The circus around Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan is a clear sign that something incredibly reckless and stupid is about to happen.
In October 2019, Jake Sullivan, who became U.S. National Security Advisor in 2021, stated in an interview that the U.S. needed a clear threat to rally the world and play the role of saviour of mankind and that China could be that organizing principle for U.S. foreign policy. In the 2019 interview, he acknowledges that the problem was that people were not going to believe that China is a global threat, that their view of China is too positive and that the United States would need a “Pearl Harbour moment,” a real focusing event to change their minds, something he calmly stated that “would scare the hell out of the American people.”
According to Sullivan, from the same man who called for Libyan and Syrian military interventionism, American exceptionalism needed “rescuing” and “reclaiming,” not of course with actual qualitative actions that would earn one’s position as a model of true democratic governance with American citizens and the world, but rather through ever aggressive PR and media shame-based social conditioning, labeling whoever points out the clear hypocrisy of these statements as “threats to national security.” Actors like Sullivan have shown that they are willing to do anything to achieve that “Pearl Harbour moment,” even if acts of terrorism on their own people are required in order to paint their “enemy” as a monster in the eyes of their citizens.
This is by no means a new strategy. Operation Gladio is a perfect example of how NATO conducted a decades-long secret war against its own European citizens and elected governments under the guise of “communist terrorism.”
In 1962, General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, proposed Operation Northwoods, which was a proposed false-flag operation against American citizens, which called for CIA operatives to both stage and actually commit acts of terrorism against American military and civilian targets and subsequently blame the Cuban government in order to justify a war against Cuba. The plan was drafted by General Lemnitzer specifically and has a striking similarity with NATO’s Operation Gladio.
The logic of Northwoods was the stripe of Gladio. The general staff inclined towards prefabricated violence because they believed benefits gained by the state count more than injustice against individuals. The only important criterion is reaching the objective and the objective was right-wing government.
There was not a single item in the Northwoods manual that did not amount to a blatant act of treason, yet the U.S. military establishment dispatched “Top Secret – Justification for U.S. military Intervention in Cuba” straight to the desk of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, for onward transmission to President Kennedy.
Needless to say, President Kennedy rejected the proposal and a few months later General Lemnitzer’s term was not renewed as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, having served from October 1st 1960 to September 30th 1962.
However, NATO lost no time, and in November 1962 Lemnitzer was appointed commander of U.S. European Command and as Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, the latter to which he served from January 1st, 1963 to July 1st, 1969.
Lemnitzer’s was a perfect fit to oversee the cross-continental Gladio operations in Europe. Lemnitzer was a prime motivating force in setting up the Special Forces Group in 1952 at Fort Bragg, where commandos were trained in the arts of guerilla insurgency in the event of a Soviet invasion of Europe. Before long, the men who proudly wore distinctive green berets were cooperating discreetly with the armed forces of a string of European countries and participating in direct military operations, some of them extremely sensitive and of highly dubious legality.
The New American Century
Jake Sullivan’s statement that we need a “Pearl Harbour moment” is nothing new.
In September 2000 a report titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century” was published by none other than The Project for the New American Century. In the report it is written (pg. 51):
“…the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”
Interestingly, within this same report, published by The Project for the New American Century, it is written (pg. 60):
“Although it may take several decades for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and sea will be vastly different than it is today, and ‘combat’ likely will take place in a new dimensions: in space, ‘cyber-space,’ and perhaps the world of microbes…advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.”
Richard Perle, called the “Prince of Darkness,” by his adversaries and the “Pentagon’s Brains” by his admirers was an acolyte of Albert Wohlstetter, you could say the “brains” behind the RAND Corporation (for more on this refer here). Paul Wolfowitz was another of Wohlstetter’s acolytes. The followers of Wohlstetter were so numerous, whom Perle said Donald Rumsfeld was among (1), that they called themselves “the St. Andrews prep” boys. (2)
Perle stated (3) the 2003 invasion of Iraq was “the first war that’s been fought in a way that would recognize Albert [Wohlstetter]’s vision of future wars. That it was won so quickly and decisively, with so few casualties and so little damage, was in fact an implementation of his strategy and his vision.”
