[Antecedents] [September 2001] [October 2001] [November 2001] [December 2001] [January 2002] [February/March 2002] [April/May 2002] [June/July 2002] [Most Recent]
Commentary - 25 March 2002
[excerpt] Everything about the present international position of the US suggests it should act as a satisfied power, defending the existing international order and seeking to extend the web of international rules and restraints on which the health of the world market ultimately depends. In fact, the US often acts like an unsatisfied one, expanding its spheres of influence, rejecting international law and actively seeking points of rivalry with other states.
News - 22 March 2002
[excerpt] After deciding to send U.S. military advisers to train antiterrorism forces in the Phillipines, Yemen and Georgia, the Bush administration has decided it would be "counterproductive" to deploy troops to Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, because of concerns about an anti-American backlash... Instead, White House and Pentagon officials have determined that the best way to pursue terrorists operating from Indonesia is to work through law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Wolfowitz said there was little indication that al Qaeda members fleeing the U.S. offensive in Afghanistan were heading toward Indonesia; instead, he said, they appear to be seeking safe passage to Iran, Pakistan, Yemen or the Caucus republics.
News and Analysis - 22 March 2002
[excerpt] Steven Mann, special advisor to the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, on Caspian basin energy issues, said during a visit to Astana on March 13, that further collaboration between Washington and Kazakstan in the petroluem sphere was the main purpose of his visit. The next day, President Nursultan Nazarbaev announced, after meeting Mann, that his country would support the Baku-Ceyhan project. As recently as December last year, Nazarbaev, during a visit to Washington, stressed that his country was interested in "multiple routes". He said that there was no immediate need for Kazakstan to join the Baku-Ceyhan project because even if it increased its oil production existing pipelines would be sufficient. The US is eager for Astana's participation in the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline because it needs Kazak oil to operate at full capacity.
Armen Khanbabyan, a correspondent on the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, believes the US is keen to eventually control Caspian energy resources, which would allow it to better regulate world prices.
News - 20 March 2002
[excerpt] [Carl W. Ford, Jr., head of intelligence and research for the State Department,] listed...Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, as well as China, Syria, Libya, Cuba and Russia as countries with stockpiles of weaponized biological and chemical agents. He didn't list Egypt and Israel, two U.S. allies with long-established weapons programs.
News - 20 March 2002
[excerpt] After months of searching the bomb-ravaged wreckage of terrorist training camps...investigators have concluded that while Al Qaeda researched chemical and biological weapons there is no indication that it acquired or produced them...
News - 19 March 2002
[excerpt] "Train and Equip," as the six-month $64 million prgram is being called, is the first attempt to station US troops in an area that Moscow still jealously regards as within its sphere of influence. The mission also creates [another] US military foothold in a country that is close to Iraq. Georgia has already offered the use of its airspace to the United States for any antiterrorist operations in the Middle East.
News - 18 March 2002
[excerpt] What was striking today was the extent to which Mr. Cheney had accepted the reordering of the agenda for his trip. Today, he talked as if Iraq was just one of many issues, and he acknowledged that the Israel-Palestinian dispute was the region's most pressing concern. He will be in the midst of the conflict on Monday, when he visits Jerusalem.
The Saudis, Jordanians and Egyptians warned publicly that a military campaign would destabilize the region. Other Arabs officials have indicated that they may be able to support a tough American policy, including possible military action against Iraq to topple Mr. Hussein. But first, they insist, Washington must do more to stop the fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians and make another push through the United Nations to persuade Iraq to re- admit weapons inspectors. Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain outlined the latter view at a conference today in Manama, the capital, when he was asked if his kingdom would support an American military strike to put an end to Mr. Hussein's government and its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction."It is important to recognize that in the Arab world the threat is perceived quite differently," the prince said. "The people who are dying today on the streets are not a result of any Iraqi action. The people are dying as a result of an Israeli action. And likewise the people in Israel are dying as a result of actions taken in response."The prince added that the failure to reach a Middle East settlement had precluded more serious consideration of other issues, including Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The prince's comments are not just a matter of concern for the welfare of the Palestinians. Arab governments are also concerned for their own welfare. In essence, their fear is that their citizens will be outraged if the Americans attack Iraq while the Israelis are fighting with the Palestinians. This outrage, they fear, will be directed not only at the United States but also at its Arab allies.
