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This address appears in the March 17, 2006 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

U.S. Imperialism:
The National Security State

by Clifford A. Kiracofe, Jr.

Clifford A. Kiracofe, Jr., is a former Senior Professional Staff Member, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He gave this speech to EIR's Berlin seminar on March 2, 2006.

I thank our hosts for the opportunity to participate in our fourth meeting here in Berlin at this fine venue. It is a pleasure to be with you all today and to see many friends and colleagues in the audience. I will present an overview of the rise of the "National Security State" that the United States have become. This phenomenon includes the "garrison state" at home and global imperialism abroad, both controlled by an all-powerful imperial Presidency.

The project for the imperial Presidency, garrison state, and imperial foreign policy, was advanced after World War II by Presidents Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon. For five decades, the project has relied on the manipulation of fear, and the creation of "emergency" conditions, through the systematic deception of the United States public and Congress about the international situation and foreign threats.

Today, according to current official United States government policy statements such as the just-released 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, the former "Soviet Threat" and "Red China Threat" have been replaced now by the "Islamic Threat" and the "New China Threat." The war against Iraq is ongoing, while preventive wars against Iran and Syria are discussed and military conflict with China is anticipated.

My presentation this afternoon will sketch out various stages in the rise of the U.S. National Security State. To properly grasp the current situation in the United States, for the purpose of foreign policy analysis, historical context is essential.

First, I will start with the notorious White House National Security Council policy paper "NSC-68" of April 1950 and then consider the Korean War.

Second, I will turn to the Gaither Committee Report of 1957, the so-called "Missile Gap" of 1960, and the "Team B" Report of 1976. In all of these, we will trace the hand of Paul Nitze (1907-2004) as one of the primary instruments of the imperial faction in the United States who made a career of falsifying the so-called "Soviet Threat."

Third, I will turn to a consideration of U.S. imperialism and the Vietnam War.

Fourth, I will consider Paul Nitze as a mentor of neo-conservatives such as Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle.

Fifth, I will conclude with a consideration of the parallel between the imperial Presidency of Richard M. Nixon and that of George W. Bush.

Rise of the National Security State:
Paul Nitze's NSC-68 and the Korean War

President Franklin Roosevelt hoped that after World War II the major powers—the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and China—would cooperate in concert, on a realistic basis, to promote international stability and peace. At the same time, President Roosevelt hoped that the United Nations organization would operate at the world diplomatic level toward the same end. The Cold War, and the bi-polar world the Cold War created, however, placed severe constraints on this vision, a vision that was shared on a nonpartisan basis by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Although the United States in good faith demobilized rapidly after World War II, unlike Stalin's Soviet Union, certain circles in the United States planned to reverse this and remilitarize U.S. foreign policy with a view towards a global imperial policy from which they could personally profit.[1] These "Establishment" circles, still with us today, contain representatives of finance, business, politics, academia, press, and the military.

This faction, which I refer to as the "imperial faction," was described by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as the "military-industrial complex." President Eisenhower's work developing the United States Industrial War College and mobilization planning in the 1930s, and his later leadership in World War II, made him fully aware of the nexus between industry, high finance, and the military, both in the United States and in Europe.[2]

In the earliest phase of the post-World War II "Cold War," 1946-48, we had the constructive and balanced vision of Gen. George C. Marshall (1880-1959), who served as Truman's Secretary of State (1947-49) and as his Secretary of Defense (1950-51). As Secretary of State, Marshall tasked Ambassador George F. Kennan (1904-2005)—a career diplomat, Soviet specialist, and head of the newly created Policy Planning Staff—with developing post-war planning that would get Europe back on its feet economically, while at the same time promoting a democratic political evolution.

Significantly, Secretary Marshall and Ambassador Kennan emphasized the economic, political, psychological, and diplomatic elements of policy, and this emphasis was institutionalized in the original "Marshall Plan."[3] President Truman's later "Point Four" plan for aid to the developing world followed Marshall's concepts and emphasis.

As Ambassador Kennan has explained,

The concept of containment, which I had been so bold as to put forward in 1947, had been addressed to what I and others had believed was a danger of the political expansion of Stalinist Communism—and especially the danger that local Communists, inspired and controlled by Moscow, might acquire dominant positions in the great defeated industrial countries of Germany and Japan. I did not believe, nor did others who knew the Soviet Union well, that there was the slightest danger of a Soviet military attack against the major Western powers or Japan. This was, in other words, a political danger, not a military one. And the historical record bears out this conclusion. Yet for reasons I have never fully understood, by 1949 a great many people in Washington—in the Pentagon, the White House, and even the Department of State—seemed to have come to the conclusion that there was a real danger of the Soviets unleashing, in the fairly near future, what would have been World War III.[4]

