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Wolfowitz Doctrine

America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge

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Derived from Wikipedia. See also


America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge

Wolfowitz Doctrine is an unofficial name of the Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994–99 fiscal years (dated February 18, 1992) authored by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz and his deputy Scooter Libby. Not intended for public release, it was leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1992, and sparked a public controversy about US foreign and defense policy. The document was openly imperialist and outlined a policy of unilateralism and pre-emptive military actions (wars) in foreign policy. Please note that personally Wolfowitz was a typical chickenhawk.

It connected with the US elite desire to create a rule the global neoliberal empire and was symptomatic for the period of "Triumphal march of neoliberalism form 1980 till 2007, especially the decade after the collapse of the USSR (1991-2001)

They key idea is to prolog dominant position the USA acquired due to collapse of the USSR (which interpreted by neocons as the victory in the Cold War, while in reality was the result of adoption of neoliberalism by the Bolsheviks elite, a coup d'état from above), attempt to weaken and possible balkanize Russia,  loot xUUSR republics (see Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia), and suppress any threat to the current "superpower". If necessary by force. As such it is viewed by many researchers as a concise summary of the ideology of Neoconservatism and the most recently it was applied in Ukraine

Due to the outcry that the document was hastily re-written under supervision of US Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell before being officially released on April 16, 1992. Many of its postulates re-emerged in the [2] which was described by Senator Edward M. Kennedy as "a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept."[3]

Although Wolfowitz was ultimately responsible for the Defense Planning Guidance, as it was released through his office and was reflective of his overall outlook of Bush I administration. While associated with  Wolfowitz, the document was prepared by Libby, who delegated the process of writing the new strategy to Zalmay Khalizad, a member of Libby's staff and longtime aide to Wolfowitz. Khalizad solicited the opinions of a wide cross-section of Pentagon insiders and outsiders, including Andrew Marshall, Richard Perle, and Wolfowitz's University of Chicago mentor, the nuclear strategist [5]

Completing the draft in March of 1992, Khalizad requested permission from Libby to circulate it to other officials within the Pentagon. Libby assented and within three days Khalizad's draft was released to the New York Times by "an official who believed this post-cold war strategy debate should be carried out in the public domain."

The main postulates of the Wolfowitz doctrine


Superpower status

The doctrine announces the US’s status as the world’s only remaining superpower following the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War and proclaims its main objective to be retaining that statUS

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.

This was substantially re-written in the April 16 release.

Our most fundamental goal is to deter or defeat attack from whatever source... The second goal is to strengthen and extend the system of defense arrangements that binds democratic and like-minded nations together in common defense against aggression, build habits of cooperation, avoid the renationalization of security policies, and provide security at lower costs and with lower risks for all. Our preference for a collective response to preclude threats or, if necessary, to deal with them is a key feature of our regional defense strategy. The third goal is to preclude any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests, and also thereby to strengthen the barriers against the re-emergence of a global threat to the interests of the US and our allies.

US primacy

The doctrine establishes the US’s leadership role within the new world order.

The US must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.

This was substantially re-written in the April 16 release.

One of the primary tasks we face today in shaping the future is carrying long standing alliances into the new era, and turning old enmities into new cooperative relationships. If we and other leading democracies continue to build a democratic security community, a much safer world is likely to emerge. If we act separately, many other problems could result.


The doctrine downplays the value of international coalitions.

Like the coalition that opposed Iraqi aggression, 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 US will be an important stabilizing factor.

This was re-written with a change in emphasis in the April 16 release.

Certain situations like the crisis leading to the Gulf War are likely to engender ad hoc coalitions. We should plan to maximize the value of such coalitions. This may include specialized roles for our forces as well as developing cooperative practices with others.

Pre-emptive intervention

The doctrine stated the US’s right to intervene when and where it believed necessary.

While the US cannot become the world's policeman, by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will 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 was softened slightly in the April 16 release.

While the United States cannot become the world's policeman and assume responsibility for solving every international security problem, neither can we allow our critical interests to depend solely on international mechanisms that can be blocked by countries whose interests may be very different than our own. Where our allies interests are directly affected, we must expect them to take an appropriate share of the responsibility, and in some cases play the leading role; but we maintain the capabilities for addressing selectively those security problems that threaten our own interests.

Russian threat

The doctrine highlighted the possible threat posed by a resurgent Russia.

We continue to recognize that collectively the conventional forces of the states formerly comprising the Soviet Union retain the most military potential in all of Eurasia; and 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.

This was removed from the April 16 release in favour of a more diplomatic approach.

The US has a significant stake in promoting democratic consolidation and peaceful relations between Russia, Ukraine and the other republics of the former Soviet Union.

Middle East and Southwest Asia

The doctrine clarified the overall objectives in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve US and Western access to the region's oil. We also seek to deter further aggression in the region, foster regional stability, protect US nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways. As demonstrated by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, it remains fundamentally important to prevent a hegemon or alignment of powers from dominating the region. This pertains especially to the Arabian peninsula. Therefore, we must continue to play a role through enhanced deterrence and improved cooperative security.


The April 16 release was more circumspect and it reaffirmed US commitments to Israel as well as its Arab allies.

In the Middle East and Persian Gulf, we seek to foster regional stability, deter aggression against our friends and interests in the region, protect US nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways and to the region's oil. The United States is committed to the security of Israel and to maintaining the qualitative edge that is critical to Israel's security. Israel's confidence in its security and US-Israel strategic cooperation contribute to the stability of the entire region, as demonstrated once again during the Persian Gulf War. At the same time, our assistance to our Arab friends to defend themselves against aggression also strengthens security throughout the region, including for Israel.

See also


  • Tyler 1992.
  • Gaddis 2002, p. 52: "Preemption […] requires hegemony. Although Bush speaks, in his letter of transmittal, of creating 'a balance of power that favors human freedom' while forsaking 'unilateral advantage,' the body of the NSS makes it clear that 'our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States.'

    The West Point speech put it more bluntly: 'America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge.' The president has at last approved, therefore, Paul Wolfowitz's controversial recommendation to this effect, made in a 1992 'Defense Planning Guidance' draft subsequently leaked to the press and then disavowed by the first Bush administration. It's no accident that Wolfowitz, as deputy secretary of defense, has been at the center of the new Bush administration's strategic planning."
  • Caputo Leiva 2007, p. 10.
  • Mann, James (2004). Rise of the Vulcans : the history of Bush's war cabinet (1. publ. ed.). New York, NY [u.a.]: Viking. p. 209. ISBN 0-670-03299-9.
  • Mann 2004, p. 210.
    1. Mann 2004, p. 210


    Bush, George W. (1 June 2002). "Remarks to the US Military Academy". Retrieved 12 May 2013.
    Gaddis, John Lewis (2002). "Grand Strategy of Transformation". Foreign Policy (133): 50–57. JSTOR 3183557.
    Gaddis's essay is reprinted in Paul Bolt, Damon V. Coletta and Collins G. Shackleford Jr., eds., (2005), American Defense Policy (8th ed.), Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
    Caputo Leiva, Orlando (2007). "The World Economy and the United States at the Beginning of the Twenty-first Century". Latin American Perspectives 34 (1): 9–15. doi:10.1177/0094582x06296357. JSTOR 27647989.
    Tyler, Patrick E. (8 March 1992). "US Strategy Plan Calls For Insuring No Rivals Develop". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 October 2013.

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