Commentary - 15 March 2002
[excerpt] This administration is making use of the Sept. 11 tragedy to do what the neoconservative right has wanted for a long time, which is to renounce inconvenient treaties, junk arms control, build and test nuclear weapons, attack Saddam Hussein and abandon multilateralism, cooperation with international organizations and compromise with allies, all in order to aggrandize American international power and deal expediently with those who challenge it.
News - 12 March 2002
[excerpt] On his way to the Middle East, Vice President Dick Cheney heard strong support Monday from British Prime Minister Tony Blair for widening the U.S.-led war on terrorism to keep weapons of mass destruction out of hostile hands. Both Blair and Cheney signaled a tough stand against Iraq and such weapons, but they were short on specifics. At a joint news conference, Blair said no final decisions had been made on the war's next phase, and Cheney offered no timetable.
Commentary - 12 March 2002
[excerpt] The rules of the nuclear road from the US perspective have never included a flat-out promise never to be the first combatant to resort to nuclear war. During the Cold War, the United States was always prepared to go nuclear to stop a massive, conventional attack from the east in Europe, and before the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein got a stern message that all bets were off if he used chemical or biological weapons. But this is different. This is a plan to use nukes in conventional war-fighting and to maintain a Cold War-sized arsenal by stealth and deception. It is disgraceful.
Editorial - 12 March 2002
[excerpt] If another country were planning to develop a new nuclear weapon and contemplating pre-emptive strikes against a list of non-nuclear powers, Washington would rightly label that nation a dangerous rogue state.
Nuclear weapons are not just another part of the military arsenal. They are different, and lowering the threshold for their use is reckless folly.
News and Analysis - 10 March 2002
[excerpt] ...the Bush administration plan [the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review] reverses an almost two-decade-long trend of relegating nuclear weapons to the category of weapons of last resort.
While downgrading the threat from Russia and publicly emphasizing their commitment to reducing the number of long-range nuclear weapons, Defense Department strategists promote tactical and so-called "adaptive" nuclear capabilities to deal with contingencies where large nuclear arsenals are not demanded. They seek a host of new weapons and support systems, including conventional military and cyber warfare capabilities integrated with nuclear warfare. The end product is a now-familiar post-Afghanistan model--with nuclear capability added. It combines precision weapons, long-range strikes, and special and covert operations. But the NPR's call for development of new nuclear weapons that reduce "collateral damage" myopically ignores the political, moral and military implications--short-term and long--of crossing the nuclear threshold. Under what circumstances might nuclear weapons be used under the new posture? The NPR says they "could be employed against targets able to withstand nonnuclear attack," or in retaliation for the use of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, or "in the event of surprising military developments." Planning nuclear-strike capabilities, it says, involves the recognition of "immediate, potential or unexpected" contingencies. North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya are named as "countries that could be involved" in all three kinds of threat.
...the blueprint laid down in the review would expand the breadth and flexibility of U.S. nuclear capabilities. In addition to the new weapons systems, the review calls for incorporation of "nuclear capability" into many of the conventional systems now under development. In recent months, when Bush administration officials talked about the implications of Sept. 11 for long-term military policy, they have often focused on "homeland defense" and the need for an anti-missile shield. In truth, what has evolved since last year's terror attacks is an integrated, significantly expanded planning doctrine for nuclear wars.
Commentary - 09 March 2002
[excerpt] War without end is likely to have - indeed is already having - profound consequences for the American constitutional system. It tends to produce the very thing that the framers of the Constitution most feared: concentrated, unaccountable political power.
