March 8, 1992
U.S. Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop
A One-Superpower World
Pentagon’s Document Outlines Ways to Thwart Challenges to Primacy of America
By Patrick E. Tyler
Special to The New York Times
WASHINGTON, March 7 – In a broad new policy statement that is in its final drafting phase, the Defense Department asserts that America’s political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territories of the former Soviet Union.
A 46-page document that has been circulating at the highest levels of the Pentagon for weeks, and which Defense Secretary Dick Cheney expects to release later this month, states that part of the American mission will be “convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.”
The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy.
Rejecting Collective Approach
To perpetuate this role, the United States “must sufficiently account for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order,” the document states.
With its focus on this concept of benevolent domination by one power, the Pentagon document articulates the clearest rejection to date of collective internationalism, the strategy that emerged from World War II when the five victorious powers sought to form a United Nations that could mediate disputes and police outbreaks of violence.
Though the document is internal to the Pentagon and is not provided to Congress, its policy statements are developed in conjunction with the National Security Council and in consultation with the President or his senior national security advisers. Its drafting has been supervised by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the Pentagon’s Under Secretary for Policy. Mr. Wolfowitz often represents the Pentagon on the Deputies Committee, which formulates policy in an interagency process dominated by the State and Defense Departments.
The document was provided to The New York Times by an official who believes this post-cold-war strategy debate should be carried out in the public domain. It seems likely to provoke further debate in Congress and among America’s allies about Washington’s willingness to tolerate greater aspirations for regional leadership from a united Europe or from a more assertive Japan.
Together with its attachment on force levels required to insure America’s predominant role, the policy draft is a detailed justification for the Bush Administration’s “base force” proposal to support a 1.6-million member military over the next five years, at a cost of about $1.2 trillion. Many Democrats in Congress have criticized the proposal as unnecessarily expensive.
Implicitly, the document foresees building a world security arrangement that pre-empts Germany or Japan from pursuing a course of substantial rearmament, especially nuclear armament, in the future.
In its opening paragraph, the policy document heralds the “less visible” victory at the end of the cold war, which it defines as the “integration of Germany and Japan into a U.S.-led system of collective security and the creation of a democratic ‘zone of peace.’”
The continuation of this strategic goal explains the strong emphasis elsewhere in the document and in other Pentagon planning on using military force, if necessary, to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in such countries as North Korea, Iraq, some of the successor republics to the Soviet Union and in Europe.
Nuclear proliferation, if unchecked by superpower action, could tempt Germany, Japan and other industrial powers to acquire nuclear weapons to deter attack from regional foes. This could start them down the road to global competition with the United States and, in a crisis over national interests, military rivalry.
The policy draft appears to be adjusting the role of the American nuclear arsenal in the new era, saying, “Our nuclear forces also provide an important deterrent hedge against the possibility of a revitalized or unforeseen global threat, while at the same time helping to deter third party use of weapons of mass destruction through the threat of retaliation.”
U.N. Action Ignored The document is conspicuously devoid of references to collective action through the United Nations, which provided the mandate for the allied assault on Iraqi forces in Kuwait and which may soon be asked to provide a new mandate to force President Saddam Hussein to comply with his cease-fire obligations.
The draft notes that coalitions “hold considerable promise for promoting collective action” as in the Persian Gulf war, but that “we should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted, and in many cases carrying only general agreement over the objectives to be accomplished.”
What is most important, it says, is “the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S.” and “the United States should be postured to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated” or in a crisis that demands quick response.
Bush Administration officials have been saying publicly for some time that they were willing to work within the framework of the United Nations, but that they reserve the option to act unilaterally or through selective coalitions, if necessary, to protect vital American interests.
But this publicly stated strategy did not rule out an eventual leveling of American power as world security stabilizes and as other nations place greater emphasis on collective international action through the United Nations.