The balanced, and prudent, Marshall-Kennan approach, emphasizing non-military policy elements to restore Europe politically and economically, was overturned by the imperial faction that gained the upper hand in the Truman Administration. Clark Clifford (1906-98), a Washington, D.C. lawyer and Truman White House political insider, in September 1946 created a startling memorandum for the President, laying out the international situation in the starkest terms, emphasizing in apocalyptic tone what he perceived as Soviet global designs for world domination. The President was so shocked by this memorandum that he locked it away in his safe and prevented its distribution outside a small circle. The memo called for atomic and even biological warfare against the Soviet Union.[5]

The fundamental change in U.S. policy, however, came several years later, in 1950, with the policy paper produced by Paul Nitze for the White House National Security Council, entitled "NSC-68."[6]

Nitze was a Wall Street investment banker turned political insider.[7] After graduating from Harvard, he joined Dillon, Read, and Company of New York City, rising to become a vice president prior to World War II. James Forrestal (1892-1949), a partner of Dillon, Read who became Secretary of the Navy in World War II, then Secretary of Defense (1947-49), was well positioned to give Nitze good entry into Washington, D.C. political circles. Dillon, Read financed the German military-industrial complex during the 1920s and 1930s when Nitze was employed there.

Nitze took over the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State after Ambassador Kennan resigned the post. This followed General Marshall's replacement by Dean Acheson, a Washington, D.C. lawyer and Democratic Party insider. The Acheson-Nitze perspective was radically different from the prudent Marshall-Kennan perspective, and there were profound policy implications as a result.

It was Nitze's April 1950 "NSC-68" policy paper that overturned the balanced and prudent Marshall-Kennan approach to the Cold War and prepared the way for a dramatic militarization of U.S. foreign policy, aimed against the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. The paper called for massive increases in defense spending and building capabilities for fighting "limited wars" in peripheral areas around the globe.

As Ambassador Charles F. Bohlen (1904-73), a Foreign Service colleague of Kennan and fellow Soviet specialist, said in his memoirs:

Soviet policy was presented as nothing more than an absolute determination to spread the Communist system throughout the world. As I have said before, even in those days I was convinced that the Soviet Union, as far as its own actions went, was largely motivated by its interests as a national state, and that the idea of spreading Communism was secondary to such considerations. . . . NSC-68's misconception of Soviet aims misled, I believe, Dean Acheson and others in interpreting the Korean War.[8]

Kennan's concept of patient long-term "containment," emphasizing political, economic, diplomatic, and psychological means, was replaced by an aggressive policy emphasizing military confrontation. The Marshall Plan itself then became militarized, contrary to its original spirit.[9] Kennan left government in 1949, returned briefly, and then was terminated in 1952 by incoming Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Kennan became a scholar at Princeton University.

The Korean War, launched in June 1950 by North Korea, triggered the critical escalation of the Cold War and the conversion of the United States into a "national security state," or "garrison state," as President Eisenhower called it.[10] Today, through increased access to key archives, specialist historians argue that the Korean War was launched on the direct initiative of North Korea.[11] For different reasons, Stalin and Mao gave a "green light," to be sure, but it was a North Korean initiative and a Korean civil war, scholars say, and not part of a Stalinist blueprint for world conquest and World War III.[12]

As Ambassador Bohlen explained, and this may be of particular interest today as we are meeting in Berlin and there are many German colleagues with us,

At Acheson's request, I spent a month in Washington examining evidence to ascertain whether the Korean invasion was the forerunner of similar Communist military moves elsewhere in the world. I was working then with Gustav Hilger, whom I had known when he was German Minister in Moscow during the early years of the war and who happened to be in Washington. He was called in as a consultant after Korea. Born in Russia, he was fluent in the Russian language and an acknowledged expert on Soviet affairs. My conclusion was that there was little chance of the Soviet Union's repeating the invasion in any other place, such as Germany. The Soviet action in Korea was limited strictly to Korea.

Hilger and Kennan shared my view, but we were in the minority. The Korean war was interpreted by Acheson and most others in the State Department, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as ushering in a new phase of Soviet foreign policy. Their view, which Truman accepted, was that having launched an attack on Korea—the first case of Communist open use of naked military force to expand the system—the Soviet Union was likely to call on satellite armies elsewhere, particularly in East Germany, to spread Communist control. They were understandably influenced by emotions engendered by the Communist invasion. At various meetings, Kennan and I argued in vain against this thesis.

We were particularly opposed to plans for a counterinvasion of North Korea. We warned that Communist countries would react strongly if hostile forces approached their borders. We had both China and the Soviet Union in mind, of course.[13]

But the imperial faction in Washington was quick to take advantage of the North Korean attack to impose its will on U.S. foreign policy through the manipulation of fear and the creation of an atmosphere of crisis and emergency. Indeed, U.S. military forces under MacArthur's arrogant leadership recklessly crossed the 38th parallel and approached China's borders. After a due official diplomatic warning from China via India and multiple other diplomatic avenues, and an initial military intervention, the Chinese next sent some 400,000 troops against U.S. forces.[14] Overall some 2.5 million Chinese military and some 500,000 Chinese civilians would serve in the Korean War.

