Bush Administration Cranks Up The Fear With Reference To Iran And 9/11...

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. Bolton compares Iran threat to Sept 11 attacks

    By Evelyn Leopold and Irwin ArieffWed Mar 15, 7:59 PM ET

    The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, on Wednesday compared the threat from Iran's nuclear programs to the September 11 terror attacks on the United States.

    "Just like September 11, only with nuclear weapons this time, that's the threat. I think that is the threat," Bolton told ABC News' Nightline program.

    "I think it's just facing reality. It's not a happy reality, but it's reality and if you don't deal with it, it will become even more unpleasant."

    Bolton ratcheted up the rhetoric as the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council failed again to reach agreement on how to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions after a fifth round of negotiations.

    Russia and China are resisting proposals from Britain, France and the United States for a council statement that would express "serious concern" about Iran's nuclear program and asks it to comply with demands from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The statement does not threaten sanctions.

    At the same time foreign ministry officials from the five powers and Germany are considering meeting in New York on Monday to review strategy, diplomats said. Russia had previously proposed such talks in Vienna, seat of the IAEA.

    China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, said his country and Russia still had problems with a proposal that the IAEA be asked to report to the Security Council within 14 days on any progress Iran has made toward meeting the U.N. nuclear watchdog's demands.

    Russia and China view the reporting requirement as shifting the focus of the Iran dossier from the IAEA to the Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions. They would like any report on Iran's compliance to go directly to the 35-nation IAEA governing board.

    "We are still discussing," Wang told Reuters after the hour-long session at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, adding that he did not consider the talks deadlocked.

    The negotiations shift to the full Security Council on Thursday when all 15 of its members are to meet for a second time to discuss the draft drawn up by France and Britain.


    The draft statement also calls on Iran "to re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development" that the IAEA would verify.

    It asks Iran to reconsider building a heavy-water nuclear reactor in Arak, which is more suitable for producing fuel for nuclear weapons than a light-water reactor.

    A council statement needs to be approved by all 15 members, while a resolution requires nine votes in favor and no veto from any of the permanent members. If the impasse continues, the West could try to force Russia and China into the uncomfortable position of having to consider a resolution.

    "Whether it is a statement or a resolution we haven't decided," Bolton said.

    "We're trying to hold the permanent five together first but reality is reality and time is an important factor, given that the Iranians continue to progress toward overcoming their technological difficulties in enriching uranium."

    The 10 nonpermanent members of the Security Council, which rotate for two-year terms, are: Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Japan, Tanzania, Congo Republic, Ghana, Peru, Qatar and Slovakia.
  2. Bush to Restate Terror Strategy
    2002 Doctrine of Preemptive War To Be Reaffirmed

    By Peter Baker
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, March 16, 2006; A01

    President Bush plans to issue a new national security strategy today reaffirming his doctrine of preemptive war against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, despite the troubled experience in Iraq.

    The long-overdue document, an articulation of U.S. strategic priorities that is required by law, lays out a robust view of America's power and an assertive view of its responsibility to bring change around the world. On topics including genocide, human trafficking and AIDS, the strategy describes itself as "idealistic about goals and realistic about means."

    The strategy expands on the original security framework developed by the Bush administration in September 2002, before the invasion of Iraq. That strategy shifted U.S. foreign policy away from decades of deterrence and containment toward a more aggressive stance of attacking enemies before they attack the United States.

    The preemption doctrine generated fierce debate at the time, and many critics believe the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq fatally undermined an essential assumption of the strategy -- that intelligence about an enemy's capabilities and intentions can be sufficient to justify preventive war.

    In his revised version, Bush offers no second thoughts about the preemption policy, saying it "remains the same" and defending it as necessary for a country in the "early years of a long struggle" akin to the Cold War. In a nod to critics in Europe, the document places a greater emphasis on working with allies and declares diplomacy to be "our strong preference" in tackling the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

    "If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," the document continues. "When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize."

    Such language could be seen as provocative at a time when the United States and its European allies have brought Iran before the U.N. Security Council to answer allegations that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons. At a news conference in January, Bush described an Iran with nuclear arms as a "grave threat to the security of the world."

    Some security specialists criticized the continued commitment to preemption. "Preemption is and always will be a potentially useful tool, but it's not something you want to trot out and throw in everybody's face," said Harlan Ullman, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "To have a strategy on preemption and make it central is a huge error."

