New Pentagon policy draft drops emphasis on strategy of U.S. supremacy Document stresses global cooperation

May 24, 1992|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has revised a draft of its post-Cold War strategy, dropping language from an earlier document advocating the perpetuation of a one-superpower world in which the United States would work to prevent the rise of any "competitors" to its primacy in Western Europe and East Asia.

The new document, approved by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney on Friday, sharpens the U.S. commitment to collective military action as a "key feature" of U.S. strategy and looks forward to the decline of military investment as the principal means of balancing power among nations.

With far more diplomatic language than in an earlier draft, the new document forsakes any goal of preventing the emergence of "any potential future global competitor" and stresses the importance of strengthening international organizations, such as the United Nations, for resolving disputes.

The elimination of what was a dominant theme in the earlier draft reflects high-level influence from both Mr. Cheney and Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon officials said.

The new language represents a significant retrenchment and appears to have discredited the idea, expressed in internal administration foreign policy discussions, that the United States should focus on containing German and Japanese aspirations to regional leadership.

The nearly final draft has been circulating in the Pentagon since April 16. A copy was provided to the New York Times by an administration official who believes that the debate on post-Cold War strategy should be conducted in public.

The earlier draft, dated Feb. 18, was roundly criticized in the White House and in foreign capitals after its contents were disclosed in the Times in March.

Prepared under the supervision of the Pentagon's undersecretary for policy, Paul Wolfowitz, the earlier draft implied that a competing power or alliance of nations, bolstered by surging economic strength in Germany or Japan, could arise and eventually express their rivalry with the United States through military competition.

To avoid this, the earlier draft proposed that the United States build a new order based on "convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests."

With a striking change of tone, the later draft states, "One of the primary tasks we face today in shaping the future is carrying long-standing alliances into the new era, and turning old enmities into new cooperative relationships."

It also says that while a strong defense will continue to be important, a leveling of military investment coupled with greater economic and security cooperation will create a more stable world.

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