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From Hegemony to of Full Spectrum Dominance: War as Insurance
Unformatted Document Text:  12 military and CIA interventions ‘reactive’ or ‘preventive’ makes little conceptual difference. The fact is elite policy-makers in the US have consistently mobilized its security apparatus to promote its ‘single sustainable model for national success’ wherever possible and despite significant resistance to its imposition – an enterprise perhaps best catalogued by William Blum’s Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II whose contents I see no need to rehearse here. Yet such aims were not only instantiated by CIA and US military interventions alone – the debt crisis, the American educational apparatus, its control over institutions of global governance, and its cultural influence have also led to a string of transformations leading towards its ‘single sustainable model for national success.’ This should already give us pause that there is something entirely new in the Bush Administration’s grand strategy. It should also lead us to question how far and in what ways the strategies of containment and deterrence influenced the ambitions of earlier foreign policy-makers. In retrospect, one could plausibly argue that containment and deterrence were immediately outdated at their very inception since a globalizing capitalism required the promotion of liberalism through engagement and transformation – and increasingly, due to public pressure, at least some semblance of polyarchical democracy as a complement. True, the American security apparatus continued to operate on the realist premises of containment and deterrence – developing so many war games, blowing up the world a thousand times in simulations, and figuring out the best way to contain the communist or nationalist leper that threatened to infect the lot. But this obscures the fact that containment and deterrence represented only one set of strategic tactics operationalzied to insure ‘the single sustainable model of national success’ against a so-called Soviet sphere of influence. When this sphere of influence disintegrated, the sphere of liberal influence expanded further. It brought out, in bolder and bolder reliefs, the prospects of an ‘end to history’ – the triumph of liberalism as a singular model, a singular way or organizing human life, a blueprint for world order that has long been incubating in the minds of American foreign policy-makers – and one that could be underwritten by American military preeminence. But according to influential strategists who now staff the Pentagon and other offices of the US government, fulfilling American manifest destiny through military supremacy required ‘some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.’ 29 September 11 th , 2001 was such an occasion, an event widely interpreted within the Bush Administration not only as a tragedy but also, and perhaps more importantly, as an opportunity to shape world order to suit America’s own interests for the twenty-first century. The drive to reconfigure world order to promote America’s ‘interests and values’, albeit cloaked as a Global War on Terror, was inspired by at least two complementary discourses I would like to outline: 1) the discourse of militant liberalism, and 2) the discourse of manifest destiny. Unlike the discourse of disciplinary neoliberalism most closely associated with institutions of global economic governance (ie: World Bank, IMF, BIS etc…) and neoliberal economists, the discourse of militant liberalism is most closely associated with neoconservative strategists who: …envision a world in which the United States is the unchallenged superpower, immune to threats. They believe that the US has a responsibility to act as a "benevolent global hegemon." In this capacity, the US would maintain an empire of sorts by helping to create democratic, economically liberal governments in place of "failed states" or oppressive regimes they deem threatening to the US or its interests… Any regime that is 29 Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for the New Century. A Report of The Project for the New American Century. September 2000, p. 51.

Authors: Di Muzio, Tim.
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12
military and CIA interventions ‘reactive’ or ‘preventive’ makes little conceptual difference. The
fact is elite policy-makers in the US have consistently mobilized its security apparatus to promote
its ‘single sustainable model for national success’ wherever possible and despite significant
resistance to its imposition – an enterprise perhaps best catalogued by William Blum’s Killing
Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II
whose contents I see no need to
rehearse here. Yet such aims were not only instantiated by CIA and US military interventions
alone – the debt crisis, the American educational apparatus, its control over institutions of global
governance, and its cultural influence have also led to a string of transformations leading towards
its ‘single sustainable model for national success.’

This should already give us pause that there is something entirely new in the Bush
Administration’s grand strategy. It should also lead us to question how far and in what ways the
strategies of containment and deterrence influenced the ambitions of earlier foreign policy-
makers. In retrospect, one could plausibly argue that containment and deterrence were
immediately outdated at their very inception since a globalizing capitalism required the
promotion of liberalism through engagement and transformation – and increasingly, due to public
pressure, at least some semblance of polyarchical democracy as a complement. True, the
American security apparatus continued to operate on the realist premises of containment and
deterrence – developing so many war games, blowing up the world a thousand times in
simulations, and figuring out the best way to contain the communist or nationalist leper that
threatened to infect the lot. But this obscures the fact that containment and deterrence represented
only one set of strategic tactics operationalzied to insure ‘the single sustainable model of national
success’ against a so-called Soviet sphere of influence. When this sphere of influence
disintegrated, the sphere of liberal influence expanded further. It brought out, in bolder and
bolder reliefs, the prospects of an ‘end to history’ – the triumph of liberalism as a singular model,
a singular way or organizing human life, a blueprint for world order that has long been incubating
in the minds of American foreign policy-makers – and one that could be underwritten by
American military preeminence.
But according to influential strategists who now staff the Pentagon and other offices of the US
government, fulfilling American manifest destiny through military supremacy required ‘some
catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.’
29
September 11
th
, 2001 was such an
occasion, an event widely interpreted within the Bush Administration not only as a tragedy but
also, and perhaps more importantly, as an opportunity to shape world order to suit America’s own
interests for the twenty-first century. The drive to reconfigure world order to promote America’s
‘interests and values’, albeit cloaked as a Global War on Terror, was inspired by at least two
complementary discourses I would like to outline: 1) the discourse of militant liberalism, and 2)
the discourse of manifest destiny.
Unlike the discourse of disciplinary neoliberalism most closely associated with institutions of
global economic governance (ie: World Bank, IMF, BIS etc…) and neoliberal economists, the
discourse of militant liberalism is most closely associated with neoconservative strategists who:
…envision a world in which the United States is the unchallenged superpower, immune
to threats. They believe that the US has a responsibility to act as a "benevolent global
hegemon." In this capacity, the US would maintain an empire of sorts by helping to
create democratic, economically liberal governments in place of "failed states" or
oppressive regimes they deem threatening to the US or its interests… Any regime that is
29
Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for the New Century. A Report of The
Project for the New American Century. September 2000, p. 51.


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