    A military attack against Iran, for instance, could be "foolish," Ullman said, and it would be better to seek other ways to influence its behavior. "I think most states are deterrable."

    Thomas Donnelly, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has written on the 2002 strategy, said the 2003 invasion of Iraq in the strict sense is not an example of preemptive war, because it was preceded by 12 years of low-grade conflict and was essentially the completion of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Still, he said, recent problems there contain lessons for those who would advocate preemptive war elsewhere. A military strike is not enough, he said; building a sustainable, responsible state in place of a rogue nation is the real challenge.

    "We have to understand preemption -- it's not going to be simply a preemptive strike," he said. "That's not the end of the exercise but the beginning of the exercise."

    The White House plans to release the 49-page National Security Strategy today, starting with a speech by national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley to the U.S. Institute of Peace. The White House gave advance copies to The Washington Post and three other newspapers.

    The strategy has no legal force of its own but serves as a guidepost for agencies and officials drawing up policies in a range of military, diplomatic and other arenas. Although a 1986 law requires that the strategy be revised annually, this is the first new version since 2002. "I don't think it's a change in strategy," Hadley said in an interview. "It's an updating of where we are with the strategy, given the time that's passed and the events that have occurred."

    But the new version of the strategy underscores in a more thematic way Bush's desire to make the spread of democracy the fundamental underpinning of U.S. foreign policy, as he expressed in his second inaugural address last year. The opening words of the strategy, in fact, are lifted from that speech: "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

    The strategy commits the administration to speaking out against human rights abuses, holding high-level meetings at the White House with reformers from repressive nations, using foreign aid to support elections and civil society, and applying sanctions against oppressive governments. It makes special mention of religious intolerance, subjugation of women and human trafficking.

    At the same time, it acknowledges that "elections alone are not enough" and sometimes lead to undesirable results. "These principles are tested by the victory of Hamas candidates in the recent elections in the Palestinian territories," the strategy says, referring to the radical group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States.

    Without saying what action would be taken against them, the strategy singles out seven nations as prime examples of "despotic systems" -- North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma and Zimbabwe. Iran and North Korea receive particular attention because of their nuclear programs, and the strategy vows in both cases "to take all necessary measures" to protect the United States against them.

    "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," the document says, echoing a statement made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week. It recommits to efforts with European allies to pressure Tehran to give up any aspirations of nuclear weapons, then adds ominously: "This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided."

    The language about confrontation is not repeated with North Korea, which says it already has nuclear bombs, an assertion believed by U.S. intelligence. But Pyongyang is accused of a "bleak record of duplicity and bad-faith negotiations," as well as of counterfeiting U.S. currency, trafficking in drugs and starving its own people.

    The strategy offers a much more skeptical view of Russia than in 2002, when the glow of Bush's friendship with President Vladimir Putin was still bright.

    "Recent trends regrettably point toward a diminishing commitment to democratic freedoms and institutions," it says. "We will work to try to persuade the Russian Government to move forward, not backward, along freedom's path."

    It also warns China that "it must act as a responsible stakeholder that fulfills its obligations" and guarantee political freedom as well as economic freedom. "Our strategy," the document says, "seeks to encourage China to make the right strategic choices for its people, while we hedge against other possibilities."

    To assuage allies antagonized by Bush's go-it-alone style in his first term, the White House stresses alliance and the use of what it calls "transformational diplomacy" to achieve change. At the same time, it asserts that formal structures such as the United Nations or NATO may at times be less effective than "coalitions of the willing," or groups responding to particular situations, such as the Asian tsunami of 2004.

    Beyond the military response to terrorism, the document emphasizes the need to fight the war of ideas against Islamic radicals whose anti-American rhetoric has won wide sympathy in parts of the world.

    The strategy also addresses topics largely left out of the 2002 version, including a section on genocide and a new chapter on global threats such as avian influenza, AIDS, environmental destruction and natural disasters. Critics have accused the administration of not doing enough to stop genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, responding too slowly to the Asian tsunami and disregarding global environmental threats such as climate change.
  3. March 16, 2006
    Updated Strategy Backs Iraq Strike and Cites Iran Peril

    WASHINGTON, March 15 — An updated version of the Bush administration's national security strategy, the first in more than three years, gives no ground on the decision to order a pre-emptive attack on Iraq in 2003, and identifies Iran as the country likely to present the single greatest future challenge to the United States.