War inevitably produces an exaltation of presidential power. The president is commander in chief of the armed forces - a distinctive feature of the American system - and in wartime people tend to fall in behind the commander. The horror of what happened on Sept. 11 intensifies that instinct. President Bush's high level of public support is not surprising. The danger lies in political use of that wartime popularity.
Commentary - 04 March 2002
[excerpt] Perhaps the least-sound justification [for attacking Iraq] is that the United States would be acting in "preventive self-defense." Supply your own nightmare result of that becoming an acceptable norm of international behavior.
Commentary - 03 March 2002
[excerpt] About 20 prominent Chicagoans gathered recently for a private dinner to hear an emissary from the Eastern Establishment lay out the administration's case for a war on Iraq. It was a conservative crowd--lawyers, business people, bankers, a sprinkling of academics, even a retired army general. All probably supported the war in Afghanistan, and there wasn't a card-carrying dove in the lot. Somewhat to their own surprise, these citizens lined up unanimously against a war on Iraq. All agreed the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein. But all felt that a U.S. attack on him would do more harm than good, for a variety of reasons. First, Hussein's terrorist credentials are pretty theoretical. The idea of attacking him arose after Sept. 11, and the administration has made him a target in the war on terrorism. Certainly, he has a fearsome arsenal of weapons. But there is no evidence that he has used them against the United States or plans to do so. Evil he may be, but few people think he is so crazy as to jeopardize his hold on Iraq--his overwhelming political goal--by inviting an all-out U.S. attack. The one link between Iraq and the September attacks is a reported but unsubstantiated meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, between an Iraqi agent and one of the suicide pilots--a flimsy justification for a pre-emptive war. "Iraq is going to be a major distraction from the war on terrorism, not a part of it," one lawyer said. The Chicagoans' dissent was no bleat of Midwestern isolationism. Just the opposite. All valued America's alliances, in Europe and the Middle East especially, and felt that a unilateral attack on Iraq would shred those alliances, turning the U.S. from a global leader, respected by its allies, into a global bully feared by its subjects. (Seventy-three percent of Americans may favor an attack, but opposition in Europe runs between 68 percent and 80 percent, depending on the poll.)
Commentary - March/April 2002
[excerpt] It is a remarkable phenomenon. In 6 months, since September 11, the focus has shifted completely. It has shifted from the issue of global terrorism to the issue of American policy... Only Europe has the economic and technological base and the commercial might to play a role in disputing America's power -- a role consisting of acting as a counterbalance to this upsurge in American power.
Commentary - 27 February 2002
[excerpt] ...ever since the close of Desert Storm, the U.S. and Britain have been continuously prosecuting armed conflict with Iraq, enforcing no-fly zones and periodically attacking Iraqi targets. The Gulf War, in short, has never ended, and additional action against Iraq would be fully justified based on pre-existing U.N. authorizations.
[Saddam Hussein's] dedicated efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, combined with his open hostility towards the U.S. and its allies, would alone justify American military action against Iraq. Under the international law doctrine of "anticipatory self-defense," states may take preemptive action against an enemy before the actual attack. This longstanding rule was not displaced by the narrower terms of the U.N. Charter... Israel cited this doctrine to justify its 1981 raid on Saddam's nuclear facility in Osirak... Although the right to anticipatory self-defense is narrow in theory -- as Secretary of State Daniel Webster noted in 1842 the need for action must be "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means" -- in practice its use is governed by a rule of reason.
Moreover, a strong U.S. position on the issue of anticipatory self-defense will be critical to our ability to prosecute an effective war against terrorism.
Commentary and Analysis - 21 February 2002
[excerpt] Ever since America's own civil war a fault has been opening in its system of government, steadily through the last century, faster in recent months. Recognising the dangers of uncontrolled war, the US Constitution gives the power to make war to Congress, but the Founding Fathers had in mind the formally declared wars of the 18th century. The Fathers also made the President the US Commander-in-Chief, and this, combined with the claimed need for secrecy, unwittingly empowered Presidents to bypass Congress and conduct war, declared or undeclared as they chose, often for domestic political ends. The most startling case pre-Vietnam was the atomic bomb, about which Congress knew nothing until Harry Truman decided to use it without Congressional approval. Lyndon Johnson, eager to force a favourable settlement in Vietnam, stretched the principle even further, which in turn has cleared the way for George W. Bush to widen the constitutional gap opened for him. The problem is not new. The Senate of ancient Rome, another republic with imperial entanglements, entrusted war-making to a commander-in-chief, the imperator or emperor, whose office became all-powerful, hereditary, and its holder a living god.
