The official reasons why the USA should go to war in Iraq have always featured a certain omission. The uncoordinated accusations by no means explain the severity of the sentence. Let's say that Baghdad destroys five Al-Samud-2 rockets on average a day. From the point of view of the UN inspectors working in the country, this zeal is gratifying, but Washington calls it the "latest trap." Why?
Iraq's links with al-Qaeda remain unproven. Nevertheless, the USA continues to claim that the Iraqi regime, which cannot lift a finger without the UN inspectors or US spy planes knowing about it, presents a lethal terrorist threat, justifying war, the loss of tens of thousands of lives, environmental disaster, a wave of terrorism and chaos in the Arab world.
Who in their right mind would believe this? And who would also believe that sensible people in the US administration believe it? The justification for the war against Iraq clearly lacks some kind of a secret, main argument.
Serious analysts see this argument in the form of Iraqi oil, defending Israeli interests, the opportunity to test new weapons on the battlefield or America's desire to rejuvenate its flagging economy through military orders.
These are not empty words. However, to concentrate on just these details would be myopic. We would not see the most important aspect, because the main point is so massive that is well beyond the bounds of traditional thinking as practised by the international community.
The heart of the matter is the following. If the war against Iraq is launched, then this will mean that the United States will turn into the centre of a global empire, where Washington will decide the fates of governments, divide up the riches of foreign economies and impose democracy in its own, American sense of the word.
This is by no means improvisation, as some observers might think. The war will be the embodiment of a concept of US world domination worked out over ten years by the very same ambitious and energetic people who now occupy key posts in George Bush's administration.
It is necessary to backtrack to 1997 to understand everything properly. A group of neo-conservatives then founded the New American century project dedicated to philosophical thinking about the USA's future role in global politics.
In September 2000, when George Bush was running for presidency, the New American Century prepared a report called Rebuilding America's Defenses. The document's main idea, to quote the authors, was to "exercise American leadership around the globe." In post Soviet Union era, the sole superpower of the United States sought to take on the role of a new empire stretching from the Khan Horde to Rome.
Pax Americana would really mean Power Americana, or a world subjugated to American might.
The Rebuilding America's Defenses report became a kind of geopolitical Bible for George Bush. His administration has done much of what it proposed. For example, the brains behind the report suggested tearing up the 1972 ABM Treaty and throwing it into the rubbish bin, while taking up plans to deploy an anti-missile shield in space. This has been done.
The report recommended that military spending be increased from 3% of GDP to 3.8% to facilitate the creation of an infrastructure for the American order. In 2003, the Bush administration has demanded that Congress confirm an allotment of 379 billion dollars to the military's budget. This is the same 3.8% of GDP right down to the dollar.
The administration's punctuality in following the recommendations of the New American century is not surprising if we recall the top posts the project's ideologues are now occupying.
Paul Wolfowitz is now Deputy Defense Secretary. John Bolton is Undersecretary of State. Stephen A. Cambone is the Director of Program Analysis and Evaluation, while Eliot Cohen and Devon Cross sit on the Council of Defense Policy under Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. Lewis Libby heads Vice-President Dick Cheney's administration.
Accordingly, the entire host of the presidential entourage has come from the same corridor of the extremely conservative highly interventionist (in its philosophy) New American Century that envisages the advent of an epoch of America's unanswerable will in international affairs.
If we understand this, then the enigma will cease to exist. For example, why is the American administration so thoroughly discussing its plans for a military attack against Iraq, but, apparently, is completely ignoring the no less crucial problem of its withdrawal from the country?
The answer lies in the fact that the USA has no intention of leaving. After the Iraqi occupation, permanent military bases will be established there. They will be the outposts of the "democratisation" of the Middle East, starting with Syria and Iran and then sweeping the entire Arab and Islamic world.
"Democratisation" is an extremely important element in the neo-conservative thinking of the ideologues behind the New American Century. If this aspect did not exist, then everyone in Washington from George Bush himself to Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith would not be speaking with such passion. The latter recently told the New Yorker magazine that the "democratisation" of the Arab and Islamic worlds would lead to the threat of terrorism lessening.
Feith and his like-minded colleagues are tragically mistaken. The Arab and Islamic world would rebuff any forced introduction of the US model that can hardly co-exist with centuries of tradition. Islamic radicals would come to power and a wave of international terrorism would sweep the globe. The countries bordering on Iraq would constantly be on a war or semi-war footing.
The new American century, if it really does begin, does not promise anything good. And that goes for the United States too.