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Published on February 29th, 2008 | by Jim Lobe


The Bush Doctrine in Embryo

The independent National Security Archive has just published recently declassified documents regarding the birth and evolution of the infamous Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) that was leaked to the New York Times and the Washington Post in early 1992 and that later became the inspiration for the Project for the New American Century in 1997 and eventually codified in the National Security Strategy of the United States of America in September 2002 — the codification of the so-called “Bush Doctrine.” The document, which Sen. Joseph Biden, among others, denounced as a “Pax Americana” at the time, called, among other things, for a global strategy based on U.S. military pre-eminence, pre-emption of rogue states and possible rivals, and coalitions of the willing (which it called “ad hoc assemblies”). The 15 documents featured by the Archive was drafted between June 5, 1991 — just after the first Gulf War — and January 1993 when then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney released an official, if euphemistic, version of the controversial document. Most of the documents, however, are heavily redacted.

Among other things, the document illustrates the important role played by Scooter Libby, as well as Paul Wolfowitz (who is generally given credit or blame for the document) in coordinating the project, an additional piece of evidence that Libby, rather than Wolfowitz or Elliott Abrams, was probably the most important and influential neo-conservative in the current administration. It’s increasingly clear that Libby’s demise in October 2005 marked a heavy blow to neo-conservative hopes of retaining decisive influence in the administration. Unmentioned, however, is the informal role played by Albert Wohlstetter and Richard Perle, among others, in helping to shape the outcome through Abram Shulsky, Wolfowitz, Khalilzad, and Libby.
Not to toot my own horn too loudly, I think I was among the first — if not the first (according to Nexis) — to write about the relationship between the leaked DPG and the strategy pursued by the Bush administration after 9/11 — for IPS in ‘Pax Americana’ All Over Again, December 27, 2001; and for Alternet in Bush’s Foreign Policy Blueprint: A Grand Global Plan, March 26, 2002.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to study the documents in any detail, but this primary source material will obviously be extremely important for those who wish to piece together the evolution of the Bush Doctrine and the antecedents of the radical trajectory on which U.S. foreign policy embarked after 9/11.

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One Response to The Bush Doctrine in Embryo

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  1. avatar San Fernando Curt says:

    Let’s face it: If first-string neo-cons like Scooter Libby and Paul Wolfowitz were still tossing spit-wads in Administration pow-wows, American troops would be falling into the meatgrinders of Persia by now.

About the Author


Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.

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  • Named after veteran journalist Jim Lobe, LobeLog provides daily expert perspectives on US foreign policy toward the Middle East through investigative reports and analyses from Washington to Tehran and beyond. It became the first weblog to receive the Arthur Ross Award for Distinguished Reporting and Analysis of Foreign Affairs from the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2015.

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