Commentary and Analysis - 21 February 2002
[excerpt] The assertion thay 'you're either with us or against us' obviates a central aspect of state sovereignty -- the right not to be involved -- and recasts the US as the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong. The identification of an 'axis of evil' between Iran, Iraq, and North Korea challenges one of the 20th century's greatest achievements: the prohibition of the threat of use of force in international affairs. The aberration may be temporary, but there are reasons to believe that something fundamental has changed.
International law, which necessarily results from the joint law-making efforts of numerous countries, immediately attracts suspicion -- particularly from the Republican Right. Suspicion is heightened by the possibility that international law might provide the means for the Federal Government of the US, whose constitutional powers in the field of foreign relations are considerable, to override the otherwise careful delimitation between its powers and those of the 50 constitutive states. Concern about aggrandisement of Federal powers on the back of international law is most acute with regard to police and criminal justice matters, where the Constitution accords the states a primary role.
Analysis - 19 February 2002
[excerpt] Chinese leaders are increasingly concerned that American bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, not far from China's western borders, will give America a new means to contain China. In the past, Beijing faced U.S. bases in South Korea and Japan to the east, but its western borders appeared secure. This new American presence undermines years of Chinese diplomacy in Central Asia. Beijing's effort began in 1996 with the formation of the "Shanghai Five," continued in 2001 with the revamping of this regional group as the "Shanghai Cooperation Organization" and culminated in July 2001 when Beijing and Moscow signed their friendship treaty. But the war on terror has loosened China's grip on the geostrategic zone to its west. What China fears most is that the United States will soon dominate the Eurasian heartland. Pointing to 13 new U.S. bases in the countries neighboring Afghanistan, [ a recent article in the state-run Renmin Ribao newspaper ] said Washington was intent on "expanding the U.S. military network in the region." Other official organs have echoed this concern. In Chinese eyes, the U.S. military goal is to weaken China. Beijing is worried that if America dominates Central Asia it can isolate China from the trade, empty land and valuable resources of Eurasia, including oil and gas.
News - 15 February 2002
[excerpt] Iraq's main Kurdish parties, key local allies in any US attempt to unseat President Saddam Hussein, have voiced misgivings about taking part in a military action against the Baghdad government. "Everybody is worried," said Rowsch Shaways, president of the Kurdish parliament in the northern enclave, who is visiting London. "In the past few years we have been living in relative stability. We have managed to organise our own affairs." Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party, one of the two main Iraqi Kurdish factions, said: "We will not be ordered by America or any others. We will not be a bargaining chip or tool of pressure to be used against Iraq." His old rival, Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said: "We will not enter adventures whose end is unclear."
Commentary - 13 February 2002
[excerpt] These considerations -- instability, blowback, and above all civilian casualties -- should give us pause as the Bush Administration threatens to expand the war on terrorism to Iraq, Iran, and North Korea... The collateral damage wrought by bombing Afghanistan, we may reluctantly conclude, had the justification that we faced a real threat to our security. Attacks on these other states -- none of which have been shown to have had a part in September 11 -- would kill real people over a putative threat. How could we justify that?
Commentary - 13 February 2002
[excerpt] In 1991 we engaged a grand international coalition because we lacked a domestic coalition. Virtually the entire Democratic leadership stood against that President Bush. The public, too, was divided. This President Bush does not need to amass rinky-dink nations as "coalition partners" to convince the Washington establishment that we're right. Americans of all parties now know we must wage a total war on terrorism.
