Jim Lobe: Al Qaeda’s Project for Ending the American Century Largely Succeeded

Inter Press Service Washington Bureau Chief Jim Lobe analyzes the effects of Al Qaeda’s 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. 10 years after the event:

A decade after its spectacular Sep. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City’s twin World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and despite the killing earlier this year of its charismatic leader, Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda appears to have largely succeeded in its hopes of accelerating the decline of U.S. global power, if not bringing it to the brink of collapse.

That appears to be the strong consensus of the foreign-policy elite which, with only a few exceptions, believes that the administration of President George W. Bush badly “over-reacted” to the attacks and that that over-reaction continues to this day.

That over-reaction was driven in major part by a close-knit group of neo-conservatives and other hawks who seized control of Bush’s foreign policy even before the dust had settled over Lower Manhattan and set it on a radical course designed to consolidate Washington’s dominance of the Greater Middle East and “shock and awe” any aspiring global or regional rival powers into acquiescing to a “unipolar” world.

Led within the administration by Vice President Dick Cheney, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and their mostly neo-conservative aides and supporters, the hawks had four years before joined the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The letter-head organisation was co-founded by neo-conservative ideologues William Kristol and Robert Kagan, who, in an important 1996 article, called for the U.S. to preserve its post-Cold War “hegemony as far into the future as possible.”

In a series of subsequent letters and publications, they urged ever more military spending; pre-emptive, and if necessary, unilateral military action against possible threats; and “regime change” for rogue states, beginning with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.

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Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.



  1. Yep, you’re right of course. I’ve just been re-reading “Colossus” by Niall Ferguson and “Empire and Superempire” by Bernard Porter. It’s depressing to recall that, after defeating communism, the U.S. chose, eventually, “full-spectrum dominance” (i.e., global empire) over retrenchment and licking our wounds. The latter course was pretty much what we followed under Bush I and Clinton, but under Bush II the neocons took control. (Not that tendencies toward global dominance weren’t present in both Democratic and Republican administrations before the ascension of Bush II.) Porter makes the interesting point that the push for global empire happened almost by accident, by which he means the circumstances of Bush II’s election. Also interesting is the fact that Porter avoids mention of the neocons’ desire to “protect the realm,” i.e., Israel. His circumspection probably stemmed from fear of being called an anti-semite.

  2. Unfortunately, Jim’s wonderful political analyses are marred by his adherence to an economics paradigm that does not conform to certain critical aspects of our system.

    Allow me to recommend this website: moslereconomics.com and also this pamphlet:


    See also, James K. Galbraith’s “The Predator State.”

  3. Saith Galbraith: “Mosler is not a crank.” Hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah . . .

  4. I wouldn’t give AQ credit. From the 1960’s military Keynesianism started affecting the economy. William Polk has been pointing out what he noticed way back then.
    Then Reagan and Bush II gave decline creep a mighty push downhill.

    Al Qaeda’s Project for Ending the American Century Largely Succeeded

    Talk before the 21st Century Club of Cleveland, Ohio, Friday, September 20, 2008

    Talk at Bennington College students and faculty on September 15, 2008

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