“Smart Power”: How Bush and Obama Have Used 9/11



In the name of 9/11, presidents Bush and Obama co-opted Americans as well as the very people they conquered around the world, through the same bipartisan “grand strategy” guided by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and other special interests: called “smart power.” The bipartisan welfare-warfare state is nothing new, whether  “progressives” or “neoconservatives” are running the presiding political party in the White House, but the Bush and Obama administrations came to a conspicuous consensus on using 9/11 as the pretext for the “smart power” of getting people to believe that the initiation of violence — militarily, economically, or in whatever form — makes the world better.

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 The Military “Hard Power” Emphasis
of the Bush Administration

Americans are asking:  How will we fight and win this war?
We will direct every resource at our command –every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war –to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.

-George W. Bush, Presidential Address, September 20, 2001

Government has one tool, and that’s violence.
It has one method of operation, and that’s aggression.
It has one strategy, and that’s escalation.

-William N. Grigg, 2015

9/11 and Bush’s global “War on Terror”

Soon after September 11, Bush spoke the global “War on Terror” into being, and then in an October 11th interview vaunted the $300M of “foreign aid” being sent for “nation-building” Afghanistan into the image dictated by those in the White House: what Bush said he’d rather call “stabilization.” The U.S. military invaded Afghanistan, and overthrew the Taliban regime. In late ’01, the U.N.-charade called the Bonn Agreement established the new puppet-government for Afghanistan, the Afghanistan Interim Authority, and Hamid Karzai would be its puppet-dictator.

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In theory, “Reconstruction” was the process of re-integrating the rebellious states into the One Holy Eternal Union. In practice, it was a reign of terror and plunder swaddled in the rhetoric of righteousness and carried out through the apparatus of military dictatorship. 

William N. Grigg, “Civil Rights” and Total War, Pro Libertate, May 26, 2010.

The U.S., U.N. and special interests went out to co-opt (“win hearts and minds”) Afghans, so they’d believe they were being saved through “foreign aid” and that they themselves were the ones taking control of the “reconstruction” and “stabilization” of the same Afghanistan being destroyed by the U.S., U.N., and special interests. These were the National Security Council’s “complex operations,” carried out through tactical “civil-military teams” (e.g. CHLCs, PRTs), paid for by the “foreign aid” and the War on Terror slush fund (OCO) of the International Affairs Budget. The Bush administration was relying upon torture for “intelligence,” and militarization for civilian government (especially police)– in foreign lands and here in the U.S. (On the history of how new government powers and tactics used in war are brought back and used on Americans., see William N. Grigg, Liberty in Eclipse: The War on Terror and the Rise of the Homeland Security State, 2007; and Ron Paul, A Foreign Policy of Freedom, 2007; Revolution: A Manifesto, 2008; Liberty Defined, 2012; and Swords into Plowshares, 2015.)

What if Bush had expressed the views of all his neoconservative advisers and told the American people the truth about the plan laid out in the Project for the New American Century, years before 9/11, to go to war to remake the entire Middle East?…September 11, 2001 turned out to be that “Pearl Harbor event” the neoconservatives were hoping for…

Ron Paul, Swords into Plowshares, 2015, p. 89.

This was true, even if Bush’s post-9/11 manifestation of this was called a “partnership” (i.e. Middle East Partnership Initiative). The Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army — co-sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Net Assessments — established the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Security Series in 2002, themed “Anticipating Challenges, Seizing Opportunities, Building Capabilities.” According to the website, it is a “full year of programs and activities that engage and involve all facets of the national security community. The media, corporate and economic policy representatives, academia and think tanks, all departments of the U.S. government, nongovernmental and international organizations, the diplomatic community, members of Congress and their staffs, foreign officials and specialists are all invited and have the opportunity to contribute.” 