In fact, this call for the need of a “Pearl Harbour moment” originally came from the Wohlstetters themselves.
A New Pearl Harbour Moment
In the mid-1950s, Roberta Wohlstetter, Albert’s wife and RAND peer, produced her seminal analysis of Pearl Harbour, recognised by the Pentagon as a definitive work of twentieth-century American military history. The study began as an internal RAND document based on unclassified documents drawn from the congressional record.
Warner Schilling noted in his perceptive review of Roberta’s work on Pearl Harbour that “The main concept that Mrs. Wohlstetter brings to bear on these events [is that]…the pictures of the world that government officials build from intelligence…are not so much a matter of the ‘facts’ their sources make available as they are a function of the ‘theories’ about politics already in their minds which guide both their recognition and their interpretation of said ‘facts’.”
The primary practical lesson of Roberta’s Pearl Harbour was that the United States should invest in rapid and aggressive means for responding to surprise attacks (for more on this story refer here).
On January 12, 2003, Los Angeles Times published an article titled “Agenda Unmasked,” where they write:
“In the hours immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, long before anyone was certain who was responsible for them, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld reportedly asked that plans be drawn up for an American assault on Iraq…
At first consideration, Rumsfeld’s early targeting of Iraq seems odd. Too little was known, too much uncertain. But the Defense secretary’s desire to attack Iraq was neither impulsive nor reactive. In fact, ever since the first American war against Iraq in 1991, Rumsfeld and others who planned and executed that war have wanted to go back and finish what they started. They said so in reports written for then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney in the last years of the George H.W. Bush administration, and they continued the push when they were out of power during the Clinton years. In the spring of 1997, their efforts coalesced when Rumsfeld, Cheney and others joined together to form the Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, and began concerted lobbying for regime change in Iraq.
In an open letter to President Clinton dated Jan. 26, 1998, the group called for “the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power,” and in a letter dated May 29, 1998, to then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.)… Signatories to one or both letters included Rumsfeld; William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine and chairman of the PNAC; Elliott Abrams, the convicted Iran-Contra conspirator whom President Bush last year named director of Middle Eastern policy for the National Security Council; Paul D. Wolfowitz, now Rumsfeld’s deputy at the Pentagon; John R. Bolton, now undersecretary of state for arms control; Richard N. Perle, now chairman of the Defense Science Board; Richard Armitage, now Colin Powell’s deputy at the State Department; and Zalmay Khalilzad [another Wohlstetter acolyte(4)], former Unocal Corp. consultant and now special envoy to Afghanistan.
… They expected that the radical changes in U.S. military policy they favored would have to come slowly in the absence of, as the PNAC report “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” put it, a “catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” On Sept. 11, 2001, they got their Pearl Harbor.”
As the Los Angeles Times article also observes, without 9/11 as their Pearl Harbor, their entire campaign against terror in the Middle East could never have been justified.
In fact, since the disastrous PR campaign of the Vietnam War, most American had become horrified at the prospect of entering any more foreign wars on the clearly false and hypocritical terms of bringers of “peace” and “freedom.”
9/11 changed all that.
Thus, when Jake Sullivan observes that there is not enough anti-China sentiment to bolster an image of the United States as a “saviour of mankind” against China and that America is in need of a “Pearl Harbour moment” I would be very wary.
The circus around Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan in the coming days, and evident glee that is coming forth from many of these neocons frothing at the mouth over this prospect is a clear sign that something incredibly reckless and stupid is about to happen.
Pelosi’s airplane might indeed be shot down on her completely irrelevant and unnecessary trip to Taiwan, and if it is, don’t be surprised if it was the Americans themselves who are behind it, who have shown they are willing to do anything for that “Pearl Harbour moment.”
(1) Alex Abella (2008), “Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire,” Harcourt Books
(4) Ron Robin (2016), “The Cold War They Made: The Strategic Legacy of Roberta and Albert Wohlstetter,” Harvard University Press.
The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
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