In contrast, the new draft sketches a world in which there is one dominant military power whose leaders “must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”
Sent to Administrators
The document is known in Pentagon parlance as the Defense Planning Guidance, an internal Administration policy statement that is distributed to the military leaders and civilian Defense Department heads to instruct them on how to prepare their forces, budgets and strategy for the remainder of the decade. The policy guidance is typically prepared every two years, and the current draft will yield the first such document produced after the end of the cold war.
Senior Defense Department officials have said the document will be issued by Defense Secretary Cheney this month. According to a Feb. 18 memorandum from Mr. Wolfowitz’s deputy, Dale A. Vesser, the policy guidance will be issued with a set of “illustrative” scenarios for possible future foreign conflicts that might draw United States military forces into combat.
These scenarios, issued separately to the military services on Feb. 4, were detailed in a New York Times article last month. They postulated regional wars against Iraq and North Korea, as well as a Russian assault on Lithuania and smaller military contingencies that United States forces might confront in the future.
These hypothetical conflicts, coupled with the policy guidance document, are meant to give military leaders specific information about the kinds of military threats they should be prepared to meet as they train and equip their forces. It is also intended to give them a coherent strategy framework in which to evaluate various force and training options.
Fears of Proliferation
In assessing future threats, the document places great emphasis on how “the actual use of weapons of mass destruction, even in conflicts that do not directly engage U.S. interests, could spur further proliferation which in turn would threaten world order.”
“The U.S. may be faced with the question of whether to take military steps to prevent the development or use of weapons of mass destruction,” it states, noting that those steps could include pre-empting an impending attack with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or “punishing the attackers or threatening punishment of aggressors through a variety of means,” including attacks on the plants that manufacture such weapons.
Noting that the 1968 Nuclear Proliferation Treaty is up for renewal in 1995, the document says, “should it fail, there could ensue a potentially radical destabilizing process” that would produce unspecified “critical challenges which the U.S. and concerned partners must be prepared to address.”
The draft guidance warns that “both Cuba and North Korea seem to be entering intense periods of crisis – primarily economic, but also political – which may lead the governments involved to take actions that would otherwise seem irrational.” It adds, “the same potential exists in China.”
For the first time since the Defense Planning Guidance process was initiated to shape national security policy, the new draft states that the fragmentation of the former Soviet military establishment has eliminated the capacity for any successor power to wage global conventional war.
But the document qualifies its assessment, saying, “we do not dismiss the risks to stability in Europe from a nationalist backlash in Russia or effort to re-incorporate into Russia the newly independent republics of Ukraine, Belarus and possibly others.”
It says that though U.S. nuclear targeting plans have changed “to account for welcome developments in states of the former Soviet Union,” American strategic nuclear weapons will continue to target vital aspects of the former Soviet military establishment. The rationale for the continuation of this targeting policy is that the United States “must continue to hold at risk those assets and capabilities that current – and future – Russian leaders or other nuclear adversaries value most” because Russia will remain “the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States.”
Until such time as the Russian nuclear arsenal has been rendered harmless, “we continue to face the possibility of robust strategic nuclear forces in the hands of those who might revert to closed, authoritarian, and hostile regimes,” the document says. It calls for the “early introduction” of a global anti-missile system.
Plan for Europe
In Europe, the Pentagon paper asserts that “a substantial American presence in Europe and continued cohesion within the Western alliance remains vital,” but to avoid a competitive relationship from developing, “we must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO.”
The draft states that with the elimination of United States short-range nuclear weapons in Europe and similar weapons at sea, the United States should not contemplate any withdrawal of its nuclear-strike aircraft based in Europe and, in the event of a resurgent threat from Russia, “we should plan to defend against such a threat” farther forward on the territories of Eastern Europe “should there be an Alliance decision to do so.”
This statement offers an explicit commitment to defend the former Warsaw Pact nations from Russia. It suggests that the United States could also consider extending to Eastern and Central European nations security commitments similar to those extended to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab states along the Persian Gulf. And to help stabilize the economies and democratic development in Eastern Europe, the draft calls of the European Community to offer memberships to Eastern European countries as soon as possible.
