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Home > News > Columnists > Arvind Lavakare

It is Pax Americana, stupid!

March 29, 2003

In his speech on March 11 in Washington at a convention of Veterans of War,Paul Wolfowitz, US deputy secretary of defence, said, 'The issue is not oil' and that if war comes, 'it will be a war to disarm Saddam's weapons of mass terror... a war of liberation to secure peace and freedom, not only for ourselves, but for the Iraqi people.'

Now Wolfowitz is a Ph D, a former dean and professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University -- qualifications that are expected to yield views that must be respected. But Wolfowitz is also a hawk, perhaps the biggest one in his supremo's parlour in the White House. He's also a neo-conservative politician and an American at that. And so the learned professor need not always be taken at face value where Uncle Sam's interests are concerned.

Consider his delinking of War Iraqi Freedom from Iraq's oil, said to be the world's second largest reserves.

According to the official energy statistics provided by the US Energy Information Administration, total gross oil imports (crude and products) of the US in the first nine months of 2002 were 11.2 million barrels per day (MMBD) representing 57 per cent of total US oil demand. After Canada, the top two suppliers were its satraps, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia with 1.5 MMBD each, closely followed by Venezuela (1.4 MMBD).

With its 60-year-old monopoly lease of Saudi oil fields coming to an end in 2005, the US may well be confronted with a problem there. Moreover, the US' own proven oil reserves have declined 20 per cent since 1990 and its production remains at a nearly 50 year low. (EIA's stats available on

There was news recently that the US senate has, for considerations of environment, turned down the Bush administration's proposal to explore the rich oil reserves believed to be under the Atlantic Wild Life Refuge Region in Alaska. So despite what Prof. Wolfowitz told the simple-minded War Veterans the other day, oil is a concern for its largest guzzler in the world; though it may not be the reason for the current war on Iraq, oil could well be a major spin-off, like, you know, killing two birds with one stone.

Take, next, Wolfowitz's attempt to sell the ongoing war as 'a war of liberation to secure peace and freedom' for the US (apart from securing that for the Iraqi people.) Goodness gracious! Even the simple-minded American soldiers of yesteryears cannot be expected to swallow that bit. How on earth can an Iraq emaciated by 12 years of UN sanctions even cast a shadow on mighty America's security and freedom? It has no links with Al Qaeda; it hasn't known to threaten the mighty America even with the atom bomb of the firecracker variety.

Further, the UN inspectors didn't find anything terrorising or terrifying in Saddam's domain even in their latest round; what was found instead was that the documents (regarding Iraq's nuclear nexus with Niger) which the mighty USA presented to the UN Security Council were forgeries as poor as Saddam's subjects.

The paradox and the mystery here is that though it is North Korea that has boasted of its ability to drop nuclear-tipped missiles on US soil, the mighty America engages it -- not in a war of shock and awe, but in diplomatic talks.

What then is the truth behind the 'Iraqi Freedom War'?

Its seed lies in the document named 'Defense Policy Guidance' (DPG) written in 1992 by two who were then relatively obscure political appointees of President Bush Sr in the Pentagon's policy department in the aftermath of the Gulf War. The authors were Paul Wolfowitz and I Lewis Libby, currently Vice-President Dick Chenney's chief-of-staff.

The draft DPG called for US military pre-eminence over Eurasia by preventing the rise of any potentially hostile power and a policy of pre-emption against states suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction. When excerpts of the DPG's draft version leaked to The New York Times, Senator Joseph Biden, a Democrat, was horrified and denounced the document as a prescription for 'literally a Pax Americana.'

After eight years of Bill Clinton's regime of friendly America reaching out to the world, Pax Americana became the uninhibitedly stated major objective of another document entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century prepared in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think tank called Project for the New American Century. This document, peppered with criticism of Clinton's policies, admitsit 'saw the project as building upon the defense strategy' outlined by DPG of Wolfowitz and Libby. And Wolfowitz was, naturally, a participant in the PNAC. And President Bush Junior's 'National Security Strategy,' announced in September 2002, is, naturally, based on the PNAC document.

The 90-page PNAC document is an unashamedly self-righteous exhibit of America's arrogance as the globe's only superpower. Its founding 'Statement of Principles' asks --

  • 'Does the United States have the resolve to shape a century favourable to America's principles and interests?'
  • calls for 'a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad' and for 'a national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities"
  • warns that 'If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests.'

Note the absence above of stating what the American principles and fundamental interests are. Not, too, the exclusion of any reference to democracy, equality, plurality, world peace, environment preservation, poverty alleviation and human rights.

In the immediate context of the Iraq war, just two excerpts from the PNAC are revealing. It says that 'constabulary missions' (the new phrase coined to denote the traditional peace keeping missions) 'demand American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations. Nor can the United States assume a UN-like stance of neutrality; the preponderance of American power is so great and its global interest so wide that it cannot pretend to be indifferent to the political outcome in the Balkans, the Persian Gulf or even when it deploys forces in Africa.'

    • 'While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification (for enforcing no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq), the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.' (So much then for 'regime change' in Baghdad requiring an invasion by America.)

Some other alarming facets of the PNAC document are its support of a blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival

  • its expression of worries in the administration that Europe could rival the USA
  • its spotlighting of China for 'regime change'
  • its call for the creation of a 'US Space Force' to dominate space and cyberspace in order to prevent 'enemies' from using the Internet against the US
  • its hint that the US may consider developing biological weapons

In short, forget the present war as being one to force 'tyrant' Saddam into history. Forget democratisation of Iraq. Forget destroying his alleged weapons of destruction. Forget what Wolfowitz tells America's Veterans of War. It's just Pax Americana, stupid, and its many gains, viceregal appointments and all, in the new 21st century colonialism of Stars and Stripes.

The Gulf War II

Arvind Lavakare

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Number of User Comments: 61

Sub: Excellent Analysis..but just one question...

I agree whole-heartedly with you Mr. Lavakare--but can you answer this: How is Paul Wolfowitz's wish to sustain "Pax Americana" different from Europe's wish to ...

Posted by M. Khanna

Sub: You'd defend Hitler against the British colonialists, right!

In 1919, Germany signed a peace treaty. Among other things, the Germans agreed to keep it's army out of far western Germany (the Ruhr); no ...


Sub: arvind lavkare's patchwork quilt

is a nice pastiche of economics, oil politics, quotations, statements, corroborated by presence of pre-Clinton bureaucrats and documents he refers to copiously. The documents he ...

Posted by ravi kotru

Sub: hypocrisy

What is piece of hypocrisy Mr Bush and his team mates? Why can't he say openly to oil producing countries that I need oil not ...

Posted by Sanjeev

Sub: it is pax..

Bush has prove himself as the big brother of Hitler. Please respect the democracy. Do noyt intervene other countries affairs. War is not a solution. ...

Posted by KKSharma



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