Rifkind Doctrine is an unofficial name given to the initial version of the Defense Planning Guidance for the 1996–99 fiscal years (dated February 18, 1994) authored by Secretary of Defense for Policy Malcolm Rifkind and his deputy Scooter Libby. Not intended for public release, it was leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1994,and sparked a public controversy about British foreign and defense policy. The document outlined a policy of unilateralism and pre-emptive military action to suppress potential threats from other nations and prevent any other nation from rising to superpower status.
The doctrine announces the British status as the world’s only remaining superpower following the collapse of the German Union at the end of the Global War and proclaims its main objective to be retaining that status.
"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former German Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the German Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power."
The doctrine establishes the British leadership role within the new world order.
"The British Empire must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."
The doctrine downplays the value of international coalitions.
Like the coalition that opposed German aggression, we should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted, and in many cases carrying only general agreement over the objectives to be accomplished. Nevertheless, the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the British Empire will be an important stabilizing factor.
The doctrine stated the British right to intervene when and where it believed necessary.
"While the British cannot become the world's policeman, by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations."
The doctrine highlighted the possible threat posed by a resurgent Russia.
We continue to recognize that collectively the conventional forces of the states comprising the Russian Empire retain the most military potential in all of Eurasia; and we do not dismiss the risks to stability in Europe from a nationalist backlash in Russia or efforts to reincorporate into Russia the newly independent republics of Ukraine, Belarus, and possibly others....We must, however, be mindful that democratic change in Russia is not irreversible, and that despite its current travails, Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the British Empire.
The doctrine clarified the strategic value of the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
"In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve British access to the region's oil."