The Bush administration fixed its “intelligence” of Saddam Hussein’s alleged possession of WMDs to fit the prior policy of “regime-change” in Iraq, which it then carried out in the “pre-emptive”/”preventive” overthrow of Hussein in March of 2003, starting another U.S. war in Iraq. The Coalition Provisional Authority imposed the new puppet-government for Iraq, the Iraqi Interim Government, and Iyad Allawi would be its puppet-dictator. The Federal Reserve would then artificially stimulate the “reconstruction” of Iraq via the Development Fund for Iraq, as it blew the U.S. housing bubble.

Joseph S. Nye — the North American chairman of the Trilateral Commission who’s worked in the Departments of State and Defense officially for Democratic presidents since Carter and unofficially for Republican presidents in between — confirmed the lone superpower status of the U.S. after the Cold War, and coined the term “soft power” as the indirect way of enhancing the “hard power” of “American military power” (e.g. “war,” “alliance” and “coercive diplomacy”) and “American economic power” (e.g. “sanctions,” “bribes” and “aid”). This third dimension of power, to Nye, is for “transnational” geopolitical issues. (See Joseph Nye, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, April, 2005; Joel Whitney’s interview with Joseph Nye, “How Soft is Smart,” Guernica, October 8, 2008.)

Soft co-optive power is just as important as hard command power. If a state can make its power seem legitimate in the eyes of others, it will encounter less resistance to its wishes. If its culture and ideology are attractive, others will more willingly follow. If it can establish international norms consistent with its society, it is less likely to have to change. If it can support institutions that make other states wish to channel or limit their activities in ways the dominant state prefers, it may be spared the costly exercise of coercive or hard power.

Joseph S. Nye, Soft Power,” Foreign Policy, No. 80, Twentieth Anniversary (Autumn 1990), 153-171.

According to Nye, “official instruments of soft power” include “public diplomacy, broadcasting, exchange programs, development assistance, disaster relief, even military-to-military contacts” and “nonofficial generators of soft power” include “everything from Hollywood to Harvard to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.” Leadership in the White House, Nye says, is about carrying out “grand strategy” that combines “hard power” and “soft power”: what he calls “smart power.” The theme for the 2003 National Security Series was “National Security for the 21st Century-National Power in an Unpredictable World,” and Joseph Nye gave the opening address at the follow-up conference in September, titled “The Changing Role of National Power.” (See Joseph Nye, “Transformational Leadership and U.S. Grand Strategy,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2006; “Progressive Realism,” Harvard Magazine, August 25, 2006.)

“Smart power” is a term I developed in 2003 to counter the misperception that soft power alone can produce effective foreign policy. Power is one’s ability to affect the behavior of others to get what one wants. There are three basic ways to do this: coercion, payment, and attraction. Hard power is the use of coercion and payment. Soft power is the ability to obtain preferred outcomes through attraction. If a state can set the agenda for others or shape their preferences, it can save a lot on carrots and sticks. But rarely can it totally replace either. Thus the need for smart strategies that combine the tools of both hard and soft power.

Joseph Nye, “Get Smart: Combining Hard and Soft Power,” Foreign Affairs, 2009.

…“soft power” imperialism, the supposedly benign variety that focuses more on hectoring foreigners about their shortcomings, rather than unceremoniously bombing them into blood pudding. Oh, sure – even “soft power” imperialism involves the threat and occasional practice of bombing, but usually only amid cries of anguished reluctance following the performance of the proper multilateralist sacraments. (For useful examples, consult the Clinton-era bombing campaigns in the former Yugoslavia.)

William N. Grigg, “Rubicon in the Rear-View, Part III: En Route to Military Rule,” Pro Libertate, December 24, 2008.


The 9/11 Commission Report and “Transnational” Tricks

The bipartisan 9/11 Commission released the  9/11 Commission Report in 2004, which blamed the events of 9/11 not on decades of U.S. intervention in the Middle East, but on the “stove-piped” bureaucracy that hindered “intelligence” before and on 9/11. Big things needed to be done, so the authors wrote, to give the White House the means of making a shortcut for the bureaucracy that it would continue to simultaneously depend upon, like the establishment of the National Security Council system after WWII for the Cold War.

