The New American Century


In 1997, the representatives of the U.S. corporate elites, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Jeb Bush, became signatories of the foundation document for a new neoconservative think tank called “Project for the New American Century”, in short PNAC. The principal aim of PNAC was to advocate the overthrow of regimes hostile to the American corporate interests and to preserve the Anglo-American supremacy based on petrodollar regime.456 One of PNAC's most influential publications was a 90-page report titled Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources For a New Century which was co-authored by Donald Kagan, a Yale historian, whose son Robert Kagan was one of the signatories of PNAC. He was famous for his work On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace, a comparative history examining four major conflicts and causes of war. In Rebuilding America's Defenses he and his co-authors asserted that the United States should "seek to preserve and extend its position of global leadership" by "maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military forces.” In a section Rebuilding America's Defenses titled "Creating Tomorrow's Dominant Force", the authors had stated: "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”457 The concept of a “catalyzing event” also occurred in Foreign Affairs magazine of the Council on Foreign Relations, in its November/December 1998 edition, which published an article titled “Catastrophic Terrorism. Imagining the Transformative Event.” One of its authors was Philip Zelikow, a prominent American diplomat and academic of Jewish descent, who worked in Reagan and Bush administrations as part of National Security Council. He was also a co-director of Harvard's Intelligence and Policy Program. In his 1998 publication Philip Zelikow wrote as follows: “If the 1993 bombings at the World Trade Centre succeeded the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it. Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America's fundamental sense of security like Pearl Harbour. The event would divide our past and our future into a before and an after. The United States might respond with draconian measures, scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and use of deadly force. More violence would follow, either future terrorist attacks or US counter-attacks.”458

In anticipation of the regime change in Iraq, PNAC members were determined to ensure that George W. Bush, son of a former president George H. W. Bush, wins the next presidential election. A Republican George W. Bush, was a graduate of Harvard Business School and Governor of Texas, who engaged in various ventures in the oil industry. His grandfather, Prescott Bush, financed Nazi-Germany alongside Edward Harriman, whilst his father George H.W. Bush was former U.S. president who authorized invasion of Panama in 1989 and operation “Desert Storm” against Iraq in 1991. George Bush's contender for succession was a Democrat Al Gore, an environmentalist activist and Vice-president in Clinton administration. On election night on November 7, 2000, Al Gore won the national popular vote but the Elector College was inconclusive in the state of Florida, where Bush’s younger brother, Jeb, was governor. The returns showed that Bush had won Florida by such a close margin that state law required a recount. Recounts were started but then stopped as Republicans and Democrats wrangled over what standards should apply. After a month-long series of legal battles, the Justices of the Supreme Court, also narrowly divided 5-4, ordered to stay a Florida recount because according to Justice Scalia: “counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm to petitioner Bush, and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election.”459 Consequently, following the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, George Bush won in Florida by a margin of 009%, i.e. 537 votes. Ultimately, he won 271 electoral votes, one more than was necessary to receive majority of all the electoral votes and became fourth of five presidents in the history of the United States who ascended to presidential office whilst loosing the popular vote. Immediately after his election, President Bush appointed the signatories of PNAC documents to the top levels of the White House and Pentagon. Thus Dick Cheney, chief of Halliburton oil company, became Vicepresident; Donald Rumsfeld, chief of various corporate businesses, became Secretary of Defense; Paul Wolfowitz, political scientist who advocated regime change in Iraq, became Deputy Secretary of Defense; Condoleeza Rice, former Chevron director, became National Security Adviser and Donald Evans, the former head of oil and gas exploration company Tom Brown Inc., became Commerce Secretary.460 An associate of Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Jay Feith, was appointed Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. Douglas Feith, Harvard graduate of Jewish descent was a member of National Security Council and Pentagon in the 1980s. Before he was invited to join the Bush administration, he worked as an attorney in the private practice Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, which engaged in lobbying efforts for, among others, the Turkish, Israeli and Bosnian governments, in addition to representing defense corporations, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. With his new appointment in hand, Feith proved influential in having Richard Perle chosen as chairman of the Defense Policy Board. Another supporter of the regime change in Iraq, John Bolton, a government advisor in Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, was appointed Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. George Shultz, head of Bechtel Corporation, became one of President Bush's informal advisers.

President Bush administration set its focus mainly on two countries, Iraq, where they aimed to topple Saddam Hussein and take control over Iraq's oil resources; and Afghanistan where the US oil company Unocal started negotiating to build oil and gas pipelines from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan and into Pakistani ports on the Arabian sea.461 The countries in the Caspian basin, particularly Afghanistan, were of the interest to the corporate elites of Washington D.C. and the City of London, alongside Latin American countries and West African countries around Gulf of Guinea as alternatives to Middle Eastern Oil. The scheme of the US oil company Unocal required a stable administration in Afghanistan, which would guarantee safe passage for its goods. Afghanistan was also important as major producer of opium and heroine, which the U.S. intelligence services wanted to control. Unocal courted the Sunni Islamic Fundamentalists, the Talibans, who ruled Afghanistan from 1996, but they preferred to see a regime more loyal to the American interests, like the Saudi regime. The same year, Unocal opened an office in Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan, and rented a house near one of the headquarters of Pakistani Military Intelligence and the compounds of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi billionaire and leader of Al-Qaeda, whom the CIA financed in the 1980s to channel weapons to Mujahedeen in Afghanistan.462 Al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups were heavily financed by the US's ally, the Saudis, who had close links to the Bush family. The Saudis were channeling money via various charitable organizations. These groups received annually between $3 billion and $4 billion, of which between 10 and 20 percent was sent abroad.463 In 1994, French interior minister expressed concern how charities were being misused for funding terrorist groups. In 1996, a CIA report concluded that a startling one third of all Islamic charities were linked to terrorism.464 The Saudis were were very close to the Bush family and were multibillion dollar investors in the United States. They had extensive dealings with ChaseManhattan, Citibank, General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, the Fremont Group – a spin-off of energy giant Bechtel. They owned property in Texas and also have real estate in Florida and Massachusetts. Bin Ladens were also investors in the Carlyle Group, the giant private equity firm co-founded by American-Jewish financier David Rubenstein. Carlyle Group invested in defense industry, which was likely to get more government contracts in case of a military conflict. Many of its senior officers were retired officials of Carter, Reagan and Bush administration. Expresident George H.W. Bush, father of President George Bush, joined Carlyle Group in 1999.

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456 See a complete list of PNAC's signatories and contributing writers »

457 457“Rebuilding America's Defenses. Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century”, A Report of the Project of New American Century, September 2000, p. 51 »

458 Philip Zelikow, “Catastrophic Terrorism: Imagining the Transformative Event”, by Snowshoe Documentary Film »

459 Bush v Gore, 121 S. Ct. 525; (2000) »

460 Stern, Who Won The Oil Wars?, p. 159 »

461 George Mobiot, “America's pipe dream”, The Guardian, 23 October 2001 »

462 Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (Penguin, 2005), p. 342 »

463 Posner, Secrets of the Kingdom, The Inside Story of the Saudi-U.S. Connection, p. 167 »

464 Ibid., 169 »