Executive Intelligence Review
This article appears in the January 13, 2012 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Obama Announces
His 'New' Imperial War Doctrine

by Carl Osgood

[PDF version of this article]

Jan. 9—President Barack Obama's so-called new military strategy is, in fact, a continuation of the Cheney-Rumsfeld imperial war plan that declares the U.S. to be the pre-eminent military power on Earth, one that will tolerate no rivals. By personally delivering it in the Pentagon press room Jan. 5, Obama sent the message that, rather than coming to an end, the perpetual wars of the last ten years are entering a new phase. The manpower-intensive ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are giving away to regime-change campaigns, such as that in Libya in 2011, and to confrontations with China and Russia in the not-too-distant future.

"As we look beyond the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the end of long-term nation-building with large military footprints, we'll be able to ensure our security with smaller conventional ground forces. We'll continue to get rid of outdated Cold War-era systems, so that we can invest in the capabilities that we need for the future, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, counterterrorism, countering weapons of mass destruction, and the ability to operate in environments where adversaries try to deny us access."

Obama was merely following the script provided to him by his British masters, as the danger of thermonuclear war emanates from London. But to accomplish their goal, they need to control the U.S. President, as they currently do.

As Lyndon LaRouche emphasized on Dec. 27, the entire global financial system—the British imperial system of private financier oligarchy dictatorship—is coming down now. "The British need a calamity that they, themselves, [will] barely survive, to preserve their Empire. The British Empire has a passion for retaining their power that they can not shake. And so now," LaRouche warned, "the British Royals have to decide whether to surrender their empire or go for global genocide, which means thermonuclear war in the very near term."

LaRouche explained that "this is why we can only avoid war, with any assurance of success, if Obama is thrown out of office now. Nothing else will work, because as long as Obama is in the White House, unfettered, the British have their finger on the U.S. thermonuclear arsenal. And it is aimed at Russia and China."

Hammond Comes to Town

Obama's announcement coincided with the arrival in Washington of British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. The document that Obama presented named China and Iran, but not explicitly Russia. Hammond, during remarks at the U.S. Atlantic Council, insured that Russia would not be forgotten. "We should not forget that although the threat of Soviet Communism has passed, Russia as a nation still exists," he said. "It is still an important global player, the intentions of which are not entirely clear or predictable at this stage."

Hammond met later in the day with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon where, according to a statement issued afterwards, they "discussed the new U.S. defense strategic guidance and compared notes on the UK's recent experience with its Strategic Defense and Security Review," among other things.

Who is Philip Hammond? According to his official biography, posted on the Ministry of Defence website, Hammond has no background in defense or military affairs. He was appointed to the post last October, after his predecessor Liam Fox was forced to resign because of a scandal surrounding his roommate. Hammond was appointed transportation secretary when David Cameron became prime minister, and then became a member of the Queen's Privy Council in May 2010. So, apparently, the only qualification that he has for the job he has now is that he shares some face time with Queen Elizabeth.

Hammond shares his lack of qualifications with Obama's National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, who also has no background in national security, having been a political hack and a lobbyist for most of his career, but is a pal of the President.

Targeting China

The new U.S. military strategy codifies the Asia-Pacific shift that Obama indicated on his most recent trip to Asia. "As I made clear in Australia," he said, "we will be strengthening our presence in the Asia-Pacific and budget reductions will not come at the expense of that critical region." Indeed, the document declares that, because U.S. interests are "inextricably linked" to developments in an arc extending from the western Pacific to the Indian Ocean, "we will of necessity re-balance toward the Asia-Pacific region" (emphasis in original).

The new doctrine says that "China's emergence as a regional power will have the potential to affect the U.S. economy and our security in a variety of ways." While both countries have a stake in peace and stability in East Asia,

"the growth of China's military power must be accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions in order to avoid causing friction in the region. The United States will continue to make the necessary investments to ensure that we maintain regional access and the ability to operate freely in keeping with our treaty obligations and with international law."

What this means is explained a few pages later. It has to do with "overcoming" the alleged anti-access/area-denial threat—that is, Chinese military measures designed to keep U.S. forces out of the western Pacific, especially the East China Sea. "In order to credibly deter potential adversaries and to prevent them from achieving their objectives, the United States must maintain its ability to project power in areas in which our access and freedom to operate are challenged," it says.

"States such as China and Iran will continue to pursue asymmetric means to counter our power projection capabilities, while proliferation of sophisticated weapons and technology will extend to non-state actors as well. Accordingly, the U.S. military will invest as required to ensure its ability to operate effectively in anti-access and area denial environments" (emphasis in original).

