On September 11, 1990, only a few days after Iraq invaded Kuwait, President George H. W. Bush (the father) delivered a speech, scheduled well in advance, before the two houses of Congress [1].

The speech was broadcast live on radio and television. The text, originally devoted to budgetary problems, had been greatly modified because of the situation. Its principal objective was to define the US vision of the “New World Order” [2].

The president began lyrically saying, «We are today before a unique and extraordinary moment. The Persian Gulf crisis, as serious as it is, offers a rare opportunity to advance toward a historic period of cooperation. Out of the these confused times our can emerge our (...) objective: a new world order, a new time, freer of threat and terror, stronger in the search for justice and surer in the search for peace; an era in which the nations of the world-east, west, north and south-can prosper and live in harmony. A hundred generations» [3] have sought out that unknown road to peace, while thousands of wars were unleashed against humanity’s efforts. Today, this new world is fighting to be born, a world different from which we have known; a world where the rule of law is taking the place of the law of the jungle; a world in which nations recognize their shared responsibility for freedom and justice; a world where the strong respect the rights of the weak. It is a vision that I have shared with President Gorbachov (...). He and other leaders in Europe, in the Gulf and everywhere in the world understand that the way in which we act in the current crisis can give shape to the future for the benefit of coming generations.

George H. W. Bush then dealt with serious issues: this was precisely because there didn’t exist any threatening enemy, only a few Third World opponents for which it was necessary to maintain the military. «This month, the Congress must adopt a prudent multi-year defense program that keeps in mind not only the improvement of East-West relations, but also our broader responsibilities in the face of the persistent risks of violations of international law and of regional conflicts. Even with our obligations in the Gulf, a healthy defense budget can be reduced in absolute terms, and we are willing to accept that. But to go beyond the level in which the budgetary cuttings would threaten our margin of maneuver is something that I will never accept. The world continues being dangerous. And, now it is clear, stability is not assured. US interests are not guaranteed. Interdependence has increased. The consequences of regional instability can be global. Now is not the moment to put in danger the capacity of the US to protect its vital interests.»

The Gorbachov’s utopia of a world at peace, born of agreement between nations, was in this way substituted for the concept of a “new order” in which international law is no longer the fruit of consent but rule imposed by US armed forces. From the American point of view, that act of prestidigitation is legitimate. It was, all things considered, the messianic ideas of the US’s founding fathers that prevailed before the designs of the communists. The moment has come for this God fearing nation (“one nation, under God”) to make use of its economic and military value to expand “its law" to the rest of the world. Incidentally, on the seal that appears on the US dollar bill, there reads the motto “Novas ordo seculorum” (a new order for centuries).

In a more prosaic way, this is also the motto of Yale University and an association of its former-students: the Skull and Bones Society [4]. This ultra-select club, limited to white males, is organized as a society where they not only initiate their members, but also transmit their elitist vision of the world. More firmly than other students at Yale, the Skull and Bones-those who have been a part of the Bush dynasty-believe their mission is to embody a “new order.”

In a first phase, it seemed that George H. W. Bush understood the “new order” as the management of international relations through intergovernmental organizations over which the United States would play a privileged role. The political questions would be the responsibility of the UN, economic and financial problems would be the responsibility of the IMF and the World Bank, etc. This vision was the one preached by the club of American interventionist leaders: the Council for Foreign Relations [5], with George Bush acting as the director [6]. Although this concurred with the US Constitution, this vision was not held by public opinion faithful to the tradition Thomas Jefferson. According to Jefferson, international treaties commit states to each other, but cannot replace national laws.

Dick Cheney
Bush’s (the Father) Secretary of Defense, Bush’s (the Son) Vice President

Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney encouraged George H. W. Bush, who seemed too hesitant, to go farther. The United States should take advantage of the Soviets quitting the arms race and establish its own control over the rest of the world. International organizations would not play the role of referees under the defense of United States but rather would be simple transmission belts for Washington’s policies. To guarantee imperial peace-Pax American-the Pentagon should be endowed with the necessary force to be capable of dealing with all contingencies and to intervene in all fronts. To support his point of view, Cheney ordered the conducting of two studies: one to evaluate existing threats (looking at both the vital interests of United States and those for world peace), and another on the means necessary for US forces to guarantee the “new world order.”

In a report dated February 7, 1991, Admiral David E. Jeremiah, deputy of the State Department Secretary Colin L. Powell, identified the potential threats:

 the reestablishment of the Warsaw Pact promoted by a newly aggressive Russian government;

 a Russian invasion of the Baltic;

 a Cuban attack on the Panama Canal;

 an attack against American citizens in the Philippines or in another the Far East nation;

 and, especially, the acquisition by Iraq and North Korea of weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein and Kim Il Sung could use in acts of madness.

The identification of the last threat seems to have to do more with ideological judgment than objectives. It is impossible to understand why Admiral Jeremiah worried about weapons of mass destruction that Iraq and North Korea might acquire instead of worrying about those same weapons already in hands of numbers of other states. Nor is it known why he spoke about the danger represented by the mental health of those two particular dictators compared to those of other autocrats around the world.