The Korean War was immediately painted by the imperial faction as a demonstration of Soviet global designs and a step in its master plan for world domination and even "World War III." At the same time, a potentially viable U.S. policy option—based on multipolarity—for easing mainland China away from the Soviet bloc by normalizing our relations with Beijing, and developing commercial relations, was dropped.

Although our close ally, the United Kingdom, and a number of other countries, quickly developed relations with Beijing, the United States pressured Japan, and other countries, to refrain from so doing.[15] The People's Republic of China was treated by Washington as a "pariah state" or "rogue state," much in the same way Iraq, Syria, Iran, and North Korean are treated by the current Bush Administration.

This mode of foreign policy posturing should not surprise us, as there has been a clear continuity for five decades in political lobbying—organizations and personnel—on Capitol Hill, and across the United States, from the old pro-Taiwan "China Lobby," to the anti-Communist "Vietnam Lobby," to the contemporary anti-Iraq-Syria-Iran lobby.[16]

Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. of Harvard University, in a book published 33 years ago, ably described the situation in the 1950s:

... in the 1950s American foreign policy called on the American government to do things no American government had ever tried to do before. The new American approach to world affairs, nurtured in the sense of omnipresent crisis, set new political objectives, developed new military capabilities, devised new diplomatic techniques, invented new instruments of foreign operations and instituted a new hierarchy of values. Every one of these innovations encouraged the displacement of power, both practical and constitutional, from an increasingly acquiescent Congress into an increasingly imperial Presidency.... Washington appointed itself the savior of human freedom and endowed itself with worldwide responsibility and a worldwide charter ... the guardianship of world freedom required, first of all, an enormous military establishment.... The new American approach to world affairs, the obsession with crisis, the illusion of "world leadership," the obligations of duty so cunningly intertwined with the opportunities of power carried forward the process, begun during the Second World War, of elevating "national security" into a supreme value.[17]

The highly unpopular Korean War, of course, ended Truman's political career on a black note, as his national approval polling crashed into the 20% range.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower came into office with the task of extracting the United States from the Korean War quagmire, which he did. Eisenhower's overall philosophy of government was what some academics have called "defense liberalism." He strove to emphasize peacetime conditions under which military spending could be reduced, so as to allow for increased private sector initiative, peacetime oriented government spending, balanced budgets, inflation control, and lower taxes.

History records that, despite the Cold War, President Eisenhower restrained, even cut, defense expenditures, as he felt the United States was overspending in this area of the national budget. Instead, Eisenhower emphasized major government-supported civilian infrastructure programs, such as the Interstate Highway System and the St. Lawrence Seaway and private sector initiative.

Eisenhower's defense strategy, known as the "New Look," emphasized: adequate nuclear deterrence, moderate defense spending and appropriate force structures, avoidance of large-scale conventional military intervention in peripheral areas, and diplomacy.

Eisenhower's vision for the United States and international life contrasted sharply with the dark vision of the imperial faction which sought the erection of a "garrison state" on a permanent imperial war footing fighting global "protracted war."[18]

Paul Nitze: the Gaither Committee Report, the `Missile Gap,' and `Team B'

What was the imperial faction's response to the Eisenhower policy to lower the defense burden on the federal budget, other moves to calm Cold War tensions, and desire to restore a peacetime life and normalcy in the United States?

The imperial faction strove once more to create an intensified sense of external threat and "emergency." Not surprisingly, we find Paul Nitze again playing a critical role in the escalation of Cold War fears in 1957. At this time, a study on the U.S.-Soviet military balance was put together by the "Gaither Committee," a group of outside advisors originally tasked by the White House, as the "Security Resources Panel," to consider civil defense issues.[19]

Nitze played a central role drafting the committee's final report, which was a sharp criticism of the Eisenhower Administration's overall defense policy. The final report, using language similar to Nitze's NSC-68 document, claimed there was a rapidly growing Soviet intercontinental nuclear missile capability. The report laid the groundwork for the "missile gap" propaganda of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Similar propaganda, in 1955, created a falsified "bomber gap" threat. The Gaither Report called for increased defense spending on the nuclear triad, as well as spending to create a capability to fight "limited wars" in peripheral areas around the globe.

In January 1958, a similar report was created for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, under the direction of a young Harvard professor named Henry Kissinger. Kissinger's report offered a sharp criticism of the Eisenhower defense policy and called for defense budget increases and policies, much the same as the Gaither Committee report. The Gaither Committee report was a classified government secret document, while the Kissinger report was public and, hence, could be used politically in the Fall 1958 Congressional mid-term elections and in the run-up to the 1960 general election. There was an overlap in the teams of consultants for both reports, which explains the similarities of criticism and policy recommendations.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund report drafted by Kissinger was used by Nelson Rockefeller, then Governor of New York, to attack President Eisenhower's defense policies, and thereby force a change in the Republican Party's foreign policy and defense policy in the direction of the requirements of the Wall Street-based imperial faction and away from the Eisenhower "defense of liberalism" perspective.

