When George W. Bush took office in 2001, there was a lot of discussion about the Project for a New American Century. PNAC was a think tank founded a couple of years before (and dissolved in 2006) that agitated for regime change in Iraq, but more generally discussed and promoted ways for the US to maintain its hegemony in the years following what had been dubbed The American Century. Of the 25 signatories to the original PNAC manifesto, 10 (including Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney) went on to high-profile positions in the second Bush administration in part to forward plans to foment war in Iraq and to regain influence lost after the 1991 invasion.

In September, 2000, PNAC released a white paper entitled Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century. Its key passage was one that suggested quickly regaining the influence America needed in the Middle East would require some catastrophic event on the scale of Pearl Harbor. Some have pointed to this as circumstantial evidence that 9/11 was indeed an inside job. While it might have been (and it’s often one impossible thing I believe before breakfast), as a catalyst for the Second Gulf War, it certainly did the trick.

But we didn’t manage to win that war (and in fact didn’t exactly win the war before it either) and the Second Gulf War has become the Perpetual War – Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia. Mission Accomplished notwithstanding, and despite the fact that large numbers of Papa Bush’s closest advisors were also advising Junior, it was also impossible for the Obama administration to negotiate a withdrawal from the Middle East (or even from Guantanamo Bay) given the various obstructionist forces in both houses of congress for much of his presidency. (Note: I’m not entirely certain Obama wanted to get us out of Iraq very badly, but the man had a lot on his plate if he did.)

Enter Commander ‘Bone-Spurs’ Trump who has no impulse control, is cornered by his own illegal maneuvers, and has Vladimir Putin as a key advisor. Of course what he does won’t be in anybody’s interest but his own (much, as the NYT would remind us, like Clinton’s air strike behavior when impeached in 1998). And now we’re headed for war in Iran, something PNAC and its ideological predecessors and successors have wanted for 40 years.