The War That Wasn’t, But Not Because They Didn’t Want It

Defense Officials Tried to Reverse China Policy, Says Powell Aide

The same top Bush administration neoconservatives who leap-frogged Washington’s foreign policy establishment to topple Saddam Hussein nearly pulled off a similar coup in U.S.-China relations — creating the potential of a nuclear war over Taiwan, a top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell says.

Lawrence B. Wilkerson, the U.S. Army colonel who was Powell’s chief of staff through two administrations, said in little-noted remarks early last month that “neocons” in the top rungs of the administration quietly encouraged Taiwanese politicians to move toward a declaration of independence from mainland China — an act that the communist regime has repeatedly warned would provoke a military strike.

Of course they did:

I think that for some neoconservatives… In a sense, they wanted to have an enemy. The end of the Cold War was a tough time because they didn’t know who the enemy ought to be. I think in the case of Bill Kristol and The Weekly Standard there was actually a deliberate search for an enemy because I think that they felt that the Republican Party didn’t do as well if foreign policy wasn’t a big issue. The late 1990s was the, you know, the period of the stock market bubble and Monica Lewinsky and they didn’t really have an issue in all of that, I thought, that they thought was particularly important or had much traction with the voters and with the public. I think they initially picked on China as their target — and I always thought right from the beginning that was a big mistake because, first of all, foreign policy shouldn’t be driven by the needs of the Republican Party and domestic politics and secondly, I just don’t think that China is particularly useful to think of as an enemy comparable to the former Soviet Union. So in that sense, September the 11th was a big godsend because we were attacked and didn’t have to invent an enemy at that point. But I think that, just that general tendency to think of the world as extremely dangerous and full of big threats is something they try to carry forward.


Comments: 16


A Pearl Harbor like event to create a straw-man enemy?

Ahh, the PNAC… So deliciously Evil. Like Austin Powers Evil.


As it turns out I was living in China during the 2000 election –er, Supreme Court appointment. I warned my friends there about Bush but nobody believed me.

After the appointment, a friend and I were trekking through the sub-tropics of the Yunnan province. We were listening to VoA on shortwave radio, which reported that Bush sought to make China the “new enemy”. Only then did my friends begin to believe me about Bush, and we were all worried for our very lives. Things got even worse after the airplanes hit over Hainan Island.

Ironically, 9/11 may have averted a Taiwan/China/US war, as we then had a new enemy to confront, focusing their bloodlust in another, conveniently oil-rich, region of the world.

These Republican psychopaths cannot exist without some enemy to confront. It defines them. It always will. We have to always be mindful of this, because there are a LOT more where they came from.


And a certain part of the 9/11 Conspiracy movement — a fairly large part, I’d guess — is the natural suspicion that a having a handful of dark-skinned Muslims from the Middle East commit a spectacularly showy terrorist attack in the premier American media market was just too very conveeenient for the Neocons and their military-industrial masters. There’s an inbred hindbrain-based tendency for primates to react as a group whenever one member of the troop cries leopard!; there’s an almost equally ingrained tendency to assume that some members of the troop will yell leopard when no leopard exists…

But attacking China? I thought the standing Chinese kleptocracy had bought the neocons’ loyalty, via the combination of Treasury-propping bond buys and supplying slave-produced trinkets to quasi-American megacorporations, by the time Bill Clinton was first elected. Did their fears that America’s metaphorical manhood would shrink up into our national abdomen if we didn’t have a capital-letter Enemy to militarize us really outweigh the neoconservative loyalty to their own pocketbooks? Given the revelations about Perle, Wolfowitz, Delay, and Abramoff, it seems as though their devotion to the Almighty Dollar outweighed any allegiance they pretended to either religion or realpolitik. Maybe the professional military guys just don’t understand how little respect the neocons have for those points of view that are understandably foremost among military thinkers?


Geezum, hell. China? They wanted to pick a fight with China?!?

I suspect the PNACkers still think we could take ’em. “Sure, the economy’s in the dumper and China holds all our IOUs. Sure, we can’t win wars in the Middle East against people armed with simple guns and IEDs. But we can beat this giant country armed with nuclear weapons because, um, Chinese laundries are funny.”

Hysterical Woman

If that’s true, we might have to be grateful for the 9/11 attack. Still, as others have said, I agree that the Neocons would rather follow the Almighty Dollar, and trying to pick a fight with China would destroy that.


first of all, foreign policy shouldn’t be driven by the needs of the Republican Party and domestic politics

how sad that this point even needs to be made.


Makes me wonder, did the geniuses ever say “boots on the ground”?

And then did someone at INR say “Have you ever seen the Princess Bride?”


Still no post about how the conservatives saved people at JFK?


My apologies to jade. I stole his identity as a joke in a previous post to hammer a point about the idea that theft of identity is ‘progressive’. The above comment is me, the evil hater of hippies, not jade.


But…they…went and invented an enemy anyway.



You ignorant slut.

The POLICE took the supposed terrists into custody. 18 months before the plot was supposed to come to fruition. which is likely infeasible, because the way airports pipe fuel is designed to prevent chain reactions. So the current crop of big, bad scary terrists are kinda the George W Bush league of terrorism: All hat, no cattle.

But it Wasn’t conservatives. LAW ENFORCEMENT, asswhistle, like we’ve been saying all along. Terrorism isn’t a military enemy.

But then, if conservatives had listened to law enforcement officials, the Trade Centers would still be standing.

You’re not evil, Kevin, just…disappointing.


Ironically, 9/11 may have averted a Taiwan/China/US war…

That’s my impression, too. We certainly avoided some very dangerous shit in East Asia. Between Bush’s installation as president and 9/11, some of the leading neo-cons were publicly calling for both ‘regime change’ in Beijing and war with Iraq. At that point, they were so intoxicated by having gotten into power that they thought they could do it all. But 9/11 caused them to fixate on the Middle East.

I don’t think economic issues are the main motivation for the neo-cons. What gets these guys off is trying to play geo-politics on the grand scale and imagining themselves to be imperial masterminds.


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