Those Who Forget History, You Know the Thing
The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) was a neoconservative think tank that operated from 1997 to 2006. It was formed by a group of hegemonic, influential politicians, policymakers, and intellectuals who sought to promote American global dominance through military strength and interventionist policies. However, PNAC’s ideological underpinnings have been heavily criticized by various political and social activists, particularly those on the left-peace end of the spectrum.
In this blog post, I will analyze PNAC from a left-peace position and examine its major flaws and contradictions. By understanding the ideological orientation of PNAC, it is possible to challenge its influence on American foreign policy and promote alternative strategies for a more peaceful and just world.
Neoconservative Ideology and PNAC
PNAC’s main ideological orientation was neoconservatism, which prioritizes American nationalism, militarism, and interventionism as necessary to maintain American exceptionalism. This ideology believes that American interests must be forcefully promoted and defended throughout the world, even if that means using military force to do so. PNAC’s beliefs about American global dominance echoes that of former President George W. Bush, who declared that US foreign policy should operate with a “unipolar” goal that seeks to keep America the sole superpower in the world.
As left-peace activists, we fundamentally reject the ideological framework of neoconservatism promoted by PNAC. We believe that nationalism, militarism, and interventionism only heighten global tensions and create more conflict. This is because these frameworks prioritize the interests of a single country over global cooperation and human rights. Instead, PNAC’s strategy promotes conflict and military aggression that could lead to long-term consequences such as massive loss of life, displacement, and destruction of infrastructure.
The Role of PNAC in Aiding the US-led War on Terror
PNAC played a crucial role in promoting the US-led War OF Terror, which began in 2001 as the response to the 9/11 “terrorist” attacks on US soil. Even though the official narrative on 9/11 has many holes and has left more questions than answers, PNAC’s members believed that the War OF Terror was an opportunity for America to not only remove terrorist threats but also build a stable US-dominated world order. Specifically, PNAC called for the removal of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the establishment of a pro-American government in Iraq that would serve as a stepping stone for American influence across the Middle East: Then Syria, Iran, Libya…
This approach to foreign intervention creates long-term instability and perpetuates conflicts. PNAC vigorously called for a “Pax Americana” but, the War of Terror has led to disastrous consequences, including the displacement of millions of people, the death of innocent civilians, and the growth of more extremist groups. PNAC’s policies lead to never-ending conflicts, instead of creating a peaceful, stable world.
Critique of PNAC’s Economic Policies
PNAC’s foreign policy approach was not the only concern. The think tank also advocated for a neo-liberal economic policy that prioritizes big business and market-driven policies over social protections. The group believed that the privatization of public resources and deregulation was necessary to promote American economic growth. As left-peace critics, we see this policy stance as hostile to global efforts to reduce poverty and inequality. We believe that neo-liberalism encourages corporations to evade social responsibility and engage in practices that harm marginalized communities by using the US military as its own global “constabulary.”
Even though PNAC has ostensibly ended, its goals and ideology carry on. For example, Victoria Nuland, who has held many positions through various administrations, was one of the individuals responsible for the now-debacle in Ukraine, in 2014, when she, Sloppy Joe Biden, etc, promoted the Maidan coup and regime change in Kiev. No informed person would ever consider her a “peacenick,” in fact, she is a warhawk who is married to one of the founders of PNAC: mega-neocon Robert Kagan.
PNAC’s policies were dangerous and counterproductive. Instead of promoting a safe, secure world based on mutual cooperation and respect for human rights, they led to increased instability and conflict. By analyzing and challenging the ideological orientation of PNAC, we can hope to influence American policymakers to focus on building a peaceful world. We can also advocate for policy approaches that prioritize social justice, equality, and human rights over the narrow interests of the United States. It is time for the US to adopt a new foreign policy framework with a left-peace approach, and time for true “peace” people to oppose all US military interventionism INCLUDING UKRAINE.
Robert Kennedy Jr and his insistence on being a confirmed Zionist-apologist for the apartheid state of Israel, recalled for me that many, if not all, of the signers of PNAC were super-Zionists and were promoters of a “Greater Israel” that called for more aggressive moves against Palestinian areas like the West Bank and Gaza, which have occurred apace, especially since 9/11 (the “New Pearl Harbor” that PNAC dreamed of).
In my humble opinion, as long as the USA continues to put Israeli interests at the forefront of foreign policy, and if we as left-peace activists don’t support ALL occupied and oppressed people, including Palestinians, world peace will remain a pipe-dream.
I first met Daniel Ellsberg when he and I flew from Oakland to L.A. together in 2005 to receive awards for our peace efforts. On that trip, he was heavily criticizing Netanyahu and Israel, and I jokingly asked him if he were a “self-loathing Jew.” Right away, he quipped back, “No, I am a Likkud-loathing Jew.”
Dan came to Camp Casey at Easter Time in 2006 and got to know my surviving children who were there, as well. As a student of US History, he awed me by his courage, but also he was very human, funny, lovable, and relatable.
I send my love to his family and acknowledge that a giant has transitioned to infinite peace.
This is a recounting of an adventure he and I, and others, had at Vandenberg AFB protesting the test launch of nuclear-capable missiles in 2012:
Cindy Lee Sheehan is an American anti-war activist, whose son, U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed by enemy action during the Iraq War. She attracted national and international media attention in August 2005 for her extended antiwar protest at a makeshift camp outside President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch—a stand that drew both passionate support and criticism. Sheehan ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2008. She was a vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Her memoir, Peace Mom: A Mother’s Journey Through Heartache to Activism, was published in 2006. In an interview with The Daily Beast in 2017, Sheehan continued to hold her critical views towards George W. Bush, while also criticizing the militarism of Donald Trump.
Ms.Sheehan was the 2012 vice-presidential nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party, and received 1.2% of the statewide vote in the 2014 California gubernatorial election.
The author graciously has granted this website permission to reprint selected essays.
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