Rat's Nest
Bloggage, rants, and occasional notes of despair

I'm no longer puzzled

Thomas Roberts, a much more careful and thorough researcher than I, sent me the following e-mail about an article of mine, which I publish in its entirety, with one correction that he asked me to make. 

It should be noted that Mr. Roberts did all the work, and deserves all the credit, for this.

Mr. Braue:
I've run across your posts in other weblogs and finally found your own site. Regarding "I'm STILL Puzzled" in your #96.html, I did some pretty thorough searching through several search engines and found out the following about some of the stuff you were ascribing to Mr. Mauro. First, I could not find a thing on the spurious Libby and Wolfowitz article "Defense Research Guide". What Wolfowitz was working on under Dick Cheney in 1992 was the "Draft Defense Planning Guide" which was published for the years 1994-8. It was secret, until it was leaked in the following NYT article:
Patrick E. Tyler, "U.S. Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring
No Rivals Develop," New York Times, March 8, 1992,
Now the NYT archives aren't even online earlier than 1996, unless you want to go to the library and get the microfiche out. That particular article leaked part, but not all of the draft planning guidance which was never publically released by the DoD. I looked through several defense analysis sites such as Brookings, CSIS, or Project for Defense Alternatives and I never got a citation for either the Tyler NYT text or the secret draft. I guess the security folks at DoD convinced the NYT that partial and not full disclosure was wise.
Actually, when you read all of the references to that draft document you can begin to see how what may have been a theoretical split in the GHWB administration became a serious practical split in the GWB administration. The Clintonistas were clueless about the difference between NATO and the EU in the interim. Evidently Wolfowitz and Cheney wished to get some bets on the table before the '92 elections and started the draft. Somewhat to their surprise, GHWB lost in '92 and the Clinton administration had little use for the draft, which apparently implied that the US needed to ensure that it remained the predominant world power in any particular region of interest. That was rather an obvious corollary of the Gulf War diplomatic situation.
Bill Clinton had no interest in fighting any war, let alone fighting another Gulf War. As was shown in the Barak-Arafat negotiations in late 2000, WJC was obsessed with testing the limits of diplomacy without regard for the military implications of failure, which we are seeing at present in Israel. The limits of US military effort were described in the Balkans during his terms, and in particular in the Kosovo campaign. Here NATO and not the US were given predominant command roles, and the Pentagon was instructed to not risk US assets during execution. Consequently Kosovo was remarkable for its hypothetical casualty rate due to depleted uranium munitions and by the Apache helicopter squadron which flew two birds into the hills and was grounded for the duration.
But this US attitude was positively bellicose compared to the European position which not only turned introverted in character but also financially retrenched in a manner which would have made the GOP dance with glee if WJC had followed suit. In many ways this took all the heat off of Clinton to redefine the US-European-NATO-EU relationship, which due to political evolution occurring in the EU was a moving target in any case. The US could easily be the NATO leader as the Europeans and Canadians wished to do nearly nothing. Here is where Mr. Mauro makes much about nothing, as nobody in Washington after November 1992 was vetoing any European defense initiatives. There simply were none. The same has been vituperatively been noted by Canadian commentators (see www.davidwarrenonline.com/index45.html for some choice brickbats) concerning the Chretien government's military lassitude.
This hidden disparity of effort surfaced with the 2000 campaign when several incindiary articles were published by one Dr. Condoleeza Rice through Stanford's Hoover Institute. These articles,
written by this Russian expert, essentially said that US policy goals should not be subordinated to external alliance structures, and moreover these goals should have been updated to mark the changing context of US roles after the Cold War. Rice essentially was redrawing the rules of the game, assuming a GWB victory, and Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Armitage, Cheney, and Powell fulling subscribed to this set of assumptions. But what wasn't apparent until mid 2001 was the practical split between the Wolfowitz and Powell factions, if that term ["faction"] is proper to use to describe the situation in the Bush administration.
What Mauro and much of the US press in the past year have been trying to resurrect, for lack of a better term, is the Wolfowitz position of 1992, despite this position's anachronistic qualities. In reality, this position has been superceded by Rice's policy formulation context, which would have been impossible to state any earlier than 1996 or thereabouts by any US administration as the full implications of the fall of the USSR were only barely discernable before that date. This in turn made the concept of "superpowerdom" irrelevant [despite is media appeal] as it made the US not only the predominant power, but also the only power to have responsibility for worldwide peace and order, which is practically a prescription for global impotence if applied indiscriminantly as GHWB and WJC found out in Somalia and WJC found out at Camp David and Haiti. Along with the inapplicability of a classified policy position of 1992 [which was never fully disclosed in any coherent form anyway] to events 10 years later, NATO and the EU have both shown that they are DIPLOMATICALLY incompetent to keep up with any crisis other than those which allow the better part of a decade to resolve. Bosnia for example. This is not a military phenomena, it is purely political.
This is why both European and Australasian allies of the US have been evading formal alliance structures in the current conflicts, as asides from the issuance of blanket absolutions NATO or the EU or the UN have demonstrated no positive influence on the course of events. To take Mauro's antiquated critique of an old draft document seriously, we would have to consider why a serious contribution by NATO would be possible east of the Dnepr or south of the Don today. Even the French recognize this, in their continuance of their refusal to participate in the NATO military structure. Of practical interest is http://www.csis.org/europe/pubs/richard.pdf which contains Minister Richard's address in mid 2001 concerning French military policy. The EU, according to Richard, will develop a military capacity in accordance with European needs. This is reasonable and a statement of the obvious. What is not so obvious is whether these needs have anything in common with America's.
Suffice it to say, Mauro didn't say more at More Than Zero than he said to you, and his argument eventually failed to account for the material facts which contradict his anachronistic thesis. Like Fundamentalist Creationists, his faith is founded upon scriptural sources, and in Mauro's case the source is a poorly translated one.
Eric Mauro is invited to reply.

John "Akatsukami" Braue Sunday, March 24, 2002