Moving Swiftly to Become 'GloboCop'
By Jim Lobe
Inter Press Service
17 June, 2003
Much like its successful
military campaign in Iraq, the Pentagon is moving at seemingly breakneck
speed to re-deploy U.S. forces and equipment around the world in ways
that will permit Washington to play ''GloboCop'', according to a number
of statements by top officials and defence planners.
While preparing sharp reductions
in forces in Germany, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, military planners are
talking about establishing semi-permanent or permanent bases along a
giant swathe of global territory -- increasingly referred to as ''the
arc of instability'' -- from the Caribbean Basin through Africa to South
and Central Asiaa and across to North Korea.
The latest details, disclosed
by the 'Wall Street Journal' on Tuesday, include plans to increase U.S.
forces in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa across the Red Sea from Yemen,
set up semi-permanent ''forward bases'' in Algeria, Morocco and possibly
Tunisia, and establish smaller facilities in Senegal, Ghana and Mali
that could be used to intervene in oil-rich West African countries,
Similar bases -- or what
some call ''lily pads'' -- are now being sought or expanded in northern
Australia, Thailand (whose prime minister TThaksin Shinawatra has found
this to figure high on the bilateral agenda in talks here this week),
Singapore, the Philippines, Kenya, Georgia, Azerbaijan, throughout Central
Asia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Qatar, Vietnam and Iraq.
''We are in the process of
taking a fundamental look at our military posture worldwide, including
in the United States,'' said Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
on a recent visit to Singapore, where he met with military chiefs and
defence ministers from throughout East Asia about U.S. plans there.
''We're facing a very different threat than any one we've faced historically.''
Those plans represent a major
triumph for Wolfowitz, who 12 years ago argued in a controversial draft
'Defence Planning Guidance' (DPG) for realigning U.S. forces globally
so as to ''retain pre-eminent responsibility for addressing selectively
those wrongs which threaten not only our own interests, but those of
our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international
The same draft, which was
largely repudiated by the first Bush administration after it was leaked
to the 'New York Times', also argued for ''a unilateral U.S. defence
guarantee'' to Eastern Europe ''preferably in co-operation with other
NATO states'', and the use of pre-emptive force against nations with
weapons of mass destruction -- both of which are now codified as U.S.
The draft DPG also argued
that U.S. military intervention should become a ''constant fixture''
of the new world order. It is precisely that capability towards which
the Pentagon's force realignments appear to be directed.
With forward bases located
all along the ''arc of instability'', Washington can pre-position equipment
and at least some military personnel that would permit it to intervene
with overwhelming force within hours of the outbreak of any crisis.
In that respect, U.S. global
strategy would not be dissimilar to Washington's position vis-à-vis
the Caribbean Basin in the early 20th century, when U.S. intervention
from bases stretching from Puerto Rico to Panama became a ''constant
feature'' of the region until Franklin Roosevelt initiated his Good
Neighbour Policy 30 years later.
Indeed, as pointed out by
Max Boot, a neo-conservative writer at the Council on Foreign Relations,
Wolfowitz's 1992 draft, now mostly codified in the September 2002 National
Security Strategy of the USA, is not all that different from the 1903
(Theodore) Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, which asserted
Washington's ''international police power'' to intervene against ''chronic
wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of
the ties of civilised society''.
Remarkably, the new and proposed
deployments are being justified by similar rhetoric. Just substitute
''globalisation'' for ''civilisation''.
The emerging Pentagon doctrine,
founded mainly on the work of retired Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, chief
of the Pentagon's Office of Force Transformation, and Thomas Barnett
of the Naval War College, argues that the dangers against which U.S.
forces must be arrayed derive precisely from countries and region that
are ''disconnected'' from the prevailing trends of economic globalisation.
''Disconnectedness is one
of the great danger signs around the world,'' Cebrowski told a Heritage
Foundation audience last month in an update of the ''general loosening
of the ties of civilised society'' formula of a century ago.
Barnett's term for areas
of greatest threat is ''the Gap'', places where ''globalisation is thinning
or just plain absent''. Such regions are typically ''plagued by politically
repressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder,
and -- most important -- the chronic conflicts that incubate the next
generation of terrorists''.
''If we map out U.S. military
responses since the end of the Cold War, we find an overwhelming concentration
of activity in the regions of the world that are excluded from globalisation's
growing Core -- namely the Caribbean Rim, virtually all of Africa, the
Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and Southwest AAsia,
and much of Southeast Asia,'' Barnett wrote in 'Esquire' magazine earlier
The challenge in fighting
terrorist networks is both to ''get them where they live'' in the arc
of instability and prevent them from spreading their influence into
what Barnett calls ''seam states'' located between the Gap and the Core.
Such seam states, he says,
include Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Greece, Turkey,
Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. Those nations,
the logic goes, should play critical roles, presumably including providing
forward bases, for interventions into the Gap.
At the same time, if states
''loosen their ties'' to the global economy, ''bloodshed will follow.
If you are lucky'', according to Barnett, ''so will American troops''.
On the eve of the war in
Iraq, Barnett predicted that taking Baghdad would not be about settling
old scores or enforcing disarmament of illegal weapons. Rather, he wrote,
it ''will mark a historic tipping point -- the moment when Washington
takes real ownership of strategic security in the age of globalisation''.
Observers will note that
Barnett's arc of instability corresponds well to regions of great oil,
gas and mineral wealth, a reminder again of Wolfowitz's 1992 draft study.
It asserted that the key objective of U.S. strategy should be ''to prevent
any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under
consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power''.