The report featured the government narrative of the post-9/11 world, particularly chapter 12 “What to Do? A Global Strategy” and chapter 13 “How to Do It? A Different Way of Organizing the Government.” The authors defined “terrorism” as part of a broader “transnational” enemy, and called for an overall strategy using “all elements of national power” in order to achieve “unity of effort”: the prescribed result of the combined actions of the military plus the civilians of the executive branch, along with key legislators, allies, and special interests.Particularly, the commission emphasized the role of civilians and the stories they tell, for “a moderate consensus can be found,” and asserted that “[a] ‘smart’ government” would “see the enemy as a whole” and “inform and shape strategies to collect more intelligence.” The report stressed that the role of civilians in conducting “counterterrorism”– via the new militarized “strategic operational planning” of “intelligence operations for the whole government on major problems”– be embodied in the establishment of two new White House entities: the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and National Intelligence Director.

In addition to Lincoln co-opting the slavery issue to pursue a “Civil” War, Murray Rothbard points out in his “Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy,” something from the Spanish-American War that would continually reemerge: “the harbinger of U.S. foreign policy ever since: to try to maneuver in Third World countries to sponsor “third force” or “moderate” interests which do not really exist.”

“Grand Strategy” via the “Whole of Government Planning” of “Complex Operations”

Barack Obama’s future vice president, Democratic Senator Joe Biden, co-sponsored the bipartisan Stabilization and Reconstruction Civilian Management Act of 2004 with Republican Senator Richard Lugar, seeking to create a civilian counterpart to the military to make the War on Terror appear peaceful: what would become the Civilian Response Corps (CRC). Secretary Colin Powell announced the creation of the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization in August 2004, and President Bush appointed a “nation-building” czar (its first Coordinator, Carlos Pascual) to lead the U.S. Government in the “whole of government planning” of the “reconstruction and stabilization” of “failed” and “failing” governments around the world via the CRC. The first officially deployed members of the CRC were going in to supposedly save Darfur (in Sudan, Africa) from what the Bush administration alleged was “genocide,” scoring “soft power” political points on top of the ongoing U.S. “reconstruction” of Sudan. Bush’s NDAA for 2006 authorized the Pentagon to begin sending the $100 million “1207 Program” to the CRC to carry out these and other “complex operations” of “irregular warfare.” The “Fact Sheet” for the Transformational Diplomacy initiative to launch the “1207 Program” highlighted some of the roles that the new “nation-building” office would take on: “CRS will work to develop a civilian reserve corps in which police officers, judges, electricians and engineers, bankers and economists will be available as needed in post conflict situations.”

Carlos Pascual then went to join Joseph Nye on the Guiding Coalition of the public-private Project on National Security Reform of the Bush and Obama administrations: which defined and designed the forms that “hard power” and “soft power” would take via the “whole of government planning” of “complex operations” by the National Security Council. As the Federal Reserve backed the puppet-government of Iraq, the Pentagon established the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations to prime Iraq and later Afghanistan for J.P. Morgan and other war-enabled special interests.

The current struggle against extremist jihadist violence is not a clash of civilizations, but a civil war within Islam. We cannot win unless the Muslim moderates win. While we need hard power to battle the extremists, we need the soft power of attraction to win the hearts and minds of the majority of Muslims.

Joseph Nye, Jr. “Smart Power: In Search of the Balance between Hard and Soft Power (Book Review of Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security By Kurt M. Campbell and Michael E. O’Hanlon).” Democracy: A Journal of Ideas no. 2 (Fall 2006).

The White House’s new Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning would  portray “the enemy as a whole” like the 9/11 Commission had recommended, in its creation of the National Implementation Plan-War on Terror, shifting strategy, “back from military dominance, better balancing the military ‘whack’ with diplomacy and the ‘hearts and minds’ campaigns that are now seen as critical to long-term victory.