    The strategy document declares that American-led diplomacy to halt Iran's program to enrich nuclear fuel "must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided," a near final draft of the document says. But it carefully avoids spelling out what steps the United States might take if diplomacy fails, and it makes no such direct threat of confrontation with North Korea, which boasts that it has already developed nuclear weapons.

    When asked about the omission in an interview today, Stephen J. Hadley, President Bush's national security adviser and the principal author of the new report, said "the sentence applies to both Iran and North Korea."

    The 48-page draft of the new "National Security Strategy of the United States," which was released by the White House before a formal presentation by Mr. Hadley on Thursday, is an effort to both expand on and assess the security strategy published by the administration in September 2002, a year after the terrorist attacks against New York and the Pentagon upended American foreign policy.

    But in a reflection of new challenges, the document also covers territory that the first strategy sidestepped, warning China, for example, against "old ways of thinking and acting" in its competition for energy resources.

    China's leaders, it says, are "expanding trade, but acting as if they can somehow 'lock up' energy supplies around the world or seek to direct markets rather than opening them up — as if they can follow a mercantilism borrowed from a discredited era."

    No such discussion appears in the earlier version of the strategy, and Mr. Hadley said the warning was an effort to get China's leaders to think about "the broader constellation" of their interests.

    In a reflection of growing tensions between Washington and Moscow, the administration also expresses deep worry that Russia is falling off the path to democracy that Mr. Bush spent much of his first term celebrating.

    "Recent trends regrettably point toward a diminishing commitment to democratic freedoms and institutions," the document reads. In a much tougher tone than the 2002 document, it emphasizes that the future of the relationship with Russia "will depend on the policies, foreign and domestic, that Russia adopts."

    Mr. Hadley, who was the deputy to Condoleezza Rice, who was the national security adviser when the 2002 document was produced, said the effort was not intended to formulate new strategy, but to "take stock of what has been accomplished and describe the new challenges we face."

    He noted, for example, that dealing with economic globalization — a subject the administration rarely talked about directly until recently — constituted a new chapter, and that in other areas "we've learned something over the past four years."

    But chief among the sections that remain unchanged is the most controversial section of the 2002 strategy: the elevation of pre-emptive strikes to a central part of United States strategy.

    "The world is better off if tyrants know that they pursue W.M.D. at their own peril," the strategy says. It acknowledges misjudgments about Iraq's weapons program that preceded the invasion three years ago, but it is clearly unwilling to give ground on that decision. The report notes that "there will always be some uncertainty about the status of hidden programs since proliferators are often brutal regimes that go to great lengths to conceal their activities."

    While the new document hews to many of the administration's familiar themes, it contains changes that seem born of bitter experience. Throughout the document there is talk of the need for "effective democracies," a code phrase, some of its drafters said, for countries that do not just hold free elections but also build democratic institutions and spread their benefits to their populations. "I don't think there was as much of an appreciation of the need for that in 2002," one senior official said.

    The new document is also less ideological in tone, and far more country-specific. Syria, for example, received no mention in the older document, but it is cited as a sponsor of terrorism in this one.

    Mr. Hadley and other officials said that in using the word "confrontation" the administration did not intend to signal a greater willingness to use military force against Iran's nuclear production sites. But it did indicate a willingness to step up pressure against Iranian leaders, including the threat of penalties that the United States is pressing in the United Nations Security Council.

    Even as the White House edited the final drafts of the strategy, the House International Relations Committee voted 37 to 3 for legislation to end American economic aid to any country that invests in Iran's energy sector. The administration has opposed the bill out of concern that it would interfere with efforts to form a common front against Iran in the Security Council.

    Still, the wording of the warning about confrontation with Iran comes just two pages after the strategy reiterates the 2002 warning that the United States reserves the right to take "anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack." The juxtaposition is unlikely to be lost on Iran's leaders.

    Sections of the new document discuss at greater length the need to strengthen alliances, with specific references to supporting NATO and reforming the United Nations.

    Following Mr. Bush's new push to ward off what he has called a dangerous shift toward isolationism, there is a section that refers to the need to "engage the opportunities and confront the challenges of globalization," a word that did not appear in the 2002 document.

    The passage hails the "new flows of trade, investment, information and technology," which it says are transforming national security in every area from the spread of H.I.V./AIDS to avian flu to "environmental destruction, whether caused by human behavior or cataclysmic megadisasters such as flood, hurricanes, earthquakes or tsunamis." It stays away from the subject of global warming.