News - 13 February 2002
[excerpt] During the first eight months of the Bush administration, officials reviewed measures for confronting Iraq, including reinvigorating U.N. sanctions, stepping up support for Iraqi opposition groups and taking direct military action. That assessment had reached senior Bush officials when the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington occurred, prompting the administration to put the review aside. In recent weeks, as planners began looking beyond the war in Afghanistan, the interagency discussion resumed, officials said.
News - 13 February 2002
[excerpt] Between now and May, Mr. Bush's team plans to create what amounts to an inspection crisis, demanding that Iraq admit into the country the nuclear inspectors it ousted in 1998. Mr. Bush's aides fully expect that Mr. Hussein will refuse outright or feign cooperation in the hope of dragging out the process. Mr. Bush's plan is to use either action as evidence that Iraq is hiding active weapons programs, and use its resistance to justify more forceful action. Whether that takes the form of direct military attack, support for internal rebellions, or other options "is still up in the air," a senior White House official said today.
[excerpt] Though the war itself yielded a swift military victory against the Taliban, the aftermath vindicates many of our doubts about policies foreign and domestic. America has not yet attacked Baghdad, but influential people in the administration think we should. The Bush administration has framed the security threat so broadly as to yield what every quasi-dictator craves -- a state, seemingly, of permanent low-level warfare that frightens the citizenry and trumps dissent. Now, emboldened by military triumph and by bloated public opinion polls, President Bush has stumbled. By lumping Iraq, Iran, and North Korea together with Al Qaeda as an "axis of evil," Bush has managed to create an equally improbable axis of worry about America's reliability if not our sanity. As a Frenchman, Antoine Boulay, famously said after zealous revolutionaries executed a popular duke, this was "worse than a crime; it was a blunder." Blunder comes from swagger. Not only has Bush set back the process of detente in Korea; he has done something the ayatollahs were unable to do -- given new life to the anti-American hard-liners in Iran.
Source - 12 February 2002
[excerpt] Since the State of the Union, there has been much discussion of whether Iraq, Iran and North Korea truly constitute an "Axis of Evil." As far as I'm concerned, there really is something to be said for occasionally putting diplomacy aside and laying one's cards on the table. There is value in calling evil by its name.
And there is a clear case that one of these governments in particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq. As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that government should be on the table. To my way of thinking, the real question is not the principle of the thing, but of making sure that this time we will finish the matter on our terms. But finishing it on our terms means more than a change of regime in Iraq. It means thinking through the consequences of action there on our other vital interests, including the survival in office of Pakistan's leader; avoiding a huge escalation of violence in the Middle East; provision for the security and interests of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Gulf States; having a workable plan for preventing the disintegration of Iraq into chaos; and sustaining critically important support within the present coalition.
Commentary - 11 February 2002
[excerpt] The already fragile distinction between war and crime disappeared last September. We are now trying to fight terrorism with traditional weapons of war. But terrorism is not war; it is crime on a mass scale.
News - 08 February 2002
[excerpt] A heated diplomatic campaign waged by the United States and Israel against Iran and its Lebanese protege, Hizbullah, could have an unintended and potentially destabilizing backlash. Instead of cowing Tehran and its Islamist allies, the verbal salvoes and Israel's hardline policies against the Palestinians are providing encouragement and inspiration to Hizbullah and radical Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The result could be a new explosion of violence in the Middle East.
News - 07 February 2002
[excerpt] PARIS: Frustration with President George W. Bush's world view burst into the open here Wednesday as Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine openly criticized Washington's approach to terrorism as "simplistic." "Today we are threatened by a new simplistic approach that reduces all the problems in the world to the struggle against terrorism," Mr. Vedrine said during a lengthy interview on France-Inter radio. "This is not well thought out." Mr. Vedrine suggested that Europeans would need to speak out more and more because they faced a United States that acted "unilaterally, without consulting others, taking decisions based on its own view of the world and its own interests."