The Iraq “Surge,” the Civilian Response Corps, and the “Unified Action” Experiment

On January 10, 2007, Bush announced the “surge” of 20,000 additional troops to Iraq, and that U.S. strategy “goes beyond military operations” and would “strengthen moderates.” John Herbst later testified in October, outlining the Joint Forces Command’s multinational experiment named “Unified Action,” regarding the implementation of Bush’s “nation-building” directive (NSPD-44) via the new Interagency Management System (IMS), carried out by the new Civilian Response Corps working next to the troops. In fiscal years 2006 and 2007, CRC personnel were deployed not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also: Darfur, Chad, Haiti, Liberia, AFRICOM, Lebanon, and Kosovo.

It is time to turn the page. It is time to write a new chapter in our response to 9/11.
To succeed, we must improve our civilian capacity. The finest military in the world is adapting to the challenges of the 21st century. But it cannot counter insurgent and terrorist threats without civilian counterparts who can carry out economic and political reconstruction missions – sometimes in dangerous places. As President, I will strengthen these civilian capacities, recruiting our best and brightest to take on this challenge. I will increase both the numbers and capabilities of our diplomats, development experts, and other civilians who can work alongside our military. We can’t just say there is no military solution to these problems. We need to integrate all aspects of American might.

Barack Obama, speech,Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, August 1, 2007.

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A Conspicuous Consensus

Nye and Richard Armitage presented an official testimony, titled “Smart Power and the U.S. Strategy for Security in a Post-9/11 World,” on November 7, 2007,  and again on April 24, 2008, with a statement titled, “Implementing Smart Power: Setting an Agenda for National Security Reform.”

The crisis of September 11, 2001, created an opportunity for George W. Bush to express a bold vision….

Success in the struggle against terrorism means finding a new central premise for American foreign policy to replace the current theme of a “war on terror.” A commitment to providing for the global good can provide that premise.

Joseph Nye, Toward a Liberal-Realist Foreign Policy: A memo for the next president,” Harvard MagazineMarch/April 2008.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore launched the “Whole of Government”-“Whole of Society” Interagency Counterinsurgency Initiative in ’08. Would a shift from relative “hard power” to “soft power” be quite the same without a 10,000+ “army of federal civilian volunteers”? Bush’s International Affairs Budget request for 2009 included a Civilian Stabilization Initiative to formalize the funding for the Civilian Response Corps.

The Center for U.S. Global Engagement, of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, launched the Impact ’08 initiative during the 2008 presidential election, and would also publish Putting Smart Power to Work: An Action Agenda for the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress

Through outreach and events in seven of the early primary and battleground general election states, Impact ’08 brought together Republicans, Democrats and Business, Civic, Military and Faith based leaders together to call on the candidates to take a “smart power” approach to global engagement. Both Barack Obama and John McCain made strong commitments to answer this call. In the end, President Obama’s election was historic in many ways, including his significant commitment to the most in-depth and far reaching platform embracing “smart power” of any candidate in our history. Obama pledged to “make the case to the American people that [development assistance] can be our best investment in increasing the common security of the entire world.”

The Civilian “Soft Power” Emphasis
of the Obama Administration

We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve gotta have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.

Barack Obama, “call to service” speech, July 2, 2008

Obama’s “civilian national security force”

The “civilian national security force” from Obama’s July 2, 2008 “call to service” speech was a reference to the civilian “soft power” emphasis, relative to the military “hard power” emphasis of the Bush administration, of bipartisan Smart Power “grand strategy.” Obama’s first International Affairs Budget request for a Civilian Stabilization Initiative to fund the Civilian Response Corps, “establishes a permanent interagency civilian reconstruction and stabilization response capacity. This capacity is an essential part of this Administration‘s strategy to enhance the tools of soft power projection and to permit the Defense Department to focus on its core military mission responsibilities.” In addition to the shift to “soft power” in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan; the Obama administration would write an increasing number of smaller conflicts into the script of “the War on Terror,” like the made-for-a-movie dramatization in going after pirates off the coast of Somalia, and the pursuit and assassination of a U.S. citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her confirmation testimony, said 

I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called ‘‘smart power,’’ the full range of tools at our disposal—diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural—picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation.

