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Uncle Sam, Globocop

by Jim Lobe

Is Iraq First Step For Bush Middle East Crusade?
(IPS) WASHINGTON -- U.S. troops appear suddenly to be in action everywhere, and on very short notice.

Perhaps it was a coincidence, but on the same week that one of the country's leading neo-conservative writers called explicitly for Washington to serve as "Globocop," the Pentagon announced it was sending 1,500 troops to the Philippines for joint operations against a small Muslim guerrilla group.

On the same day, U.S. congressmen visiting Colombia hinted that hundreds of U.S. Special Forces training soldiers in the Colombian Army might soon take a much more direct role in the civil war there as a result of last week's abduction by left-wing rebels of three Americans after their plane crashed in a rebel-held area.

Another American was killed in an apparent shootout at the crash site. The rebels said they were all CIA operatives.

Meanwhile, thousands more U.S. troops are cruising in the Mediterranean, waiting to hear whether they will be invading Iraq next month from Turkey or with the main invasion force of some 150,000 soldiers, who have already deployed in or near Kuwait.

German commanders of the international force in Kabul said that the United States might have to beef up its 7,000 troops in Afghanistan in order to cope with possible new fighting if Washington invades Iraq. Minor clashes have been occurring between coalition troops and pro-Taliban resistance forces.

Thousands more U.S. military personnel are on stand-by in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, ready to snatch any suspected Islamic terrorists in the region, while 4,000 more reservists remain in Bosnia and Kosovo to maintain NATO's rule in the Balkans.

The Pentagon has put 24 long-range bombers on alert for possible use in the nuclear standoff on the Korean peninsula, where the force of 37,000 U.S. troops stationed there for 50 years is scheduled to take part in joint maneuvers with the South Korean Army next month. The military also plans to move one aircraft carrier battle group off the U.S. West Coast to the waters off of northeast Asia so that another battle group can deploy to the Persian Gulf.

Welcome to Pax Americana.

U.S. armed forces are on the move around the world in ways that have not been seen since at least World War II, in what is a dramatic illustration of the Bush administration's National Security Strategy that was revealed last September.

"The United States must and will maintain the capability to defeat any attempt by any enemy -- whether a state or non-state actor -- to impose its will on the United States, our allies, or our friends," that document stated, in what has since been called the "Bush Doctrine."

But as pointed out by Max Boot, a prominent neo-conservative writer based at the Council on Foreign Relations, it is really the globalization of the Monroe Doctrine, or, more precisely, the Roosevelt Corollary issued by Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. It came two years after the end of the Spanish-American War and the bloody defeat of the Filipino insurgency that opposed U.S. colonialization and one year after Washington's sponsorship of Panamanian secession from Colombia, which permitted construction of the Panama Canal.

The 1823 Monroe Doctrine was designed to assert Washington's exclusive influence over the Americas. Unenforceable due to U.S. military weakness until the Spanish-American War in 1898, the Doctrine warned European powers in particular that any intervention in the hemisphere's affairs would be presumed to threaten "our peace and happiness."

Based on the Doctrine, Roosevelt's Corollary asserted the additional right of the United States to intervene against not only against European intervention, but against anything in the Americas that Washington deemed a threat.

"Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power," Roosevelt declared regally.

As pointed out by Boot, who is very close to the neo-conservatives such as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz who surround Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, TR's doctrine is now being applied on a much grander scale.

"Today, America exercises almost as much power everywhere around the world as it once had only in the Caribbean," he wrote this week in a 'Financial Times' column, entitled 'America's Destiny is to Police the World'. "Thus, by Roosevelt's logic, the U.S. is obliged to stop 'chronic wrongdoing', for the simple reason that nobody else will do the job."

Such a view appears perfectly consistent not only with what U.S. forces are doing today, but also with the Pentagon's plans, which amount to a major geo-strategic shift in the way that U.S. forces are deployed around the world.

Much like the Marines, who used bases in Puerto Rico, Cuba and Panama as launching pads for their frequent invasions and occupations of Central American nations in the last century, so the Pentagon wants to scale down its huge European army bases in favor of smaller "hubs" on land and even at sea. Pre-positioned close to likely hotspots, particularly in East and Central Asia and the Gulf, they would feature fast deployment of troops using lighter, but much deadlier, weapons.

Such a configuration, it is believed, would not only save money by greatly reducing the number of big, expensive army bases abroad and even at home, but would also extend Washington's military reach to just about every strategic point in the world, to the equivalent of its military reach in the Caribbean a century ago.

All of these military moves have a clear economic component. Most of the so-called hotspots are rich in natural resources like oil and other goodies coveted by U.S. corporations.

Earlier this month, a group of hawks called on the White House to immediately boost the defense budget, now almost $400 billion annually, by at least $100 billion in order to finance the Bush Doctrine.

The transformation to this strategy is ever more urgent, according to its proponents, who note that the country's military infrastructure -- particularly its manpower of only 1.4 million soldiers, sailors, and fliers -- is already straining under existing demands.

With administration officials ruling out a return to the military draft, many military analysts believe the United States simply lacks the numbers that will be needed to transform the entire world into the equivalent of the Caribbean Basin.

That may be why a prominent analyst at the right-wing Hoover Institution, Peter Schweizer, proposed creating an "American Foreign Legion".

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Albion Monitor February 25, 2003 (

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