Many leaders are drawing a sharp distinction between attacks on Afghanistan, justified as self-defense, and attacks on other countries like Iraq or Iran and North Korea, countries that Mr. Bush dubbed part of an "axis of evil" that threatened the world. Mr. Vedrine's comments may be the harshest yet, but other European leaders have also begun to distance themselves from Washington. Even Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, Washington's leading partner in the war in Afghanistan, has cautioned against any military strike against Iraq unless a clear connection is found between Baghdad and the Sept. 11 attacks. On visit to Washington last week, the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, dismissed Mr. Bush's speech as political grandstanding. He said the speech was "best understood by the fact that there are midterm congressional elections in November." Over the weekend, Defense Minister Rudolf Sharping of Germany said he favored a political strategy for dealing with Iraq rather than a military one. The deputy foreign minister, Ludger Volmer, took a harsher line, flatly denying that there was any evidence that Iraq had been involved in recent terrorism. He warned that the United States should not use talk of terrorism to settle old scores with Iran. On Tuesday the European Union got in the game, saying it would resist making an enemy of Iran in the widening war on global terrorism. European diplomats said that by lumping Iraq, Iran and North Korea together as rogue states, Mr. Bush was ignoring Europe's view that engagement was a way to support Iranian moderates. The Spanish foreign minister, Josep Pique, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said at a news conference in Madrid that the 15-country bloc would be seek "maximum cooperation" with Iran on trade, the fight against terrorism and human rights. "We profoundly respect the opinions of the administration, our principal ally in every respect," Mr. Pique said of the White House after talks with the visiting Iranian deputy foreign minister, Ali Ahani. But, he said, at the same time, members of the European Union "think that it is very important to support the process of reform" in Iran.
In his remarks Wednesday, Mr. Vedrine said there were basic differences in the way France and the United States saw the world. France wants rules that applied to equally to everyone and where decisions were made in consultation with others, the foreign minister said, but the United States does not want to be encumbered by any international accords and intends to do what is in its best interest. "This is more clear than ever," Mr. Vedrine said. "It poses a serious problem." Mr. Vedrine asserted that Washington's single-minded drive to broaden the war was wrongheaded because it failed to consider the root of terrorism. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday shrugged off the seriousness of the growing foreign policy feud between the United States and the European countries, Agence France-Presse reported from Washington. "This suggestion that you sometimes see in intellectual circles that the United States is acting unilaterally and not consulting with our European partners simply could not be further from the truth," Mr. Powell told the House International Relations Committee. But he said that the United States would not sacrifice its own interests in the pursuit of multilateralism. "We believe in multilateralism," Secretary Powell said. "But when it is a matter of principle and when the multilateral community does not agree with us, we do not shrink from doing that which we think is right, which is in our interest even if some of our friends disagree with us."
News - 06 February 2002
[excerpt] Democrats questioned yesterday whether President Bush's defense budget would give him too much room to expand the war on terrorism without consulting Congress.
Holding up a copy of the Constitution, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat, asked how far the war on terror might be taken after Afghanistan. "Yes, Mr. Bush is the commander in chief, but take a look at this Constitution ... a look also at the congressional powers," said Byrd, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Commentary - 05 February 2002
[excerpt] When President Bush declared his readiness to attack the "axis of evil," it mattered less that there is no such axis among the three named states than that in the face of such bluster they now have a reason to create one.
The war against terrorism requires far subtler responses than the Pentagon sledgehammer. Adding weight to the hammerhead at the cost of billions will not make us safer from anthrax psychopaths or suicidal fanatics. But it may lead to something worse.
The coming military buildup, irrelevant to terrorism, may lead instead to the creation of a monster that can indeed oppose us. It happened before. "Inexperience and emotional instability," together with the puerile thrill of power, rampant moralism, and supreme arrogance - there is an axis to fear.
News - 05 February 2002
[excerpt] A senior adviser to United States Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld indicated war with Iraq was likely even if Baghdad backs down and allows inspectors back in to hunt for weapons of mass destruction, according to an interview on Monday. "I don't think there's anything (Iraqi leader) Saddam Hussein could do that would convince us there's no longer any danger coming from Iraq," said Richard Perle, head of the Defense Policy Board of the US Department of Defence... Perle, quoted in an interview with the German edition of the Financial Times at the Munich Security Conference, said the only thing that would convince the US regarding Iraq would be a change of regime. US President George W. Bush was now on "a very clear path" heading toward war with Iraq, said Perle...