The U.S. Global Leadership Campaign (est. 1995) and Center for U.S. Global Leadership (est. 2004) would reform in 2009 as the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) of special interests leveraging the bipartisan Smart Power, “America’s Global Strategy,” of the International Affairs Budget. The USGLC Advisory Council features all Secretaries of State still living (Kissinger, Albright), National Security Advisors (Brzezinski), Kean and Hamilton of the 9-11 Commission, Richard Lugar, who co-sponsored the bill with Joe Biden to establish the Civilian Response Corps, former Secretaries of Defense and Treasury, the first-ever Secretary of Homeland Security, two World Bank presidents, and a National Security Advisory Council of over 130 retired military generals and admirals.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic and community leaders in all 50 states who support a smart power approach of elevating diplomacy and development alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.


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The U.S. Counterinsurgency Guide for the War on Terror was published as Obama took office in January of 2009, as part of the “Whole-of-Government”-“Whole-of-Society” Interagency Counterinsurgency Initiative that was undertaken in last year of the Bush administration. The authors assert that the bipartisan “comprehensive civil-military efforts” of “counterinsurgency” in especially Iraq and Afghanistan are based upon the Pentagon’s definition of “irregular warfare” and the authors purport to offer the “intellectual framework” for understanding it.

In May of 2009, the White House announced the establishment of the Global Engagement Directorate, and Pradeep Ramamurthy was selected as its first director. Joseph Nye was one of the “key working group members” of the Wilson Center’s bipartisan Strengthening America’s Global Engagement (SAGE) Initiative, that would convene in 2010 to establish an “independent, nonpartisan support organization to help strengthen America’s public diplomacy and strategic communication efforts.” SAGE featured both Bush and Obama administration officials, including Captain Wayne Porter: one of two Pentagon staffers who, along with Mark Mykleby, would take credit for authoring “A National Strategic Narrative” in 2011 as “Mr. Y.” With the establishment of the Pentagon’s Human Social Culture Behavior Modeling Program in the Bush-Obama transition (a.k.a. “Social Radar for Smart Power”), and Obama’s revamping of Clinton-era “engagement” through the new Open Government Initiative– “soft power” would be integrated into various public-private policies including older Smart Growth (“economic development”), as well as the new “intelligence” of Smart Change (“a need for competent people who can both partner with industry and challenge industry’s estimates and programs“) and Smart Disclosure (“a choice engine for every major consumer decision”).

Like Nye’s suggestion in his ’08 memo, the Obama administration would replace the “war on terror” theme of the Overseas Contingency Operations slush fund of the International Affairs Budget with “3D”-“smart power,” represented by the three government agencies funding that account– State (“diplomacy”), USAID (“development”), and Defense (“defense”). The Council on Foreign Relations even held a “3D Series” through 2010, on translating the language of “3D” resources into Nye’s three dimensions of power (military and economic “hard power,” and “soft power”). Andrew J. Shapiro, Clinton’s assistant secretary, said in his speech titled “Political-Military Affairs: Smart Power Starts Here,” that “Secretary Clinton is institutionalizing smart power in the recently announced Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, the QDDR, a blueprint for building effective global leadership through a robust and effective State Department and USAID working side-by-side with a strong military.” (He also praised the U.S. alliance with Israel and Saudi Arabia.) The “mission” of the State Department’s new Office of Global Partnerships, “is to build public-private partnerships that strengthen diplomacy and development outcomes.”

The Civilian Response Corps: “Smart Power in Action”

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A Whole of Government Approach to Stability,” by Matthew Cordova, Deputy Director of Planning for Civil-Military Affairs in the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS), briefly summarizes the role of the CRC in the implementation of Smart Power: “These efforts to operationalize smart power through the Civilian Response Corps and interagency planners reflect the USG’s new approach to planning and conducting stability operations: a civilian-led whole-of-government plan, properly resourced civilian capabilities and the U.S. military in a support role.”

