Monday, November 15, 2004

Will "necons" prevail, again, or, is it Poppy's turn?

Will the "neocons" prevail, again, or, is it Poppy's turn this time around?

With the U.S. election over (sort of) and Arafat under the ground, the question now becomes: Will Bush remain in the "neocon" camp inhabited by Frank Gaffney and his war mongering Sharonite cohorts or, will he finally listen to Poppy who is sending another public message through Brent Scowcroft to his kid? (both articles follow)

As you may or may not recall, the first public message sent by Poppy to his kid was also an article by Brent Scowcroft published in the Wash Post suggesting he go to the U.N. before charging into Iraq unilaterally.

The approach to foreign policy described by Mr. Scowcroft stands in sharp contrast to the one espoused by Cheney, Gaffney, Wolfowitz and their war mongering cohorts.

In his press conference with Tony-the-Poodle who had been pushing him on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Bush signaled he would turn his full attention to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which he largely ignored during his first term.

However, when asked for further details it was the same old chant "the Palestinians MUST....."

``I intend to use the next four years to spend the capital of the United States on such a state,'' Bush said. ``I think it is possible.''

But Palestinian political analyst Ali Jarbawi said any attempt by Bush to impose a solution would fail.

``Bush will make the Palestinians swallow whatever Sharon wants them to swallow,'' he said. ``He can be effective only if he changes course with his policies. But if they remain the same, he will not achieve much."

As for Gaffney, he couches his WAR mongering approach in "appreciation of freedom" that translates into getting rid of Mideast leaders and other evildoers:

November 05, 2004, 10:20 a.m.

Worldwide Value - Bush’s appreciation of freedom shapes his foreign policy by Frank J. Gaffney

According to the exit polls, George W. Bush owes his victory to the priority attached by millions of voters to "moral values." This somewhat nebulous term is said to have trumped terrorism, Iraq, and the economy as a driving force behind the turnout — and the outcome.

Inevitably, some of President Bush's critics (possibly on the right, and certainly on the left, once they recover from the electoral-shock trauma)will interpret this finding insidiously: They will assert that the president's conduct of the war on terror and, in particular, his efforts to consolidate the liberation of Iraq do not enjoy the popular mandate accorded to his social conservative agenda. We will be told, at the very least, that W. won despite his handling of the war, thanks to the help of the evangelical Christians and like-minded folks who turned out for other reasons.

Don't believe it for a minute. Such contentions would miss the point of this election almost as much as John Kerry did.

The reality is that the same moral principles that underpinned the Bush appeal on "values" issues like gay marriage, stem-cell research, and the right to life were central to his vision of U.S. war aims and foreign policy. Indeed, the president laid claim squarely to the ultimate moral value — freedom — as the cornerstone of his strategy for defeating our Islamofascist enemies and their state sponsors, for whom that concept is utterly anathema.

It follows, then, that among those who deserve credit for shaping this stunning triumph of American virtues and values are the much-maligned "neoconservatives" and their friends, who have been responsible for helping Bush design and execute his wartime agenda. Special recognition and thanks are thus accorded, for example, to: Vice President Dick Cheney and key members of his staff (including Lewis "Scooter" Libby, John Hannah, and David Wurmser); the National Security Council's Condoleezza Rice, Robert Joseph, and Elliott Abrams; the Defense Department's Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and William Luti; and the State Department's John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, and Paula DeSutter. These people — and too many others — have helped the president imprint moral values on American security policy in a way and to an extent not seen since Ronald Reagan's first term.

The important thing now, of course, is not simply to acknowledge past achievements, but to build upon them. This will require, among other things:

The reduction in detail of Fallujah and other safe havens utilized by freedom's enemies in Iraq — a necessary precondition not only to holding elections there next year, but to the establishment of institutions essential to a functioning and stable democracy;

Regime change — one way or another — in Iran and North Korea, the only hope for preventing these remaining "Axis of Evil" states from fully realizing their terrorist and nuclear ambitions;

Providing the substantially increased resources needed to re-equip a transforming military and rebuild human-intelligence capabilities (minus, if at all possible, the sorts of intelligence "reforms" contemplated pre-election that would make matters worse on this and other scores) while we fight World War IV;

Providing, to the fullest extent possible, for the protection of our homeland — including the adoption of sensible policies on securing our borders and contending with illegal aliens, and by deploying effective missile defenses at sea and in space, as well as ashore;

Keeping faith with Israel, whose destruction remains a priority for the same people who want to destroy us (and for the same reasons — i.e., our shared, "moral values") — especially in the face of Yasser Arafat's demise and the inevitable, post-election pressure to "solve" the Mideast problem by forcing the Israelis to abandon defensible boundaries;

Contending with the underlying dynamic that made France and Germany so problematic in the first term: namely, their willingness to make common cause with our enemies for profit, and their desire to employ a united Europe and its new constitution — as well as other international institutions and mechanisms — to thwart the expansion and application of American power where deemed necessary by Washington;

Adapting appropriate strategies for contending with China's increasingly fascistic trade and military policies, Vladimir Putin's accelerating authoritarianism at home and aggressiveness toward the former Soviet republics, the worldwide spread of Islamofascism, and the emergence of a number of aggressively anti-American regimes in Latin America.

