Project for the New American Century

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The Project for the New American Century ( PNAC ), in German: Project for the New American Century , was a neoconservative American think tank based in Washington, DC It was located in the same building as the American Enterprise Institute .

It was founded in the spring of 1997 as a non-commercial training organization with the aim of promoting the global leadership of the United States of America . The PNAC was dissolved in 2006. The Foreign Policy Initiative , founded in 2009, can be seen as the successor organization to the PNAC.


The PNAC was controversial inside and outside the United States. Critics suspected that the think tank was pursuing purely American interests to the detriment of other states and was striving for US supremacy in world politics ( Pax Americana ) - and engaged in extensive lobbying among politicians. The PNAC called its approach to streamlining extensive policies for parliamentarians so that they fit in a briefcase, brief case test .

Most of the ideas and members of the PNAC were related to the political school of neoconservatism . One of the think tank's main protagonists has long been its co-founder Richard Perle . The most effective spokesman was the journalist Robert Kagan , who temporarily lived in Brussels and is now also a member of the board of the Foreign Policy Initiative .

The project was an initiative of the New Citizenship Project, a non-commercial organization under the terms of USC 26 § 501 3 (which sets out what the requirements for this status are) funded by the Bradley Foundation .


The PNAC represented the following theses, among others:

  • American leadership is good for both the United States and the world.
  • Such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy, and commitment to moral principles.
  • A multipolar world has not ensured peace, but has always led to wars.
  • The United States government should capitalize on its technological and economic superiority to achieve unchallenged superiority by all means, including military means.

If diplomacy has failed, military action is an acceptable and necessary means. The PNAC advocates the worldwide establishment of permanent military bases of its own in order to make the USA largely invulnerable. As a "world policeman" (or "world law enforcement officer"), the United States would have the power to ensure compliance with the law and statutes in accordance with the standards set by the USA in a chaotic " Hobbesian " world - if need be , even without consultation with or consideration of allies and other supranational organizations, contracts and other legal obligations ( unilateralism ). All critics see this as a clear historical relapse behind the laboriously achieved progress in international law since the Peace of Westphalia .

The PNAC and its members called for the termination of the ABM agreement concluded with the Soviet Union at an early stage . The PNAC also proposed "to control the new international community spheres, space and virtual world, and pave the way for a new military branch - the US Space Forces - with a mandate to control outer space . "

In September 2000, the PNAC published an 80-page report entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces, And Resources For a New Century". This demand for the continuation of the “Star Wars” project SDI started under Ronald Reagan was the subject of numerous analyzes and attracted much criticism.


The PNAC was chaired by the journalist William Kristol . Members included members of the Bush administration :

Other members included Jeb Bush , former Florida governor and brother of ex-President George W. Bush, former CIA director James Woolsey and political scientist Francis Fukuyama . Caspar Weinberger was a member of PNAC until his death, the investment banker John Lehman was also a member of PNAC.

Some of the members were often referred to as " hawks ", partly because of their support for military conflict regulation .

The secret service experts Gary Schmitt , Eliot A. Cohen , author of the book: Soldier, Statesman and Leadership in Wartime , and Thomas Donnelly , meanwhile employed by the armaments company Lockheed Martin , acted as Executive Director of the PNAC . In 1997, one of the signatories to the PNAC's Statement of Principles was Steve Forbes , editor of Forbes Magazine . Dov S. Zakheim was the Pentagon's auditor and was able to collect the $ 2.3 trillion, publicly described by Donald Rumsfeld in his speech on September 10, 2001, as "non-allocable" by February 20, 2002, according to a Department of Defense publication , reduce to $ 700 billion. He worked for the System Planning Corporation , which among other things developed and produced flight control systems.


Critics of the PNAC see "Rebuilding America's Defenses" as a manifesto that sets out the basic lines of a new ambitious plan to establish a new kind of imperialism . The geopolitics therein is openly determined by the energy policy of the USA ( petroleum ).

Proponents, on the other hand, argue that the political blueprints it developed did not fundamentally deviate from what other conservative foreign policy analysts in the US had been proposing for some time. All world powers have a claim to hegemonic leadership . Some proponents expressly welcome the hegemonic claim that is being expressed.

The PNAC had long called for an attack on Iraq . A 1998 letter to then US President Bill Clinton said:

"We urge you to [...] enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the US and our friends and allies around the world [...] That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power."

“We urge you to proclaim a new strategy that will safeguard the interests of the United States and its friends and allies. The main goal of this strategy should be to remove Saddam Hussein's regime from power. "


  • Kubilay Yado Arin: The Role of Think Tanks in US Foreign Policy. From Clinton to Bush Jr. VS Springer Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2013, ISBN 978-3-658-01043-0 .
  • Thomas Donnelly: Operation Iraqi Freedom. A Strategic Assessment. AEI Press, Washington 2004. ISBN 0-8447-4195-7
  • Abram N. Shulsky, Gary James Schmitt: Silent Warfare. Understanding the World of Intelligence. Brassey's Inc, Dulles VA 2002. ISBN 1-57488-345-3
  • Kagan, Robert / Kristol, William (Eds.): Present Dangers. Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy. Encounter Books, San Francisco 2000. ISBN 1-893554-13-9
  • George Soros : The supremacy of the USA - a soap bubble. Karl Blessing, Munich 2004. ISBN 3-89667-255-X (A German translation of the PNAC's declaration of principles can be found here on pages 18 to 20.)
  • Emmanuel Todd : World Power USA - An obituary. Piper, Munich 2003. ISBN 3-492-04535-9

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul Reynolds: "End of the neo-con dream: The neo-conservative dream faded in 2006". In: BBC News. Status: December 21, 2006. URL: (accessed on February 28, 2011)
  2. Jim Lobe: PNAC Revisited . In: Status: July 1, 2009. (accessed July 7, 2009)
  3. Zakheim Seeks To Corral, Reconcile 'Lost' Spending