During the 1960 Republican Convention, held in Chicago, Richard Nixon secretly left the convention and went to New York City to meet with Nelson Rockefeller. Rockefeller demanded that Nixon accept his defense policy views and influence the convention accordingly. Nixon accepted, and returned to Chicago to work with the Rockefeller Republican forces to defeat the Eisenhower defense perspective.[20] This meant that, whichever candidate won the coming election (Nixon or Kennedy), the imperial faction's defense policy and imperial strategy would be implemented, as Kennedy had adopted the same policy perspective. Traditional Republicans called the Nixon capitulation to the Rockefeller-Wall Street forces the "Republican Munich."

History records that there was no "missile gap." Our intelligence services, and President Eisenhower, knew this from the Central Intelligence Agency's secret U-2 flights, which began in 1956, and other national technical means such as the CORONA satellite launched in August 1960, SIGINT (signals intelligence), and HUMINT (human intelligence) such as the Penkovsky case. The hyperinflated Soviet threat was a calculated deception on the part of Nitze and the Gaither Committee, and the Kissinger Rockefeller Brothers Fund report, for political purposes, to support massive increased defense spending and an imperial foreign policy.

The manipulation of fear, and attack on Eisenhower's policies, for political purposes, served Nitze and the imperial faction well. Eisenhower was at a particular disadvantage, as he could not reveal sensitive intelligence "sources and methods"—such as the U-2 aircraft, the CORONA satellite program, and the Penkovsky case—and he did not want to unnecessarily provoke the Soviet Union by propagandizing the clear U.S. nuclear superiority embodied in the missile-bomber-submarine triad.

Nitze joined the John F. Kennedy campaign as a special advisor, and the "missile gap" propaganda was used against Republicans in the 1960 election.[21] However, candidates Kennedy on July 23, 1960 and Lyndon Johnson on July 28, 1960 were briefed specifically on the strategic missile issue by CIA director Allen W. Dulles.[22] After the election, on Feb. 8, 1961, President Kennedy gave equivocal answers to press questioning on the "missile gap" issue.[23] Kennedy was trying to cover himself politically, owing to the truthful, but impolitic, remark at a press conference by then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, that there was no missile gap.[24]

Kennedy's national security strategy involved the main points of NSC-68, the Gaither Committee Report, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund report. Kennedy's defense policy became known as "Flexible Response," and was based on increased nuclear capabilities in the ground-air-sea triad, as well as the capability to fight conventional and unconventional wars in the periphery, Vietnam becoming a case in point.[25]

Nitze was well rewarded by Kennedy and went on to become Secretary of the Navy (1963-67) under Kennedy and Johnson, and Deputy Secretary of Defense (1967-69) under Johnson. He next served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) (1969-73) under Nixon, and then became the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (1973-76). He became Reagan's chief negotiator for the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) (1981-84).

Paul Nitze and the Neo-Conservatives

Within the Cold War context, as we have seen, Paul Nitze was one of the key members of the imperial faction, combining personal wealth and social position with intellectual ability and political influence.[26] It is significant that Nitze's two most notorious protégés, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, played a major role in pushing the United States into the Iraq War. Perle, Wolfowitz, and their circle form an important part of the second generation post-World War II imperial faction. The military-industrial complex requires a network of such defense intellectuals arrayed across the United States in a variety of think-tanks and universities, to help justify massive defense overspending.

Perle, Wolfowitz, and others were also schooled by Prof. Albert Wohlstetter (1913-97), a mathematician and nuclear "strategist" who had served at the Rand Corporation and later taught at the University of Chicago. Wohlstetter's methodology, based upon abstract models, produced the sort of hyperinflated "threat analyses" profitable to the military-industrial complex. As one observer has said:

But Wohlstetter, through his command of detail, particularly quantitative detail, and his ability to weave elaborate numerical models out of arcane pieces of information, had changed the language of strategy. Earlier thinking had been built on an assessment of the enemy's intentions and capabilities. It relied on secret intelligence and scholarly analysis of communist ideology, Russian nationalism, and "Kremlinology"—detailed expertise on Moscow's palace intrigues. Wohlstetter's methodology, on the other hand, relied largely on probabilistic reasoning and mathematical modeling that utilized systems analysis and game theory, signature methodologies developed at Rand. The designs or intentions of the enemy were presumed, or presented as a future possibility. This methodology exploited to the hilt the iron law of zero margin of error that was the asymptotic ideal for nuclear strategy. Even a small probability of vulnerability, or a potential future vulnerability, could be presented as a virtual state of national emergency [emphasis added].[27]

