Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bush Flunks Foreign Policy 101

Columbia's Prof. Robert Jervis put forth a theory many years ago, which is standard reading in foreign policy, that distinguishes between firmness and bullying by nations. When your opponents perceive firmness, their aggressive actions are "deterred," as in the Cold War and WWII. But when firmness turns into bullying, opponents are frightened into building their own deterrents against you, the Jervis "spiral." It's called the Spiral vs. Deterrence Theory, and Iran is behaving EXACTLY AS THE THEORY PREDICTS. It is intent on building the bomb to avoid being the next Iraq, and threatening to unleash waves of suicide bombers. By attacking Iraq, supposedly to prevent weapons of mass destruction from spreading, Bush wound up spreading weapons of mass destruction. Being president is not for simplistic thinkers. On your next vacation print out and take this long article "Why the Bush Doctrine Cannot Be Sustained" by Robert Jervis. Be warned: you might come home smarter, and ready to debate foreign policy with anyone. From the article:
"Bush calls Iraq "the central front" in the counterterrorist effort, and he rhetorically asks, If America were not fighting terrorists in Iraq, . . . what would these thousands of killers do, suddenly begin leading productive lives of service and charity? I join many observers in finding this line of argument implausible and in believing that the war was, at best, a distraction from the struggle against al Qaeda. To start with, diplomatic, military, and intelligence resources that could have been used to seek out terrorists, especially in Afghanistan, were redeployed against Iraq. In perhaps an extreme case, in June of2002, the White House vetoed a plan to attack a leading terrorist and his poison laboratory in northern Iraq because it might have disturbed the efforts to build a domestic and international coalition to change the regime, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi later emerged as the most important insurgent in Iraq and second only to Osama bin Laden on the overall most-wanted list."


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