Lewis Lobby
Paul Wolfowitz’ Deputy in Bush’s (the father) Administration. Director of Dick Cheney’s Cabinet in the Bush’s (the son) Administration

Already equipped with those seven scripts, Adjunct Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz supervised the writing of a five-year defense policy plan. He surrounded himself with a work team that included Lewis Libby, Eric Edelman and Zalmay Khalilzad. On February 18, 1992 Wolfowitz presented his study entitled Defense Policy Guidance for Fiscal Years 1994-1999). Although it was confidential, the document was leaked to the press which published long passages from it [7]. Dick Cheney tried to translate this into official doctrine of the administration despite opposition from some government officials, such as the National Security Advisor General Brent Scowcroft and the Head of the Joint Chiefs General Colin L. Powell.

While Powell defends the idea of maintaining a basic force to exclusively defend the vital interests of United States, Wolfowitz called for the same type of armed forces, but equipped with ultra-sophisticated weapons that would allow them to establish the military supremacy of United States over the rest of the world.

Paul Wolfowitz
Undersecretary of Defense in Charge of Political Affairs Under Bush (the Father). Adjunct Secretary of Defense Under Bush (the Son)

«Our first objective»-Wolfowitz wrote-«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.»

As for the European Union, Paul Wolfowitz indicated, «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».

In short, to exercise its leadership, «the United States should be postured to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated.» Also «you should foresee future coalitions as ad hoc alliances» and make it understood that «the world order is ultimately backed by the US» (not by the UN).

Senator Alan Cranston ridiculed the fantasies of the Pentagon and denounced the declared intent to unleash preventive attacks against countries that could become competitors - a position he described as the “ringleader policy.” Faced with the scandal that the document created after its being leaked to the press, the Pentagon decided to revise it. In the second version of the report, Wolfowitz was gentler [8]. However, the process had begun. Therefore, the Europeans were invited to include in the Maastricht Treaty a clause that subordinated European defense policy to that of NATO [9].

This polemic didn’t stop Dick Cheney’s advance. What he was not able to obtain the first time, he would get the second. During the last days of his term, in January 1993, he published the report Defense Strategy for the 1990s: Regional Defense Strategy, though the Clinton administration did not take it into consideration.

Zalmai Khalilzad
Consultant of Paul Wolfowitz in Bush’s (the Father) Administration Ambassador to Afghanistan in Bush’s (the Son) Administration

As Dick Cheney wrote then, «At the end of the First World War, and again-though to a smaller degree-at the end of the Second, the United States as a nation made the error of believing that a kind of a permanent security had been established, that the transformation of the order obtained principally through the leadership and sacrifice of the United States could last without our leadership and our forces». At the end of Third World War, which is what the Cold War was, it was therefore convenient that the United States, in its condition of military power, exercise active world leadership instead of trusting a collective organization such as the UN or any another. «We cannot allow our critical interests to depend only on international mechanisms that can be blocked by countries whose interests can be very different from ours». From this it can be gathered is that, to have credibility, the United States must remain in state of permanent war, identifying new threats by itself and destroying them with the help of ad hoc coalitions.

It was necessary to wait for the first anniversary of the attacks in New York and Washington for the United States to adopt the doctrine officially elaborated by Cheney, Wolfowitz and Khalilzad. On September 11, 2002, twelve years after his father’s historical speech in Congress on the New World Order, George W. Bush promulgates the new United States National Security Strategy. One year later, this doctrine-adapted by Javier Solana in his role as the European Union’s foreign policy and security chief (not as the former general secretary of NATO)-is adopted by the European Council under the title of “A Secure Europe in a Better World.”

The current strategic principles of the United States are therefore not an answer to the 2001 attacks, but the fruit of reflection that began under the administration of Bush’s father «to take advantage of opportunities» opened up by the disappearance of the Soviet Union. Ideas such as the rejection of the UN and the international law, ad hoc coalitions, preventive action against the new dangers, etc. are not fleeting reactions resulting from the impact of the attacks, but a strategy of imperial dominance that matured over a long time. These actions and attitudes today conform to a consensus in the American ruling class and, paradoxically, enjoyed the approval of former US presidential candidate Senator John Kerry [10], rival of George W. Bush during the happened presidential that took place November 3, 2004.

[1“Address Before to Joint Session of the Congress on the Persian Gulf Crisis and Federal the Budget Deficit,” September 11, 1990, in The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, US Government Printing Office. This text appeared published in the US Department of State Dispatch of September 17, 1990 with the title “Toward to New World Order”

[2Prior to the speech to Congress, there took place a talk at a restricted meeting in the framework of a symposium of the Aspen Institute, August 2, 1990. Among the participants was Margaret Thatcher

[3Like his son, President Bush (the father) is a Christian fundamentalist. He rejects the anthropological knowledge and Darwin’s theory based on a literal reading of the Bible. He affirms that humanity has existed for only a few thousand years

[4"Skull and Bones, the Elite of the EmpireVoltaire, July 8, 2004

[6George Bush was the manager of the Foreign Relations Council from 1977 to 1979. He gave up that position when he ran in the Republican Party’s primary elections against Ronald Reagan

[7The issue is revealed in “US Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop” by Patrick E. Tyler, in The New York Times of March 8, 1992. This newspaper also published long passages on page 14, “Excerpts from Pentagon’s Plan: ‘Prevent the Re-Emergence of a New Rival’.” Supplementary information appears in “Keeping the US First, Pentagon Would Preclude Rival Superpower,” by Barton Gellman in The Washington Post, March 11, 1992

[8“Pentagon Drops Goal of Blocking New Superpowers” by Patrick E. Tyler, in New York Times of May 23 1992

[9Cf. Treaty of Maastricht, title V, article J4, paragraph 4

[10“Militarisme: John Kerry dans le texte,» Voltaire, March 24, 2004