USA: Wolfowitz at American Enterprise Institute

This satirical video is about the ouster of Paul Wolfowitz over the revelation of a promotion and pay raise he secretly gave his girlfriend who worked for the World Bank.

It says about itself:

These are dark days for Paul Wolfowitz. His girlfriend broke up with him last week, after he left his job in disgrace for getting said girlfriend a gig. That, after helping start the Iraq war…his downfall would be tragic if it weren’t so completely fucking awesome.

From the blog of James Pinkerton in the USA:

Like Napoleon at Elba, Wolfowitz Finds Contentment at AEI

Paul Wolfowitz, former Deputy Secretary of Defense and former President of the World Bank, has been named Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. But while AEI is known as a hub for hawkish neoconservatives–including Richard Perle, David Frum, and Michael Ledeen–Wolfowitz will not be working on any more foreign wars, according to AEI President Chris DeMuth. Instead, as the July 2 press release informs us, Wolfowitz will “work on entrepreneurship and development issues, Africa, and public-private partnerships.” …

In other news, Napoleon announced that he was perfectly content to remain at Elba, denying rumors that he would attempt a comeback in France. Also, the Kaiser Wilhelm II reiterated his long-held opposition to plunging Germany into a two-front war. And finally, President Lyndon Johnson forcefully declared, “We are not about to send American boys 10,000 miles away to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”

See also here.

And here.

AEI update, July 2008: here.

5 thoughts on “USA: Wolfowitz at American Enterprise Institute


    Wolfowitz the Undead

    by Srdja Trifkovic

    Srdja TrifkovicFormer World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz will head a high-level advisory panel on arms control and disarmament, the State Department announced on January 24. He is returning to government as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB). This is appalling news. It is deplorable that this devious and tainted man, who has been wrong–spectacularly, damagingly and provenly wrong–on every issue of substance in the post-Cold War era, is to get any government post ever again. It defies belief that he is getting the one that entrusts him with “supplying independent advice on arms control, disarmament, nonproliferation and related subjects,” which means that he will be able to have an impact on the U.S. Iran policy.

    Almost three years ago, upon learning of President Bush’s nomination of then-Deputy Defense Secretary to become the new president of the World Bank, I expressed relief (Chronicles, May 2005) that “at his new post Wolfowitz will not be able to do nearly as much damage as he has done at the Pentagon.”

    Last May came Wolfowitz’s resignation and departure in disgrace from the World Bank. Ostensibly his ouster was the result of a sordid corruption scandal involving his role in securing improper salary raises for his mistress, and trying to cover it all up. According to the Bank insiders, however, her employment contract was used as the handy pretext to get rid of Wolfowitz, the true reasons being gross mismanagement, utter misunderstanding the Bank’s role in the world, and an extreme of arrogance. Either way, however, I assumed that his public service career was finally over:

    Wolfowitz is no longer able to engineer doomed foreign adventures that cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of our dollars. The fruits of his past labors are still with us, but at least he is no longer directly involved in foreign policy making. Other officials also make mistakes and blunders; but he is unique in being certain to make them all the time, and on a grand scale.

    I was wrong. Like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, he springs back with gusto just as you think he’s finally done for. Like with Count Dracula (or like with the presumably late Charles Haughey, as per Connor Cruise O’Brian) you need to look over your shoulder even if you find him lying, at midnight, with a stake driven through his heart.

    The facts of the case add up to a perverse and troubling story. Most Americans–or at least those who try to think about such things– implicitly assume that the U.S. foreign policy (whether they agree with its conduct or not) is coherent in its assumptions and rational in its execution. Wolfowitz’s various inputs into the “decision-making community” over the decades, however, have been neither coherent nor rational by any conventional standard. His personal and professional credibility in the world is non-existant. He has been wrong on so many issues, and so spectacularly and visibly wrong, that his return into the fold marks an apt finale for this deeply flawed administration.