In his 2010 Foreign Affairs interview with Greg Bruno titled “Waiting on a Civilian Surge in Afghanistan,” John Herbst talked about the activities of the CRC in Afghanistan: The most significant is that we have been the folks who have helped put together plans integrating all American efforts in Afghanistan.

Sean McFate authored a wrap-up of a conference held at National Defense University on March 5, 2010, called “Monopoly of Force: The Link between DDR and SSR,” cosponsored by the Pentagon’s new Center for Complex Operations established in Bush’s last year, and the United States Institute of Peace.

• Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR) processes should be interrelated and mutually reinforcing. As DDR and SSR share the same objective—consolidation of the state’s monopoly of force to uphold the rule of law—they succeed or fail together and should be planned, resourced, implemented, and evaluated in a coordinated manner. The natural point of intersection for DDR and SSR is in the reintegration phase, as many ex-combatants find employment in the security apparatus that SSR creates.

“The Arab Spring,” “A National Strategic Narrative,” and “ISIS”

The heads of the “3D” agencies (State, USAID, and Defense) would form the 3D Planning Group of the National Security Council in 2010. From the new Complex Crises Fund (succeeding Bush’s “1207 Program”) in Tunisia, to the old Economic Support Fund in Egypt; the White House would continue to flood Africa and the Middle East with International Affairs Budget funds, and Obama would “lead from behind.”

Bush’s Office of the Coordinator of Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) would be formally subsumed by Obama’s Bureau of Conflict Stabilization Operations (CSO) in late 2011, but the State Department published a statement on the CSO’s role in the “regime-change” of Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi’s rule in Libya. According to his bio on Linkedin.com, Matt Van Etten was the CSO official who led the “transition” (i.e. “regime-change”) of not only Afghanistan, but of Libya, Syria, and elsewhere. On March 17, 2011 the U.N. Security Council approved a “No-Fly Zone” in Libya, and two days later, Obama invoked the U.N.’s “responsibility to protect” (R2P) doctrine, authorizing the “limited military action” by the U.S. “in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians.” 

The contrast between the killing of Bin Laden and the intervention in Libya illustrates the Obama Doctrine. In the former case, Obama personally managed a unilateral use of force. In the latter case, he demonstrated smart power by waiting until an Arab League and UN resolution provided the legitimacy that ensured that the soft power narrative would not be that of another American attack on a Muslim country. Then he shared the leadership of the hard power operation with NATO allies. An incautious comment by a midlevel White House official characterized the Libya policy as “leading from behind,” and this became a target for political criticism, but as we saw earlier, Eisenhower was a great exemplar of knowing that sometimes it is most effective to keep a low profile and to lead from behind.

Joseph Nye, “The Cult of Transformational Leadership,” The Diplomat, May 31, 2013, p. 4.


In April, 2011, A National Strategic Narrative, by “Mr. Y,” was published, “intended to frame our National policy decisions regarding investment, security, economic development, the environment, and engagement well into this century.”

We must seize the opportunity to be a model of stability, a model of the values we cherish for the rest of the world to emulate. And we must ensure that our domestic policies are aligned with our foreign policies. Our own “smart growth” can serve as the exportable model of “smart power.”

The State Department established the Office of The Special Coordinator For Middle East Transitions (D/MET)  in September, 2011. The office, “coordinates United States Government assistance to incipient democracies arising from popular revolts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions implements a coordinated interagency strategy to support designated MENA countries undergoing transitions to democracy – currently, Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.” The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) created under the Bush administration would be augmented for “the Arab Spring” with the establishment of the Middle East North Africa Incentive Fund (MENA IF).

MENA IF is a new initiative that provides $770 million to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the Arab Spring, supporting those countries that are moving to undertake the democratic and economic reforms necessary to address citizens’ demands and provide lasting stability in the region.

