Project for the New American Century

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The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is a now defunct neoconservative letterhead organization with strong ties to the American Enterprise Institute. It was established in 1997 by several well-known neoconservatives including founders William Kristol and Robert Kagan.

PNAC's policy document, "Rebuilding America's Defences"[1], openly advocated for total global military domination.

Many PNAC members held high-level positions in the George W. Bush administration.

PNAC is cited as an initiative of the New Citizenship Project. The New Citizenship Project's chairman is William Kristol and its president is Gary Schmitt.[2]

Contents

History

PNAC was founded in 1997 during the Clinton administration by William Kristol and Robert Kagan.[3] PNAC's original 25 signatories were an eclectic mix of academics and conservative politicians, several of whom subsequently found positions in the presidential administration of George W. Bush.

PNAC was set up because the founders felt that there was a lack of coherence in America's foreign policy and that America was not being as dominant as it should be in world politics.

Kristol was the editor and founder of The Weekly Standard,[4] a prominent Neoconservative publication of the day. William Kristol has been affiliated with many publications and neoconservative groups. He has also played a part in the US government in the Office of the Vice President: he was Chief of Staff to Dan Quayle, 1989-1992 and Office of the Secretary of Education: Chief of Staff/Counselor for Education Secretary William Bennett, 1985-1988.

Among other notable founder members of PNAC were Jeb Bush,[5] the Governor of Florida and brother of President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney,[6] the Vice President to George W. Bush, Francis Fukuyama,[7] an author of neoconservative literature, Dan Quayle,[8] vice president to George Bush Senior, Donald Rumsfeld,[9] former Secretary of Defence to George W. Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz,[10] who has held many government positions and is the former President of the World Bank.

Purpose

The main purpose of PNAC was to approach the then administration with views on what should be done within the field of global affairs.

According to PNAC, America needed to:

  • Reposition permanently based forces to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East;
  • Modernize U.S. forces, including enhancing our fighter aircraft, submarine and surface fleet capabilities;
  • Develop and deploy a global missile defense system, and develop a strategic dominance of space;
  • Control the "International Commons" of cyberspace;
  • Increase defense spending to a minimum of 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, up from 3 percent.[11]

These points show that PNAC can be seen as an imperial force that wishes to be in the lead of all global politics. The term that would be used for this is full spectrum dominance and this can be found in a US government document called Joint Vision 2020[12]. This document lays out the way forward for America to become the leading force in the world. Full spectrum dominance incorporates land, sea and air, but also space and cyberspace. The policy of full spectrum dominance has not only been endorsed by PNAC but has also been actively encouraged through the use of the Joint Vision 2020 doctrine.

Iraq and 9/11

PNAC is noteworthy for its focus on Iraq, a preoccupation that began before George W. Bush became president and that predates the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. See main article: Project for the New American Century and the Iraq War.

Key positions

Among the key conclusions of PNAC's defense strategy document (Rebuilding America's Defenses) were the following [13]:

  • "Develop and deploy global missile defenses to defend the American homeland and American allies, and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world."
  • "Control the new 'international commons' of space and 'cyberspace,' and pave the way for the creation of a new military service--U.S. Space Forces--with the mission of space control."
  • "Increase defense spending, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually."
  • "Exploit the 'revolution in military affairs' [transformation to high-tech, unmanned weaponry] to insure the long-term superiority of U.S. conventional forces."
  • "Need to develop a new family of nuclear weapons designed to address new sets of military requirements" complaining that the U.S. has "virtually ceased development of safer and more effective nuclear weapons."
  • "Facing up to the realities of multiple constabulary missions that will require a permanent allocation of U.S. forces."
  • "America must defend its homeland" by "reconfiguring its nuclear force" and by missile defense systems that "counteract the effects of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction."
  • "Need for a larger U.S. security perimeter" and the U.S. "should seek to establish a network of 'deployment bases' or 'forward operating bases' to increase the reach of current and future forces," citing the need to move beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia to increased permanent military presence in Southeast Asia and "other regions of East Asia." Necessary "to cope with the rise of China to great-power status."
  • Redirecting the U.S. Air Force to move "toward a global first-strike force."
  • End the Clinton administration's "devotion" to the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.
  • "North Korea, Iran, Iraq, or similar states [should not be allowed] to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies, or threaten the American homeland itself."
  • "Main military missions" necessary to "preserve Pax Americana" and a "unipolar 21st century" are the following: "secure and expand zones of democratic peace, deter rise of new great-power competitor, defend key regions (Europe, East Asia, Middle East), and exploit transformation of war."