Following the lead of Paul Nitze and Albert Wohlstetter, neo-conservative defense intellectuals like Perle and Wolfowitz embraced the notorious "Team B" study in 1976, which deceptively promoted the false image of a dramatically increased Soviet military threat, thereby justifying massive U.S. defense spending increases profitable to the military-industrial complex.[28] This study was conducted under the auspices of the Central Intelligence Agency, while George H.W. Bush was Director of Central Intelligence. "Team B" was brought in specifically to challenge the balanced professional assessments of career intelligence community analysts, and its findings were used to help justify the unnecessary later Reagan defense build-up.[29] Indeed, according to a former U.S. government official, Anne Hessing Cahn,

For more than a third of a century, assertions of Soviet superiority created calls for the United States to "rearm." In the 1980s, the call was heeded so thoroughly that the United States embarked on a trillion-dollar defense buildup. As a result, the country neglected its schools, cities, roads and bridges, and health care system. From the world's greatest creditor nation, the United States became the world's greatest debtor—in order to pay for arms to counter the threat of a nation that was collapsing.[30]

It is not surprising that the George W. Bush Administration utilized Wohlstetter and Nitze's techniques, and protégés, to create hyperinflated threat assessments concerning Iraq to justify the preventive war. We can also see the same pattern of lies and deception today with respect to the so-called "Syria Threat," "Iran Threat," "Islamic Threat," and "New China Threat"—all purposefully hyperinflated so as to manipulate public opinion and the Congress, to increase military spending to unnecessary levels, and to smooth the path to war.

Imperialism and Constitutional Crisis: Vietnam

The militarization of U.S. foreign policy and the creation of the National Security State in the years after Korea culminated in the Vietnam debacle and in the Nixon Presidency and Watergate scandal. But today, a generation later, we are plunged into the same constitutional crisis, and a much graver strategic predicament, owing to the program of George W. Bush and his backers, such as George Shultz, to return to the Nixon project for a radical imperial Presidency and foreign policy.

President Johnson's unnecessary escalation of the Vietnam War in 1965 shattered American prestige worldwide, impaired our NATO alliance relations, left the American polity a shambles, and plunged the American economy into deep crisis for two decades. Johnson expanded the imperial Presidency legacy of Truman, thereby opening the door for Richard Nixon's revolutionary advance of the imperial Presidency. And we should not forget that the Johnson escalation was based upon the lie of so-called "Gulf of Tonkin incidents" which, in fact, never took place.[31]

Who played a role in the Administration during the Nixon years supporting the imperial Presidency project?

One key player was University of Chicago professor and business school dean, George P. Shultz. He started as Secretary of Labor (1969-70) and then headed the powerful Office of Management and Budget before becoming Secretary of the Treasury (1972-74). Shultz would become Secretary of State (1982-89) in the Reagan years. Shultz, as the co-chairman of the George W. Bush campaign, created the so-called Vulcan Group of advisors for candidate Bush, coordinated by his protégé Condi Rice and headed by none other than Paul Wolfowitz.

President Nixon also called on Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Harriman Democrat, to be an advisor in the White House. This connection is significant, as Harvard professor Moynihan was a leading intellectual within the "neo-conservative" perspective and allied to Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. Indeed, leading neo-conservative intellectuals, such as Irving Kristol, flocked to Nixon's support in 1972.

And when Nixon was replaced by Gerald Ford as President, whom do we find brought into the Administration but Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney, certainly familiar names today.

At the core of Nixon's strategy for advancing the imperial Presidency was the use of the concept of "emergency" and, hence, "emergency powers." As Professor Schlesinger said,

... the theory of the Presidency he [Nixon] embodied and propagated meant that the President of the United States, on his own personal and secret finding of emergency, had the right to nullify the Constitution and the law. No President ever made such a claim before.... his private obsessions pushed him toward the view that the Presidency could set itself, at will, above the Constitution. It was this theory that led straight to Watergate.[32]

This doctrine is, of course, similar to the doctrine once espoused by Carl Schmitt, the Nazi jurist, although Professor Schlesinger refrains from pointing this out in a specific manner.

So how did Nixon's revolutionary project operate? Professor Schlesinger ably described its essence:

The Nixon revolution thus aimed at reducing the power of Congress at every point along the line and moving toward rule by presidential decree. To perfect his design he had to control the use of information by Congress and the flow of information to Congress. To do this his administration mounted an unprecedented attack on legislative privilege and made unprecedented claims of executive privilege.[33]

The Imperial Presidency:
Richard Nixon and George W. Bush

Does this sound familiar today?

The imperial faction's five-decade-old technique of deceiving the American public and Congress about external threats, as developed by Paul Nitze in 1950 and promoted through hardline and neo-conservative defense intellectual circles ever since, was used by the Bush White House to deceive the public and Congress into the Iraq War.[34] Indeed, Nitze's very protégés, Perle and Wolfowitz, played major roles, as I noted earlier.