In East Asia, the report says, the United States can draw down its forces further, but “we must maintain our status as a military power of the first magnitude in the area.”
“This will enable the United States to continue to contribute to regional security and stability by acting as a balancing force and prevent the emergence of a vacuum or a regional hegemon.” In addition, the draft warns that any precipitous withdrawal of United States military forces could provoke an unwanted response from Japan, and the document states, “we must also sensitive to the potentially destabilizing effects that enhanced roles on the part of our allies, particularly Japan but also possibly Korea, might produce.”
In the event that peace negotiations between the two Koreas succeed, the draft recommends that the United States “should seek to maintain an alliance relationship with a unified democratic Korea.”
Excerpts from Pentagon’s Plan: ‘Prevent the Re-Emergence of a New Rival’
Special to The New York Times
WASHINGTON, March 7 – Following are excerpts from the Pentagon’s Feb. 18 draft of the Defense Planning Guidance for the Fiscal Years 1994-1999:
This Defense Planning guidance addresses the fundamentally new situation which has been created by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the disintegration of the internal as well as the external empire, and the discrediting of Communism as an ideology with global pretensions and influence. The new international environment has also been shaped by the victory of the United States and its coalition allies over Iraqi aggression – the first post-cold-war conflict and a defining event in U.S. global leadership. In addition to these two victories, there has been a less visible one, the integration of Germany and Japan into a U.S.-led system of collective security and the creation of a democratic “zone of peace.”
• • •
DEFENSE STRATEGY OBJECTIVES
Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and 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. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.
There are three additional aspects to this objective: First, the U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. Second, in the non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. Finally, we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role. An effective reconstitution capability is important here, since it implies that a potential rival could not hope to quickly or easily gain a predominant military position in the world.
The second objective is to address sources of regional conflict and instability in such a way as to promote increasing respect for international law, limit international violence, and encourage the spread of democratic forms of government and open economic systems. These objectives are especially important in deterring conflicts or threats in regions of security importance to the United States because of their proximity (such as Latin America), or where we have treaty obligations or security commitments to other nations. While the U.S. cannot become the world’s “policeman,” by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the pre-eminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations. Various types of U.S. interests may be involved in such instances: access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, threats to U.S. citizens from terrorism or regional or local conflict, and threats to U.S. society from narcotics trafficking.
• • •
It is improbable that a global conventional challenge to U.S. and Western security will re-emerge from the Eurasian heartland for many years to come. Even in the highly unlikely event that some future leadership in the former Soviet Union adopted strategic aims of recovering the lost empire or otherwise threatened global interests, the loss of Warsaw Pact allies and the subsequent and continuing dissolution of military capability would make any hope of success require years or more of strategic and doctrinal re-orientation and force regeneration and redeployment, which in turn could only happen after a lengthy political realignment and re-orientation to authoritarian and aggressive political and economic control. Furthermore, any such political upheaval in or among the states of the former U.S.S.R. would be much more likely to issue in internal or localized hostilities, rather than a concerted strategic effort to marshal capabilities for external expansionism – the ability to project power beyond their borders.
There are other potential nations or coalitions that could, in the further future, develop strategic aims and a defense posture of region-wide or global domination. Our strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any future potential global competitor. But because we no longer face either a global threat or a hostile, non-democratic power dominating a region critical to our interests, we have the opportunity to meet threats at lower levels and lower costs – as long as we are prepared to reconstitute additional forces should the need to counter a global threat re-emerge ….
REGIONAL THREATS AND RISK
With the demise of a global military threat to U.S. interests, regional military threats, including possible conflicts arising in and from the territory of the former Soviet Union, will be of primary concern to the U.S. in the future. These threats are likely to arise in regions critical to the security of the U.S. and its allies, including Europe, East Asia, the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and the territory of the former Soviet Union. We also have important interests at stake in Latin America, Oceania, and Sub-Saharan Africa. In both cases, the U.S. will be concerned with preventing the domination of key regions by a hostile power ….