    THE MAKING OF AN INSIDER–Wolfowitz’s intellectual maturing, when he was a doctoral student at the University of Chicago in the late 1960’s, proceeded under the tutelage of the late RAND guru Albert Wohlstetter. The latter was famous for his view that mere nuclear deterrence was not a satisfactory basis for strategic doctrine: the United States had to plan to fight and win a nuclear war in order to deter the enemy. Richard Perle was another promising protégé of Wohlstetter’s. He and Wolfowitz got to know each other through their ageing mentor, and became life-long political and personal associates.

    Perle was the first to go to Washington, in 1969, when Wohlstetter secured his appointment as executive director of the Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defense Policy, founded primarily to defeat President Richard Nixon’s arms-control negotiations with Moscow. Three years later Perle was active–together with Midge Decter, Norman Podhoretz, and Irving Kristol–in the establishment of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority (CDM), founded to promote the bid for presidency by Senator Henry (“Scoop”) Jackson. At that time they were all Democrats. When they revamped the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) in 1976, however, they were “Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.” Yet when exactly the same crew created the Committee for the Free World (CFW) in 1981, Reagan was in the White House–and Perle & Co. had become Republicans and “conservatives.” To keep all bases covered, a link with the old Trotskyite base was maintained through Joshua Muravchik and the Social Democrats-USA. SDUSA chairman Penn Kemble was the Executive Director of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority in 1972, until he brought in Richard Perle’s aide Stephen Bryen to take his place.

    By that time Wolfowitz had left a teaching position at Yale and moved to Washington, he could rely on a well developed support network His first appointment was to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and Wohlstetter’s two prodigies soon became a strong tandem clamoring for confrontation with Moscow. From there Wolfowitz went to the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Regional Programs, then to the State Department’s Policy Planning Office, and spent three-and-a-half years as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs before being sent to Indonesia as the U.S. Ambassador. He returned from Jakarta to serve under President George H.W. Bush as Under Secretary for Policy at the Pentagon (the post subsequently held by his friend and protégé Douglas Feith).

    IDEOLOGUE OF GLOBAL HEGEMONY–Wolfowitz’s rise to national prominence (notoriety is a more apt term) came at that post in early 1992, when he authored a secret 46-page Pentagon memorandum, the Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994-99 fiscal years. That remarkable document was soon leaked to the New York Times–and it shook the world.

    The Cold War was over, the USSR had disintegrated, Russian soldiers were back home from Central Europe, but to Wolfowitz that was not enough. America had to keep arming herself in order to ensure that no rival power is allowed to emerge, anywhere, ever. The United States had to convince “potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role” and Washington’s task was to promote “the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S.” The quest for hegemony was to be open-ended: “We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.” Wolfowitz accordingly asserted the right of the United States to intervene when and where it believed necessary:

    While the U.S. cannot become the world’s policeman, by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we’ll retain the preeminent 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.

    This “responsibility” was to be discharged especially in the area of the former Soviet Union. Wolfowitz’s doctrine was formulated at a time of Russia’s abject weakness and pathetic attempts by Yeltsin and Kozyrev to prove her “cooperativeness” through an endless string of concessions and capitulations; yet Wolfowitz–an instinctive Russophobe–was unimpressed:

    We do not dismiss the risks to stability in Europe from a nationalist backlash in Russia or efforts to reincorporate into Russia the newly independent republics of Ukraine, Belarus, and possibly others . . . We must, however, be mindful that democratic change in Russia is not irreversible, and that despite its current travails, Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States.

    In assessing future threats, the document repeatedly stressed this alleged danger of Moscow’s ambition to re-incorporate the newly independent republics of the USSR. Incredibly, Wolfowitz advocated an all-out, U.S.-led NATO war against Russia if Moscow threatened their security–and that of newly-independent Baltic republics in particular. He boldly asserted that Russia would be unlikely to respond with nuclear weapons, but with no clear basis for that assessment.

    That, in a nutshell, was the Wolfowitz Doctrine. That America should fight an all-out war and risk nuclear annihilation in order to maintain the independence of former Soviet republic was utterly insane, of course, but instead of being taken to a safe, quiet place where he could do no harm to himself or to others, Wolfowitz became a neocon hero and embarked on a decade of activism that in 2001 brought him to the Pentagon as Rumsfeld’s No. 2.