Vice President Cheney often states the view that the powers of the U.S. President were undermined by the Congressional action taken in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Cheney's view takes on special meaning if we consider the sweep of post World War II U.S. history and the half-century-old project to create an imperial Presidency to implement an imperial foreign policy. Today the imperial Presidency is justified by the "unitary Executive" theory espoused by Bush supporters and the extremist Federalist Society, a national lawyers' organization.

By looking back and examining the practices and methods of the Nixon White House, we can see the direct roots of the practices and methods adopted in the Bush White House through players such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and George Shultz, who have created the current imperial foreign policy and Presidency.[35]

Professor Schlesinger's comments on U.S. interventionism a generation ago have an eerie familiarity:

The weight of messianic globalism was indeed proving too much for the American Constitution.... In fact, the policy of indiscriminate global intervention, far from strengthening American security, seemed rather to weaken it by involving the United States in remote, costly and mysterious wars, fought in ways that shamed the nation before the world and, even when thus fought, demonstrated only the inability of the most powerful nation on earth to subdue bands of guerrillas in black pajamas. When the grandiose policy did not promote national security and could not succeed in its own terms, would it not be better to pursue policies that did not deform and disable the Constitution?[36]

Professor Schlesinger in this passage well summarizes precisely what President Eisenhower had hoped to avoid, and warned against.

If we turn to today's world, and view Bush foreign policy in historical context, we can perceive clearly the methods of the imperial faction operating on U.S. foreign policy and global strategy. Iraq is a case in point, but we also must consider the potential for the United States expanding the war in the region to include Syria, and possibly Iran. This could be with or without direct, and overt, Israeli support.

Just as in the Vietnam era, our Congress—out of cowardice and deep corruption, moral and financial—has not been willing yet to effectively resist a reckless and unnecessary imperial policy. Nor has Congress been willing to halt the systematic imposition of a police state and erosion of civil liberties.[37]

Just as in the Vietnam era, the controlled and concentrated press in the United States, by and large, goes along with the official imperial policy line. Self-censoring "journalists" and "editors" can rest easy and collect their weekly paychecks, while media owners use them to promote their own agendas involving power and profits. The universities are quiet today because, unlike the Vietnam era, there is currently no military draft, and because students feel intimidated by the growing national security state apparatus.

Whether reflected in the speeches and statements of President Bush or Secretary of State Condi Rice, or whether presented in official Administration documents such as the Pentagon's most recent Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), current U.S. foreign policy and global strategic policy concepts are delusional and dangerous. A careful assessment of major policy statements and action of this Administration from 2001 to the present indicates fundamental continuity. The fundamental continuity is a dark vision of global "dominance" or hegemony enforced through military power involved in permanent warfare and permanent intervention.

The QDR, released this January, spells out the "enemy" as a vague and amorphous "international terrorism," or rather its ideology, and also the not-so-vague and amorphous People's Republic of China, consisting of 1.5 billion people on the rise. High-tech "Fourth Generation" global warfare capabilities are portrayed as the panacea.[38]

At the end of the bi-polar Cold War, back in 1992, Wolfowitz, as head of the Pentagon's Defense Planning Board, developed the concepts behind the Defense Planning Guidance for Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney.[39] The underlying fundamental concept was global dominance, a strategy in which the United States aims to enforce a "unipolar" world order by preventing any regional or global rivals, such as China, to emerge.

If this sounds familiar, it should. This is precisely the underlying strategic concept of the present Bush Administration, as stated clearly in publicly available official documents such as the 2002 White House National Security Strategy of the United States and the QDR.[40]

Behind the dominance strategy, one objective of the Bush White House is to control the global energy market.[41] For this reason, the White House is greatly concerned that Iran can become a key supplier to China and India, as well as become a larger force in the international energy markets. Would an attack on Iran using the excuse of a currently non-existent nuclear threat in fact involve intentional significant destruction of the Iranian hydrocarbon infrastructure?

Looking for historical parallels for the imperialism of the Bush White House United States, one might suggest the Roman Empire or the British Empire, but perhaps we should also consider Napoleonic France or the reactionary "Holy Alliance," which adopted many Napoleonic practices and institutions. The messianic delusions of a Napoleon, or an Alexander I, and the cynical manipulations of a Metternich, are not so far removed from those of the current occupants of the White House with their global interventionist obsessions.[42]


In conclusion, as you all know, the United States will hold its mid-term elections for one-third of the U.S. Senate and all of the U.S. House of Representatives this coming November.

I would suggest keeping a close eye on developments in each of the main political parties. Both major parties have their left, center, and right factions, and within these factions we can find supporters and opponents of the current imperial foreign policy. Bear in mind that three-quarters of the Senate and three-quarters of the House of Representatives voted in favor of the Iraq War.