In late 2011, Secretary Clinton announced the QDDR-requested establishment of a new Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), as the successor to the Bush’s Office of the Coordinator of Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS), for “conflict prevention, crisis response, and stabilization activities.” Rick Barton would head the CSO further into “the Arab Spring,” officially deploying 213 Civilian Response Corps members to 30 “countries/engagements” in FY2012 with “six capabilities”: Security Sector Reform; Rule of Law, Justice, and Police Reform; Governance; Conflict Mediation; Reconciliation; Gender, Youth, and Religious Civil Society Engagement. Joseph Kony and Boko Haram wouldn’t be the only enemies of the Obama administration that would be perpetuated via the new CSO.


Agency Priority Goal (APG) #3, published in “State-USAID Agency Priority Goals” (FY2012-FY2013), is “Democracy, Good Governance, and Human Rights”:

Advance progress toward sustained and consolidated democratic transitions in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, Syria, and West Bank/Gaza. By September 30, 2013, support continued progress toward or lay the foundations for transitions to accountable electoral democracies in 11 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that respect civil and political liberties and human rights.


At the USGLC  Impact 2012 Symposium, Senator John Kerry sang the Cold War 2.0 song, as Robert Gates had in his Landon Lecture and Hillary Clinton had in her Economic Statecraft speech, focusing on the prominence of the relatively small International Affairs Budget.

So, the work we do with the money that we have in that little old tiny one percent probably buys us more than any other sector of the budget in the United States of America, when you think of what we get in various parts of the world for what we do.

Ron Paul’s column for June 17, 2013 titled, “Obama’s Syria Policy Looks a Lot Like Bush’s Iraq Policy” showed the plain-language parallel between the pivotal politics behind the “regime-change” of Iraq by Bush, and of Syria by Obama, “fixing the intelligence and facts around the already determined policy.” This is what the 9/11 Commission  had effectively recommended:  “A “smart” government would integrate all sources of information to see the enemy as a whole. Integrated all-source analysis should also inform and shape strategies to collect more intelligence.” (p. 401) The Obama administration’s own Atrocities Prevention Board had raised the “red flag”; of course the Obama administration’s “red line” would be crossed.



In 2013, like Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton went from Secretary of State to the Advisory Council of the USGLC, along with other White House officials Stephen Hadley, Robert Gates and many others. Vice President Joe Biden was presented with an award at the USGLC’s “#SMARTPOWER DINNER PARTY” in late 2013, celebrating conquest along with Senator John McCain and his son Hunter Biden: one of the newest directors of the USGLC and soon-to-be director of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings Limited.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition published an update on the International Affairs Budget on June 20, 2014, in which Tod Preston summarized how Syria would be added to the to-be-ruled roster of the War on Terror, via the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. On June 26, USGLC member Reuters and other global media outlets reported that Obama had requested $500 million in additional foreign aid to the “moderate” Syrians, part of a new $1.5 billion Regional Stabilization Initiative (RSI), through the new Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund.  On September 10, Obama announced that the U.S. would “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [a.k.a. the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or (IS)], and was supported by bipartisan congressional vote to “train and equip” the “moderates.”  According to Obama, military airstrikes would continue against ISIL in Iraq: as would Bush’s War on Terror, albeit  “soft power”-style. Nevertheless, the Obama-as-“weak” card is continually played by the Republican Party that supports the same “grand strategy” as the Democratic Party. [See Dan Sanchez, “The US Government’s Not-So-Secret Support for Al Qaeda and ISIS,” Antiwar.com, June 9, 2015; Ryan McMaken, “No, the Military Has Not Withered Away Under Obama,” Mises Institute, November 13, 2015;]

From the highlights of USGLC’s annual analysis of the 2016 International Affairs Budget, dated February 2:


1. Economic Support Fund: 29.2%
ESF provides strategic economic assistance to address global crises and countries in conflict countries, including Ukraine and its neighbors, combating ISIL in Iraq and Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At a February 2 briefing on the 2016 International Affairs Budget, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom added: 

We’ve also requested $7 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funds to respond to immediate and extraordinary national security requirements. OCO funds will support critical programs and operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as exceptional costs related to our efforts to fight ISIL, respond to the conflict in Syria, and support Ukraine.



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