According to the PNAC report, "The American peace has proven itself peaceful, stable, and durable. Yet no moment in international politics can be frozen in time: even a global Pax Americana will not preserve itself." To preserve this "American peace" through the 21st century, the PNAC report concludes that the global order "must have a secure foundation on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence." The report struck a prescient note when it observed that "the process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."

Many of PNAC's conclusions and recommendations are reflected in the White House's National Security Strategy document of September 2002, which reflects the "peace through strength" credo that shapes PNAC strategic thinking.

Personnel

Original 25 signatories

The original 25 signatories of the PNAC were:[14]

Original 25 signatories given positions in Bush Administration

Of the 25 original signatories of PNAC, 14 members were given positions in the Bush Administration.

  • Elliott Abrams - Appointed to National Security Council. He was first appointed as Chief Human Rights Officer then as Senior Director of North East and North African Affairs. In 2005, he became Bush's Deputy Assisstant and the deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy. [15]
  • Dick Cheney – Vice President of the United States. He is also a former fellow of the AEI.[16]
  • Eliot Cohen – Member of Defense Policy Board. Counselor to Condoleezza Rice. In an article from 2005, Cohen continues to defend the decision to go to war in Iraq, however he criticises America’s ability to carry out the invasion successfully.[17].
  • Paula Dobriansky – Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global affairs. Dobriansky was also a signatory of the letter to President Clinton urging him to take action in Iraq in 1998 [18].
  • Aaron Friedberg- Vice President Cheney’s Deputy National Security Advisor [19].
  • Francis Fukuyama- Former Member of Bush’s Council on Bioethics. Although a PNAC signatory who had campaigned for the invasion of Iraq, Fukuyama changed his opinion after it became clear that the invasion was turning into ‘an increasingly bloody counterinsurgency conflict’, noting the need for changes in American foreign policy. [20].
  • Fred Iklé - Member of Defense Policy Board. Iklé also served on the AEI's advisory council on foreign policy. He is also a member of the board of governers for the Smith Richardson Foundation- a foundation which funds the AEI. [21].
  • Zalmay Khalilzad – National Security Council (2001-2003) | Special Presidential Envoy to the Free Iraqis (2002-2003) | Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan (2002-June 2005) | Ambassador to Afghanistan (2002-2005) | Ambassador to Iraq (2003-2005) | United Nations: US Nominated January 2007[22].
  • I.Lewis Libby - Former Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney (2001-2005). Libby was "instrumental in shaping the foreign policy of the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11". [23].
  • Dan Quayle - Defense Board Member[24].
  • Peter Rodman - Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (2001-2007). Rodman was deputy assistant for national security affairs for both Reagan and George Bush senior. He was also a signatory of early PNAC letters urging President Clinton to take action in Iraq.[25].
  • Henry Rowen – Member of Defense Policy Board [26].
  • Donald Rumsfeld – Former Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld was "one of the key architects and promoters of the war in Iraq", and is known for his misleading stories about Iraq before the invasion. [27].
  • Paul Wolfowitz – Deputy Secretary of Defense Department (2001-2005). Chair of International Security Advisory Board [28].

Other PNAC members (Updated 23 November 2005)

Non-overlapping signatories to a 28 January 2005 letter to Congress

Source: Letter to Congress on Increasing U.S. Ground Forces, PNAC, January 28, 2005.

See the Right Web Profile.

Funding

MediaTransparency.org has documented $600,000 in donations to PNAC from 1997-2004 from conservative foundations.[29] Funders listed include:

Affiliations with the American Enterprise Institute

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy was founded in 1943 Lewis H Brown. [30] According to their website, the AEI is ‘a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare.’ Their purpose claims to be ‘to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism--limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defense and foreign policies, political accountability, and open debate.[31].

The American Enterprise Institute has close ties with both the Project for the New American Century and the Bush Administration.

Some of the key figures involved with the American Enterprise Institute have included Irving Kristol, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton.[32].

