An obscure Pentagon document from 1992 provided a blueprint for the ‘war on terror.’
By Jim Lobe | Responsible Statecraft | Sept 11, 2021
The “dominant consideration,” it said, “…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. …In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region…”
— Draft, Defense Planning Guidance
Today in our series 9/11 at 20: A week of reflection, we hear from Jim Lobe, Senior Advisor and contributing editor at Responsible Statecraft.
When excerpts of the document first appeared in the New York Times in March 1992, it created quite a stir. One influential Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was appalled by its ambition, denouncing it as “literally a ‘Pax Americana.’ A global security system where threats to stability are suppressed or destroyed by U.S. military power.”
Indeed, the draft Defense Planning Guidance, or DPG, which set forth the underlying elements of U.S. grand strategy through the end of the century, was stunning in its vision for permanent U.S. military dominance of virtually all of Eurasia — to be achieved by “deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role” and by preempting, using whatever means necessary, states believed to be developing weapons of mass destruction.
Written under the direction of then-Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and his deputy, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, it foretold a world in which U.S. military intervention would become a “constant fixture” of the geopolitical landscape, and Washington — not the United Nations, which went unmentioned despite the Security Council’s role in authorizing the first Gulf war the year before — would act as the ultimate guarantor of international peace and security.