On Jan. 9, the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in the first known official Chinese response, slammed as "groundless and untrustworthy" U.S. accusations that its military policy is not transparent. "China's strategic intent is clear, open, and transparent," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said. "Our national defense modernization serves the objective requirements of national security and development and also plays an active role in maintaining regional peace and stability. It will not pose any threat to any country." Liu added that maintaining peace, stability, and prosperity in the region serves the common interests of all Asia-Pacific countries, "and we hope the U.S. will play a more constructive role to this end."

The unofficial response has been milder, but clear. "[T]he United States is welcome to make more contributions to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, but it is possible militarism will cause a lot of ill will and meet with strong opposition in the world's most dynamic region," warned Xinhua in a Jan. 6 editorial. An editorial in the Global Times advised that China's only recourse, since it has become the strategic target of the United States, is to "use its strength to gain friendship from the US from now on." This doesn't mean that China should surrender to U.S. perceptions, however. "It should strengthen its long-range strike abilities and put more deterrence on the US," advises the Times. "The US must realize that it cannot stop the rise of China and that being friendly to China is in its utmost interests."

Andrew Marshall and the Neo-Cons

This targeting of China is nothing new. It dates back to at least the late 1990s and the efforts of Andrew Marshall, the director of the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment, in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War. In the Summer of 1999, Marshall and his office sponsored a study at the Naval War College, in Newport, R.I., that postulated that China would be the focus of future strategic confrontation with the United States, whether it was strong or weak.

"A stable and powerful China will be constantly challenging the status quo in East Asia," the report said. "An unstable and relatively weak China could be dangerous because its leaders might try to bolster their power with foreign military adventurism." The report, entitled Asia 2025, puts forward a number of "plausible" scenarios which raise particular strategic and operational issues that ought to be considered by the Defense Department, in large part, because of the geography of the Pacific.

Marshall set out a proposed series of actions, most of which are now part of the Obama policy, in a May 2, 2002 memo to then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Among other things, Marshall proposed expanding the U.S. military presence in Australia; expanding use of port facilities in Singapore; increased port visits and military-to-military cooperation with India; and expanding U.S. basing infrastructure and military cooperation in the Central Asia "-stan" countries. Marshall also proposed expanding basing infrastructure at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Guam, and shifting the basing of nuclear submarines and long-range bombers to Guam, all of which are part of the Obama strategy.

Marshall also proposed directing "the services to plan for the types of military challenges a malevolent China may pose over the long term, and incorporate these into Service and Joint wargames, training and exercise programs, including routine, wide-area USN-USAF-special forces exercises." (The memo can be found on Rumsfeld's website, www.rumsfeld.com.)

At least two components of the anti-access/area-denial mission in the Obama strategy are products of Marshall's "kindergarten," that is, military officers indoctrinated in Marshall's office, who are now part of the Washington policy-making establishment. Those components include the Air-Sea Battle doctrine and the proposed development of a new stealth bomber. Both proposals came into the public domain via the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think-tank founded by Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who pulled a tour of duty in Marshall's office in the late 1980s. The CSBA produced a document in 2010 describing the operational concepts of Air-Sea Battle authored by Jan Van Tol, a retired Navy captain who is a veteran of two tours in Marshall's office.

The similarity between Rumsfeld's 2002 policies and Obama's not-so-new military strategy doesn't end there, however, as was noted in recent press coverage. It is easy to emphasize Asia, technology, and quality over quantity, Pentagon advisor and Center for Strategic and International Studies analyst Anthony Cordesman told The Hill on Jan. 5. In fact, this is what Secretary Rumsfeld did.

Winslow Wheeler, an analyst with the Center for Defense Information, added that the Obama plans for shifting the nation's defense strategy toward the Asia-Pacific region re-emphasizes the focus on the Air Force and Navy as the "transformative" military services—Rumsfeld's word, not theirs—but they seem to mean very much the same thing. Marshall was, in fact, the brains behind Rumsfeld's "transformation" policies, and Wheeler retained his position, despite the fact that those concepts were proven incompetent in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The roots of Obama's strategy go back even further, to then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney's 1992 Defense Planning Guidance, leaked portions of which were published in the New York Times on March 8 of that year. Early drafts of the document, developed by officials who would later become infamous as the neo-con "Vulcans" of the G.W. Bush Administration, declared that the main objective of U.S. military policy would be to prevent the rise of another global power that could rival the United States.

The Obama document contains no such explicit statement, but that intent is evident after a thorough read-through of it. And, like Obama's strategy, the Cheney guidance anticipated smaller defense budgets and force structure, and therefore placed greater emphasis on nuclear deterrence, missile defense, and lighter, more deployable forces. Such a British-style geopolitical military doctrine can only lead in one direction: further wars.

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