  • John Bolton, as well as being Senior Vice President for Public Policy Research for the AEI between 1997-2001, has also been involved with the Project for the New American Century and the Bush administration, taking on the roles of Undersecretary for the State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs (2001-2005) and as a United States representative to the UN (2005-2006). [33]. Bolton was a key support of the invasion of Iraq, reportedly saying to council members that "You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not. That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not."[34]
  • Paul Wolfowitz, one of the founding signatories of the Project for the New American Century, is a Visiting Scholar of the American Enterprise Institute. He is chair of the International Security Advisory Board and was previously Deputy Secretary of the Defense Department. (2001-2005). Wolfowitz also worked as the President of the World Bank (2005-June 2007). Like Bolton, Wolfowitz was an avid campaigner for the war in Iraq, being described as "a drum that would not stop. He and his group of neoconservatives were rubbing their hands over the ideas [for invading Iraq]."[35]
  • Irving Kristol considers himself a conservative, although he is widely believed to be one of the founding fathers of the neoconservative movement.[36]. It has been said that 'Kristol also played an important role in shaping the neoconservative connection to the think tank and pressure group world.' [37]. Kristol became a fellow of the AEI in the 1980s. [38].
  • Richard Perle was one of the main campaigners for the invasion of Iraq and the 'War on Terror' in the aftermath of 9/11.[39]. He has been described as a 'man of many hats:Pentagon policy adviser (resigned February 2004), former Likud policy adviser, media manager, international investor, op-ed writer, talk show guest, think tank expert, and ardent supporter of the war in Iraq.' [40]. Once named the 'Prince of Darkness' due to his anti-Soviet policies, Perle helped to shape foreign policies in the Bush Administration in the run up to the Iraq War. [41]

PNAC Documents

References, Resources and Contact

Contact

Project for the New American Century
1150 17th St. NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 293-4983
Fax: (202) 293-4572
Website www.newamericancentury.org

External Resources

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Notes

  1. "[http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century]", Project for the New American Century, September 2000, accessed 21 July 2009
  2. About PNAC, PNAC website, accessed 21 July 2009
  3. Robert Kagan, PNAC website, accessed 21 July 2009
  4. Weekly Standard website, Weekly Standard, accessed 2 March 2008
  5. Right Web website, Jeb Bush Profile, accessed 2 March 2008
  6. The White House website, Dick Cheney Profile, accessed 2 March 2008
  7. John Hopkins University website, Fukuyama Biography, accessed 2 March 2008
  8. Dan Quayles website, Dan Quayles page, accessed 2 March 2008
  9. The White House website, Donald Rumsfeld Profile, accessed 2 March 2008
  10. Right Web website, Paul Wolfowitz Profile, accessed 2 March 2008
  11. Information Clearing House, The Project for The New American Century, accessed 20 March 2008
  12. Joint Vision 2020, Joint Vision 2020, accessed 20 March 2008
  13. [1]
  14. Project for a New American Century (PNAC): A Complete List of PNAC Signatories and Contributing Writers, Rightweb, version placed in web archive 30 April 2004, accessed in web archive 28 July 2009
  15. Right Web website, Elliott Abrams Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  16. Right Web website, Dick Cheney Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  17. Right Web website, Eliot Cohen Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  18. Right Web website, Paula Dobriansky Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  19. Right Web website, Aaron Friedberg Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  20. Right Web website, Francis Fukuyama Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  21. Right Web website, Fred Iklé Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  22. Right Web website, Kalmay Zhalilzad Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  23. Right Web website, I.Lewis Libby Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  24. Right Web website, Dan Quayle Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  25. Right Web website, Peter Rodman Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  26. Right Web website, Henry Rowen Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  27. Right Web website, Donald Rumsfeld Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  28. Right Web website, Paul Wolfwitz Profile, accessed 3 March 2008
  29. New American Century, Media Transparency website, version placed in web archive 1 Oct 2006, accessed in web archive 26 July 2009
  30. Sourcewatch.org, [2], accessed 18 March 2008
  31. American Enterprise Institute Website, [3], accessed 18 March 2008
  32. Right Web Website, [4], accessed 18 March 2008
  33. Right Web Website, [5], accessed 18 March 2008
  34. AlterNet.org [6], accessed 18 March 2008
  35. Right Web Website [7], accessed 18 March 2008
  36. sourcewatch.org Irvin Kristol, accessed 24 March 2008
  37. Right Web Website [8] accessed 24 March 2008
  38. Right Web Website [9] accessed 24 March 2008
  39. Right Web Website [10], accessed 24 March 2008
  40. Sourcewatch.org [11], accessed 24 March 2008
  41. Right Web Website [12], accessed 24 March 2008
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