    JIHAD’S ENABLER–Paul Wolfowitz enthusiastically supported Bill Clinton’s pro-Muslim interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s. He joined a long line of American officials, starting with Lawrence Eagleburger in 1992 and culminating with Tom Lantos last spring, who approved of “cracking some Serbian skulls” (Bill Kristol) in order to score a few points in the Muslim world– especially if this is done on the cheap. He looked then, and still looks now, upon Serbia as Russia’s potential asset that can and should be brutalized and fragmented. Finally, Wolfowitz saw in the U.S. intervention in Europe’s Balkan backyard an opportunity for Washington to disabuse its European partners of any misguided notion that they can resolve that crisis–or for that matter any crisis –without America’s tutelage.

    To that end, in the mid-1990s Wolfowitz worked with Morton Abramowitz in setting up the Balkan Action Council, a rabidly anti-Serb quasi-think tank bankrolled by George Soros. He criticized the Clinton administration for not being belligerent enough: for not arming the Muslims and striking the Serbs in Bosnia, for not bombing Serbia already in 1998 (which he demanded, with others, in a full-page ad in the New York Times), and for not pursuing a clear military victory in Kosovo once the bombing had started.

    Wolfowitz is known to have been equally supportive of the insanely Russophobic American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (which has changed the last word of its name to “Caucasus” while keeping the same acronym, ACPC), although he could not join due to his Pentagon appointment. Chaired by the ubiquitous Dr. Brzezinski, this pro-Jihadist organization included many of his close friends and associates (Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, Joshua Muravchik, Morton Abramowitz and William Kristol among them). They jointly promoted the theory that the Chechen rebellion was a movement of national liberation worthy of support, not terrorist in nature, not Islamist in character, devoid of links with foreign Jihadist groups, and justly aggrieved by Russian intransigence. They were spectacularly wrong, of course, just as they had been spectacularly wrong on the Balkans.

    It is noteworthy that Wolfowitz and his partner Richard Perle, enthusiastically pro-Muslim in the Balkans and the Caucasus, have the reputation of being Israel’s dedicated and reliable friends. (In 1996, for instance, Perle gained the distinction of simultaneously advising both Bob Dole’s presidential campaign and Benjamin Netanyahu’s election campaign.) Yet their strange conviction that some Jihadists must be fought while others may be wooed as geopolitical allies is deservedly derided in Israel herself. Wolfowitz has yet to grasp that, just as the Palestinian cause is inseparable from the Muslim ideology, the blending of the Caucasian or Balkan Muslims’ brand of nationalism with Islamism has already taken place–and the bond can no longer be broken.

    ARCHITECT OF IRAQI WAR–Wolfowitz and Perle had advocated the war on Iraq for years before they got it. They were founding members of the Project for a New American century (PNAC) established on principles that included “American global leadership.” PNAC began advocating the overthrow of Saddam Hussein almost immediately. Its open January 26, 1998 letter to President Clinton demanding war against Iraq was said to have been drafted by Wolfowitz. Testifying to the House National Security Committee eight months later he declared that Saddam Hussein was reconstituting his prohibited weapons capabilities and suggested “a serious policy in Iraq” that would “free Iraq’s neighbors from Saddam’s murderous threats”:

    The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use, or threaten to use, weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

    Testifying to the House National Security Committee eight months later (September 17, 1998) Wolfowitz declared that Saddam Hussein “now finds himself free to reconstitute his prohibited weapons capabilities without fear of intrusive inspections.” He suggested “a serious policy in Iraq” that would “free Iraq’s neighbors from Saddam’s murderous threats.”

    Just nine days after the 9/11 attacks, PNAC sent another letter, this time to President George W. Bush, stating that “even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.” Wolfowitz did not sign the letter as he was a government official, but according to the final report of the 9/11 Commission, he was doing his bit for the cause by trying to insert the war against Iraq into the package of anti-terrorist options.

    Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Commission that, within days of 9/11, Wolfowitz had argued that Iraq should be attacked, although he had no rational basis for the demand:

    Powell said that Wolfowitz was not able to justify his belief that Iraq was behind 9/11. ‘Paul [Wolfowitz] was always of the view that Iraq was a problem that had to be dealt with,’ Powell told us. ‘And he saw this as one way of using this event as a way to deal with the Iraq problem’.

    LIES, DAMN LIES, AND WOLFOWITZ’S WMDS–In the end, as we know, the Commission concluded that there was “no credible evidence” of a terrorist link. Its findings were openly supported by CIA and FBI officials who had been under intense political pressure before the war to establish such link, notably by the “Office of Special Plans” at the Pentagon that was busy crafting WMD “intelligence” out of Dr. Feith’s whole cloth.

    As soon as the war was over, however, Wolfowitz calmly changed his tune and took to calling the WMDs a “secondary issue.” Soon thereafter came his now famous admission (Vanity Fair, July 2003) that “for bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.” His audacity reached a new height on April 20, 2004, when he told the Armed Services Committee that the war in Iraq was fought to remove a “brutal dictator”–and failed to even mention any WMDs–his main justification for war in previous years:

    * On February 17, 2002, Wolfowitz told Fox News Sunday that WMDs were not merely a threat to Iraq’s neighbors: they posed “a real threat to the world.” He criticized some European leaders trying to separate the war against terrorism to include Iraq.

    * On February 17, 2003, he told London’s ITN that Saddam was “more dangerous now than he was five years ago, and he’ll be even more dangerous if we leave him.”

    * In an ABC television interview (February 28, 2003) he said, “We’re dealing with a dictator who had weapons of mass terror, who continues to hold on to them at great cost to his country and to his own regime . . . [The danger] only grows the longer we wait.”

    Once the war was over and it became evident that U.S. troops occupying Iraq were unlikely to find any banned weapons, Wolfowitz calmly changed his tune and took to calling the WMDs a “secondary issue.” Returning from a visit to Iraq (July 2003) he thus said “I’m not concerned about weapons of mass destruction, I’m concerned about getting Iraq on its feet.” He further claimed that Iraqis themselves had little concern about the “historical” issue of weapons, which was no longer an issue worthy of discussion.

    A MENDACIOUS SERVANT–Wolfowitz’s modus operandi in pushing his agenda from within the government structure is well illustrated by a sequence of events in one week in late 1993. On December 6, according to an AP report, “President Bush and his top aides were cajoling, imploring and even sweet-talking allies” into sharing the burden of Iraq with America. When Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met NATO defense ministers in Brussels that week, he declared that Washington “welcomes more help in Iraq. Only days later, addressing American allies in Europe, Secretary of State Colin Powell urged them to help rebuild Iraq.

    In apparent contradiction to such statements by his boss Rumsfeld and Secretary Powell, on December 9 Wolfowitz–as Assistant Secretary of Defense–declared that countries that had opposed the Iraq war would be barred by the U.S. from bidding for billions of dollars of reconstruction contracts. Those contracts would only be given to companies from the United States, its coalition partners and “force-contributing nations,” Wolfowitz said. In a sentence deeply Marxian in its dialectics he declared that “limiting competition for prime contracts will encourage the expansion of international cooperation in Iraq and in future efforts.”

    Wolfowitz’s statement came as a bombshell. “We noted this news with amazement,” German foreign minister said. Prime Minister Paul Martin found it “very difficult to understand.” France thought it violated U.S. commitments to the World Trade Organization. “This is a gratuitous and extremely unhelpful decision,” said the EU commissioner for international relations Chris Patten. The New York Times declared that “President Bush has reversed field again and left the European allies angry, the secretary of state looking out of step, and the rest of us wondering exactly what his policy really is.” Wolfowitz himself was not reproached at first, but within days the Times revealed that “White House officials were fuming about the timing and the tone” of Wolfowitz’s statement. A State Department source called it “a train wreck.”