Former Soviet Union
The former Soviet state achieved global reach and power by consolidating control over the resources in the territory of the former U.S.S.R. The best means of assuring that no hostile power is able to consolidate control over the resources within the former Soviet Union to support its successor states (especially Russia and Ukraine) in their efforts to become peaceful democracies with market-based economies. A democratic partnership with Russia and the other republics would be the best possible outcome for the United States. At the same time, we must also hedge against the possibility that democracy will fail, with the potential that an authoritarian regime bent on regenerating aggressive military power could emerge in Russia, or that similar regimes in other successor republics could lead to spreading conflict within the former U.S.S.R. or Eastern Europe.
• • •
For the immediate future, key U.S. concerns will be the ability of Russia and the other republics to demilitarize their societies, convert their military industries to civilian production, eliminate or, in the case of Russia, radically reduce their nuclear weapons inventory, maintain firm command and control over nuclear weapons, and prevent leakage of advanced military technology and expertise to other countries.
• • •
NATO continues to provide the indispensable foundation for a stable security environment in Europe. Therefore, it is of fundamental importance to preserve NATO as the primary instrument of Western defense and security as well as the channel for U.S. influence and participation in European security affairs. While the United States supports the goal of European integration, we must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO, particularly the alliance’s integrated command structure.
• • •
The end of the Warsaw Pact and the dissolution of the Soviet Union have gone a long way toward increasing stability and reducing the military threat to Europe. The ascendancy of democratic reformers in the Russian republic, should this process continue, is likely to create a more benign policy toward Eastern Europe. However, the U.S. must keep in mind the long history of conflict between the states of Eastern Europe and those of the former Soviet Union ….
The most promising avenues for anchoring the east-central Europeans into the West and for stabilizing their democratic institutions is their participation in Western political and economic organizations. East-central European membership in the (European Community) at the earliest opportunity, and expanded NATO liaison …..
The U.S. could also consider extending to the east-central European states security commitments analogous to those we have extended to Persian Gulf states.
• • •
Should there be a re-emergence of a threat from the former Soviet Union’s successor state, we should plan to defend against such a threat in Eastern Europe, should there be an alliance decision to do so.
East Asia and the Pacific
… Defense of Korea will likely remain one of the most demanding major regional contingencies …. Asia is home to the world’s greatest concentration of traditional Communist states, with fundamental values, governance, and policies decidedly at variance with our own and those of our friends and allies.
To buttress the vital political and economic relationships we have along the Pacific rim, we must maintain our status as a military power of the first magnitude in the area. This will enable the U.S. to continue to contribute to regional security and stability by acting as a balancing force and prevent emergence of a vacuum or a regional hegemon.
• • •
Middle East and Southwest Asia
In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region’s oil. We also seek to deter further aggression in the region, foster regional stability, protect U.S. nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways. As demonstrated by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, it remains fundamentally important to prevent a hegemon or alignment of powers from dominating the region. This pertains especially to the Arabian peninsula. Therefore, we must continue to play a role through enhanced deterrence and improved cooperative security.
• • •
We will seek to prevent the further development of a nuclear arms race on the Indian subcontinent. In this regard, we should work to have both countries, India and Pakistan, adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to place their nuclear energy facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. We should discourage Indian hegemonic aspirations over the other states in South Asia and on the Indian Ocean. With regard to Pakistan, a constructive U.S.-Pakistani military relationship will be an important element in our strategy to promote stable security conditions in Southwest Asia and Central Asia. We should therefore endeavor to rebuild our military relationship given acceptable resolution of our nuclear concerns.
• • •
Cuba’s growing domestic crisis holds out the prospect for positive change, but over the near term, Cuba’s tenuous internal situation is likely to generate new challenges to U.S. policy. Consequently, our programs must provide capabilities to meet a variety of Cuban contingencies which could include an attempted repetition of the Mariel boatlift, a military provocation against the U.S. or an American ally, or political instability and internal conflict in Cuba.