Commentary - 05 February 2002
[excerpt] If the United States is fortunate, Bush's State of the Union bombast about the "axis of evil" will go down simply as a mistake z a threat that wasn't followed through on (as were many of Bill Clinton's threats), and which will be forgotten as the administration pursues the liquidation of the Al Qaeda networks. But if Bush follows through and starts wars against Iraq and Iran, the United States will find itself without real allies, encountering massive anti-American demonstrations in Europe and throughout the world, and a significant reduction in the quality of anti-terrorist police and intelligence cooperation it now receives from other nations. Much of the world will perceive the war not as legitimate self-defense against a terrorist enemy, but as an act of destabilizing anti-Islamic aggression America is pursuing for its own twisted reasons. Could Osama bin Laden ask for anything more?
News - 04 February 2002
News - 03 February 2002
[excerpt] A parade of European security officials expressed alarm today about what they considered an aggressive, go-it-alone stance staked out by President Bush in his State of the Union address last week, especially his warning that the United States was prepared to take preemptive action against Iraq or other countries that provide terrorists with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. The U.S. delegation to an international security conference here responded to their concerns with bipartisan unity. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) and a host of other foreign policy heavyweights urged the Europeans to get with the American program and faulted them for a lack of urgency in combating terrorism.
Editorial - 03 February 2002
[excerpt] President Bush committed a gratuitous blunder in his State of the Union address Tuesday night when he lumped together the disparate regimes in North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as "an axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world." The least of the errors embedded in this rhetoric was its evocation of America's enemies in World War II: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and imperial Japan. Those three states did form an aggressive axis against the United States and its allies. The contemporary regimes Bush castigated in his State of the Union speech are not allies and have nothing in common with the states ruled by Hitler, Mussolini, and Emperor Hirohito. Far worse than his mangling of history was Bush's intimation that North Korea, Iran, and Iraq, despite their unmistakable differences, ought to be treated as though they represent three versions of the same threat.
If Bush seriously intends to have Saddam Hussein removed from power in Iraq, the last thing he should be doing is assisting Saddam in his current charm offensive with Iraq's neighbors, Iran above all. By speaking of those two bitter foes as if both are now equal targets of American wrath, Bush obtusely played into the hands of both Saddam and the Iranian hard-liners. Sounding tough is not the same as acting smart.
Commentary - 02 February 2002
[excerpt] [President Bush] repeats that permanent mobilization of the American nation is required, as well as greatly increased military spending. The alarmist language of Mr. Bush's address and its identification of the enemy in metaphysical, rather than political, terms (the enemy is "evil," not a band of terrorists, or several foreign governments) were consistent with all that the White House already has said about the terrorist threat. Once again, though, the president has persisted in giving the Islamists what they presumably most want: admission of American vulnerability and recognition of themselves as America's greatest challenge
There is something fake, or faintly Orwellian, in Washington's insistence that the threat is immense, that mobilization must be permanent, that the military budget be vastly increased, that civil liberties be restricted and that critics be chided as unpatriotic. There is something wrong here. The threat and the reaction don't match. The greed and corruption that went into the Enron affair is a bigger threat to the United States than Osama bin Laden will ever be, and I would think most Americans, in their hearts, know it.
Commentary - 01 February 2002
[excerpt] [This is the] first time since the end of the Cold War we have been presented with the ideological basis and fully developed self-referential framework for the policy of permanent global interventionism.
[Antecedents] [September 2001] [October 2001] [November 2001] [December 2001] [January 2002] [February/March 2002] [April/May 2002] [June/July 2002] [Most Recent]
The Project on Defense Alternatives, The Commonwealth Institute
Copyright © The Commonwealth Institute. All Rights Reserved.