapse of the Soviet Union – have been determined to achieve any way they can.

But the neo-crazies are not totally to blame for the developing debacle. In Bosnia, North Korea, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. There is plenty of blame to spread around.

Scroll back to the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact in 1989.

Both the Soviet Union and the United States began to withdraw from service the tens of thousands of nukes that had been specifically developed and deployed to fight NATO-Warsaw Pact battles.

Two years later, with the Soviet Union on the verge of economic collapse, Russian officials came to "lobby" the U.S. Congress. By then, the vast majority of Soviet nukes had been returned to Russia.

The Russian delegation told Senator Sam Nunn et al that they wanted to dismantle the tens of thousands of Soviet nukes excess to Russian needs, recover the fissile material (essentially pure U-235 uranium and Pu-239 plutonium) from those dismantled nukes, and then store it until they could eventually dispose of it as reactor fuel.

The problem was, the Russians didn’t have the money to do all of that. Would Congress help?

Rarely has Congress responded so quickly to any request. The "Nunn-Lugar" Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act was attached to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty Implementation Act of 1991, which just happened to be pending before the Senate.

Nunn-Lugar began by noting "that Soviet President Gorbachev has requested Western help in dismantling nuclear weapons and President Bush has proposed United States co-operation on the storage, transportation, dismantling, and destruction of Soviet nuclear weapons."

Nunn-Lugar then declared "that it is in the national security interest of the United States to facilitate on a priority basis the transportation, storage, safeguarding, and destruction of nuclear and other weapons in the Soviet Union, its republics, and any successor entities, and to assist in the prevention of weapons proliferation."

President George H. W. Bush was immediately authorized to "reprogram" up to $400 million from funds already appropriated for that fiscal year to the Department of Defense to implement Nunn-Lugar.

Now, back in 1992, Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense and Paul Wolfowitz was Undersecretary for Policy.

Periodically, the Undersecretary develops for the Secretary a top-secret document entitled Defense Planning Guidance. The document is supposed to be "threat-driven." Once developed and approved, the Secretary issues it to the military Departments and to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It tells them what their "force structure" needs to be as well as the manpower, weapons, equipment, and logistical support that will be required to meet the "threat."

So when the New York Times revealed in 1992 some contents of Wolfowitz’s Defense Planning Guidance which "envisioned a future in which the United States could, and should, prevent any other nation or alliance from becoming a great power" – there was understandably quite a flap, here and abroad, in and out of government.

Those kind of statements belong – if anywhere – in National Security Strategy documents, developed by the National Security Council staff under the direction of the President’s National Security Advisor. National Security Strategy documents are supposed to inform Defense Planning Guidance, not the other way around.

But surely Cheney and the neocrazies shared the Bush-Baker and Nunn-Lugar view that nukes getting into the hands of terrorists was the Number One Threat to our national security? They were anxious to implement Nunn-Lugar as soon as possible, weren’t they?

Apparently not. Then or now.

In any event, for the anti-nuclear-everything entourage successor Bill Clinton brought to power, our national security was not as important as world peace. For Greenpeace, the thousands of nukes – yea, even the hundreds of nuclear power plants – in our hands were apparently more of a threat to world peace than a few "loose" nukes in the hands of terrorists.

So, Clinton made it quite clear that he intended to pursue "a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control" as required by Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Whereas Cheney’s neocrazies had essentially declined to implement Nunn-Lugar as intended, Clinton’s Greenpeace entourage actually hijacked Nunn-Lugar, transforming it from a nuke proliferation prevention program into a nuke disarmament program.

Also, perversely, taking a page from the Cheney-Wolfowitz 1992 grand strategy, Clinton began pushing the boundaries of NATO eastward, toward the walls of the Kremlin.

And, at the urging of human-rights activists and the neocrazies, Clinton bashed the Russians for their efforts to suppress Islamic terrorist activities in Chechnya.

Clinton then angered the Russians by attempting to achieve regime change in Bosnia and Kosovo from 20,000 feet, imperiling Russia’s Slavic brethren, the Serbs, on the ground.

Furthermore, in 1998, after declaring he would never allow the Gulf War sanctions on Iraq to be lifted so long as Saddam Hussein was in power, Clinton sand-bagged the IAEA – which had certified Iraq to be nuke free – by bombing Saddam’s palaces in and around Baghdad.

Finally, on Clinton’s "watch," there had been added the Pakistani "loose" nuke threat. Pakistan had surprised everyone in 1998 by testing a half-dozen or so fairly sophisticated nukes just days after India – defying Clinton – had tested several of their own.

The prospect that the next India-Pakistani conflict would involve nukes was bad enough, but President Bush-II inherited a far worse problem. Nuke-armed Pakistan openly supported the ruling Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan, and the Taliban openly provided refuge to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

What to do?

Well, obviously, the first thing for Bush-II to do upon taking office was to direct the Pentagon to develop plans for, first, invading Iraq and deposing Saddam Hussein, and, second, invading Iran and deposing the Mullahs.

Obviously.

What about those Pakistani nukes?

Well, General Musharraf can handle that.

But what about all those human-rights activists – whose support was critical to Bush-II invading Iraq in 2003, and attacking Iran next year – demanding "democracy" in Pakistan.

Okay, tell President Musharraf to resign his military position and work out some sort of power-sharing arrangement with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

That’ll work.

Now, how are those plans for attacking Iran coming along?


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Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

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