For a brief period, the Watergate scandal halted—owing to Congressional action, aroused public opinion, and Nixon's resignation—the profound constitutional crisis engendered by Nixon's drive toward an imperial Presidency. But, as the last three decades have shown, this was only a temporary pause in the overall process of the erection of an imperial Presidency and a garrison state committed to permanent imperial war.

We can ask today, and we must ask, "What will halt the Bush White House's reckless folly and endangerment of the Republic?" The consequences of the Iraq War are only slowly dawning on the American public, Congress is deeply corrupt, and the press is owned in large measure by the imperial faction. Americans evidently learned nothing from the "limited war" in Vietnam and so repeat the mistake of unnecessary intervention in the Middle East today.

We can hope that the Democratic Party will come to its senses and unify sufficiently to oppose the Bush imperial Presidency and imperial foreign policy.[43] We can also hope that conservative, moderate, and liberal Republican Party factions, which oppose imperialism and an imperial Presidency, begin to place constraints on the extremists in their party and on the extremists in the White House such as Vice President Cheney and his entourage. For Republicans, a return to the fundamental decency and commonsense of President Eisenhower would put the party on the right path, the path set by our martyred President Abraham Lincoln.

[1] For theoretical insight into the problem of imperialism, see J.A. Hobson, Imperialism (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965).

[2] For background on the contemporary military-industrial complex, see Chalmers Johnson, Blowback. The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (New York: Henry Holt, 2000), and his The Sorrows of Empire. Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic (New York: Henry Holt, 2004).

[3] For Kennan's perspective at this time, see Giles D. Harlow and George C. Maerz, eds., Measures Short of War. The George F. Kennan Lectures at the National War College 1946-47 (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 1991). These significant, now declassified, lectures were presented by Ambassador Kennan while teaching at the National War College.

[4] George F. Kennan, "America's Far-Eastern Policy at the Height of the Cold War," a lecture given in 1984, in George F. Kennan, At a Century's Ending. Reflections 1982-1995 (New York: Norton, 1996), p. 94.

[5] "American Relations with the Soviet Union," a report prepared by Clark M. Clifford and submitted to Truman on Sept. 24, 1946, printed in Arthur Krock, Memoirs: Sixty Years on the Firing Line (New York, 1968), Appendix A, pp. 431, 476-478, 482.

[6] NSC-68, "United States Objectives and Policies for National Security," April 14, 1950, appears in Foreign Relations of the United States (Washington, D.C.: 1950), Vol. I, pp. 235-292.

[7] On Dillon, Read and Company, see Charles Higham, Trading With the Enemy. The Nazi-American Money Plot 1933-1949 (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1983), pp. 135, 212, and William C. McNeil, American Money and the Weimar Republic Economics and Politics on the Eve of the Great Depression (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), pp. 72-75, 256, 259-60, 261-269.

[8] Charles E. Bohlen, Witness to History 1929-1969 (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1973), pp. 290-291.

[9] For a critical survey of early U.S. Cold War diplomacy, see Norman A. Graebner, Cold War Diplomacy 1945-1960 (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1962). See also, John Lewis Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War 1941-1947 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972), pp. 282-362, and his The United States and the End of the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

For insight into U.S. intelligence community assessments, and declassified documents in the early Cold War period, see Woodrow J. Kuhns, Assessing the Soviet Threat: Early Cold War Years (Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1997), online at The Preface is most helpful, and the declassified documentation valuable.

[10] For the most recent scholarship, see Mark F. Wilkinson ed., The Korean War at Fifty. International Perspectives (Lexington, Va.: Virginia Military Institute, 2004).

[11] Chen Jian, "China and the Korean War: New Findings and Perspectives in Light of New Documentation," ibid. pp. 66-86.

[12] For an excellent overview of the Korean War, see Joseph C. Goulden, Korea. The Untold Story of the War (New York: Times Books, 1982).

[13] Bohlen, op. cit., p. 292.

[14] For a concise Chinese perspective, see Xia Liping, "The Korean War and Chinese-American Relations," in Wilkinson, op. cit., pp. 264-276.

[15] See, for example, Osamu Ishii, "China Trade Embargo and America's Alliance Management in the 1950s—The Japanese Case," Hitotsubashi Journal of Law and Politics, Vol. 20, February 1992, pp. 23-30, and Tadashi Aruga, "The Problem of Security Treaty Revision in Japan's Relations with the United States: 1951-1960," Hitotsubashi Journal of Law and Politics, Vol. 13, February 1985, pp. 31-60.

[16] For example, see in particular Stanley D. Bachrack, The Committee of One Million. "China Lobby" Politics 1953-1971 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976), and the revealing study by Andrew F. Smith, Rescuing the World. The Life and Times of Leo Cherne (Albany: State University of New York, 2002). Also, Lewis McCarroll Purifoy, Harry Truman's China Policy. McCarthyism and the Diplomacy of Hysteria, 1947-1951 (New York: New Viewpoints, 1976), and W.A. Swanberg, Luce and His Empire (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1972).