    REAL MOTIVES?–In this long-forgotten episode Wolfowitz was guilty neither of ineptitude nor of incoherence. His every statement and every move prove that he is rational and coherent in pursuit of his defined objectives. The key problem with him is that those objectives are not necessarily identical with the stated goals of the U.S. foreign policy: his behavior is personally functional but systemically dysfunctional. In this instance, far from seeking “partnership” with “our allies,” Wolfowitz and other neocons want either an utterly subservient, or else an alienated and utterly alien Europe.

    Wolfowitz’s statement in December 2003 and his famous Vanity Fair admission quoted above were equally at odds with the Administration’s stated policy. They made sense, however, if his true objective was to make sure that the U.S. remained the only outside power that matters, in the Middle East and everywhere else. Since Paul Wolfowitz is neither mad nor stupid, his actions indicate that he is loath to see any foreign involvement anywhere, except on his, and his like-minded cohorts’ terms, and under their control. The doctrine behind this policy was stated frankly in Wolfowitz’s famous 1992 Pentagon memorandum:

    Like the coalition that opposed Iraqi aggression [in 1991], 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. Nevertheless, the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S. will be an important stabilizing factor.

    Wolfowitz is who he is and what he is, true to his vocation and his convictions; Er kann nicht anders. As head of the ISAB–formerly known as the Arms Control and Nonproliferation Advisory Board– he will advocate war against Iran, of course. He will produce information and analysis making an attack mandatory As for George W. Bush, his enabler, this appointment in the final year of his tenure is the seal of proofs that he learns nothing and forgets nothing.

    UNDERSTANDING A BAD MAN–Dr. Paul Dundes Wolfowitz is the upholder of a peculiar set of ideological convictions. His mindset, Manichean, paranoid and hubristic, combines elements of all major 20th century brands of totalitarianism, and notably an instinctive preference for geopolitical imperialism, militarism, and statism. His core beliefs are equally at odds with any recognizably conservative outlook and with the preferences of the non-Stalinist Left. In this respect Wolfowitz is closer to Stalinism and National Socialism, than to the Trotskyist roots of some of his best friends. Far from identifying himself with the real and historic America, he treats the United States merely as a tool for the exercise of his Will to Power.

    Wolfowitz’s driving force is his psychotic quest for power and dominance, and the exceptionalist discourse its justification. His advocacy of uninhibited American control of far-away lands bears resemblance both to the New European Order of 65 years ago and to the “Socialist Community” that succeeded it in Eastern Europe. His abiding disdain for Russia and other Orthodox Slavs (notably Serbs) is positively Hitlerian. His visceral Russophobia is reminiscent of Hitler’s obsession with Russia, an animosity that was as unrelated to the nature of its regime in 1941 as it is today. Wolfowitz’s advocacy of a new Drang nach Osten in 1992 was insane but logical.

    The brazen mendacity apparent in Wolfowitz’s misrepresentation of the reasons for the Iraqi war to the American people recalls Goebbels’s “hypodermic needle approach” to propaganda. Hitler’s propaganda minister was a forerunner of Strauss and his dictum that perpetual deception of hoi polloi by those in power is necessary because they need to be led and told what is good for them. On this, at least, Wolfowitz, Trotsky, Stalin, and Hitler would all agree: those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that might is right.

    Wolfowitz has devoted his life to the relentless pursuit of power and to its use in promoting his ideological obsessions. Those obsessions are not only separate from, they are contrary to American interests and American tradition. In his words, actions, and ambitions Paul Wolfowitz has sinned against God and man, and specifically against his fellow countrymen. His morbid quest for unrestrained global dominance is devoid of any moral or legal justification.

    It is regrettable and scandalous that his quest is still allowed to continue by George W. Bush. It must be checked. If continued unhindered, the end result of Wolfowitz’s life’s work will be similar to that we have witnessed in Berlin on two occasions in the 20th century, in November 1989 and in May 1945.


    Dr. S. Trifkovic, Foreign Affairs Editor
    CHRONICLES: A Magazine of American Culture


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