[17] Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Imperial Presidency (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1973), pp. 164-165.

[18] See the discussion of the "garrison state," a hypothesis developed by social scientist Harold Lasswell in the 1930s, in Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State. The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations (New York: Vintage, 1964 reprint of 1957 ed.), pp. 346-350, and the discussion on "defense liberalism," pp. 392-399. Huntington writes from the perspective of the imperial faction, and was so mentored by Harvard Professor William Yandell Elliott and Paul Nitze, among others.

[19] H. Rowan Gaither was Chairman of the Ford Foundation and also of the Rand Corporation. For the report, see Deterrence and Survival in the Nuclear Age (The "Gaither Report" of 1957) (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1976).

[20] This situation is treated in Theodore White, The Making of the President 1960 (New York: Atheneum, 1961), pp. 208-227.

[21] For a brief comment, see Dwayne A. Day, "Of Myths and Missiles: The Truth About John F. Kennedy and the Missile Gap," The Space Review, online at For academic studies, see Christopher Preble, John F. Kennedy and the Missile Gap (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2004); Peter Roman, Eisenhower and the Missile Gap (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996); and David L. Snead, The Gaither Committee, Eisenhower, and the Cold War (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1999). For a useful early study, see Morton H. Halperin "The Gaither Committee and the Policy Process," World Politics, Vol. 13, No. 3 (April 1961), pp. 360-384.

[22] Allen W. Dulles, Director, Central Intelligence Agency, "Memorandum for the President," Aug. 3, 1960, online at

[23] President John F. Kennedy, News Conference Number 3, Feb. 8, 1961, online at the John F. Kennedy Library website,

[24] See Preble, op. cit., passim for discussion of this point.

[25] On Vietnam policy, see the classic by Neil Sheehan, et al., The Pentagon Papers (New York: Bantam Books, 1971). Also, Bernard B. Fall, The Two Vietnams. A Political and Military Analysis, 2nd Rev. ed. (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1967) and John T. McAlister, Jr., Vietnam. The Origins of Revolution (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1969).

[26] Nitze's own wealth was established during his career in banking and real estate development. His sister, Elizabeth, married Walter Paepcke (1896-1960), Chairman of the Container Corporation of America, who established the Aspen Institute in 1950.

[27] Khuram Hussein, "Neocons: The Men Behind the Curtain," Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, November-December 2003, online at

[28] For background, see Anne Hessing Cahn, "The Trillion Dollar Experiment," Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, April 1993, online at

[29] For an important analysis of the Bush family which references ties to the military-industrial complex and the Harriman interests, see Kevin Phillips, American Dynasty. Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush (New York: Viking, 2004).

[30] Cahn, op. cit.

[31] For information, including recently declassified information, on the Gulf of Tonkin deception, see The National Security Archive website at Compare the Gulf of Tonkin deception with the Bush deceptions on WMD and Iraq.

[32] Schlesinger, op. cit., p.266.

[33] Ibid, p. 246.

[34] For background on the Iraq War, see John K. Cooley, An Alliance Against Babylon. The U.S., Israel, and Iraq (London Pluto Press, 2005). On the earlier Gulf War, see Majid Khadduri and Edmund Ghareeb, War in the Gulf 1990-1991. The Iraq-Kuwait Conflict and Its Implications (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

[35] See John W. Dean, Worse Than Watergate. The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush (New York: Little Brown, 2004).

[36] Schlesinger, p. 299.

[37] See Matthew Rothschild, "Senators Roll Over on Patriot Act," The Progressive, Feb. 18, 2006, online at See also, Paul Craig Roberts, "My Epiphany: From Reaganaut to Antiwar Radical," VDARE, Feb. 7, 2006, online at

[38] For a critique of so-called "Fourth Generation War," see Antulio J. Echevarria II, Fourth-Generation War and Other Myths (Carlisle, Pa.: U.S. Army War College, 2005). See also, John P. White, Transformation for What? (Carlisle, Pa.: U.S. Army War College, 2005).

[39] Hussein, op. cit.; Patrick E. Tyler, "U.S. Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop," New York Times, March 8, 1992; Patrick E. Tyler, "Lone Superpower Plan: Ammunition for Critics," New York Times, March 10, 1992; "America Only," New York Times editorial, March 10, 1992.

[40] Online at

[41] For background, see William Engdahl, A Century of War. Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, rev. ed. (London: Pluto Press, 2004).

[42] For comparison, see Frederick B. Artz, Reaction and Revolution 1814-1832 (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1934). A disturbing psychological profile of George W. Bush is presented in Justin A. Frank, MD, Bush on the Couch. Inside the Mind of the President (New York: Regan Books, 2004).

[43] See Jimmy Carter, Our Endangered Values (New York: Simon and Shuster, 2005), and Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Losing America. Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (New York: W.W. Norton, 2004).

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