These items do not represent some sort of neocon "imperialist" game plan. Rather, they constitute a checklist of the work the world will demand of this president and his subordinates in a second term.

None of these priorities will be easy or painless. All will require of President Bush a readiness to incur political costs and to assume risks far in excess of those his handlers were comfortable running before the election.

Yet President Bush has amply demonstrated his willingness to take such risks. More to the point, he appears to fully appreciate that his values, America's long-term strategic interests, and his electoral mandate allow him to do no less.

By redoubling his administration's efforts along these lines, President George W. Bush will not only be making the world less dangerous for America and her vital interests. He will also be doing so in a way that is consistent with our country's moral values, the stuff of which history — not just consequential elections and presidencies — is made.

— Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is an NRO contributor and president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington.<< Meantime, back at the ranch, Poppy sends a much less confrontational message:

Wash Post - Friday, November 12, 2004

A Middle East Opening By Brent Scowcroft

With a hard-fought election behind us, the United States is now free to refocus its energies on the myriad problems that have a direct impact on its security and destiny. Nowhere do those problems press more insistently on our vital interests than in the Middle East.

The region has been changed forever by the decision to go into Iraq. The debate about the timing and rationale for the war is behind us, but the continued presence of U.S. forces, and changes in the regional balance of power, mean that we no longer have the luxury of treating Middle East policy as a series of unrelated events running on separate calendars. We face the need for simultaneous actions to avoid failed states while reducing the incentives to violence and instability that threaten America and friendly states throughout the region.

Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Iran and terrorism are parts of a whole and can only be satisfactorily engaged as such. To cut through this Gordian knot will require not only a new approach but the deep, sustained commitment of the United States and a significant investment of the president's attention.

But American resolve will not suffice without the willing engagement of other states, especially those of Europe and the region itself. Our appeal to the Europeans, with whom our differences over the Middle East have been significant, must be based on reaching out to them on the Palestinian peace process and Iran, and soliciting their help on Iraq. Similarly, we need to ensure that the Arab states are substantive participants in finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and we must engage them more fully in securing Iraq's future.

The goal we seek in Iraq is to create a secure environment in which reconstruction of the economy can vigorously get underway and national reconciliation can proceed. Unpalatable though it may be, the reality is that providing such an environment in a reasonable time frame will require a larger coalition force than is currently deployed there. This force increment must come either from our own already stretched military or from our friends and allies.

Comfortably reelected, President Bush is in an excellent position to renew his appeal for a greater international presence in Iraq. The leaders of Europe and the Arab world surely recognize -- even if their publics may not -- that a failed Iraq would affect their countries every bit as seriously as it would the United States. As evidenced by the NATO deployment in Afghanistan, our allies are also stretched thin. But European willingness to provide even a modest nucleus of troops could provide inducement and cover for other states, especially Muslim ones, to make militarily meaningful contributions. This would also serve to reduce the profile of the United States in Iraq but, it must be emphasized, would not -- and should not -- provide any near-term basis for reducing our own forces.

This essential step in Iraq needs to be accompanied by a U.S. undertaking to revitalize the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Yasser Arafat has passed from the scene. His death represents a sea change in the Palestinian situation and, as the president has remarked, "an opening for peace." Both the United States and Israel have refused to deal with Arafat. The United States must seize this unique opportunity to make a decisive move.

The president should add substance to his commitment to an independent Palestinian state. It must include steps to provide security to Israel and to give the Palestinians the ability and means to construct a viable political entity free from the crushing presence of Israeli troops. The United States should insist that Israel stop construction of its wall on the West Bank and mirror its withdrawal from Gaza with the evacuation of the West Bank. In return, the wall and Israeli troops would be replaced by an international force, principally European or perhaps NATO troops.

The Palestinians should be pressed to take urgent measures to replace Arafat with political leadership that is both willing and able to undertake responsible negotiations and deliver on its commitments. Arab friends, notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco, should provide vital guidance, encouragement and support.

The "road map" plan of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations should be revived and fortified by the actions I've described and vigorously pushed by its sponsors to final settlement. The outlines of such a settlement have, by the otherwise unfortunate stagnation of the process, become much less contested. A unified Jerusalem would serve as capital to both peoples. While the "right of return" could be left as a principle, the reality is that most Palestinian refugees will remain outside Israel, just as most Jewish settlers will return to Israel. A donor pool may need to be organized to provide compensation for both groups. Border rectifications would be necessary to compensate for the settlement solution and would complete the package.

Substantial, visible progress on the Palestinian issue would significantly improve the atmosphere in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, including Iran, the third side of this triangle of tension and violence. The United States has three objectives with respect to Iran: a cessation of any moves toward nuclear proliferation; cooperation that contributes actively to stability in the Persian Gulf and in Iraq; and Iranian restraint on Hezbollah and other radical groups. To obtain these goals -- and encourage European cooperation -- the United States must take several initiatives.

To begin, it should modify its attitude toward the British-French-German negotiations with Iran over its pursuit of uranium enrichment capabilities. We should actively embrace the European position, urge the Russians to join us and jointly approach Iran. Such an approach would support Iranian efforts to develop nuclear power, including the offer of an ensured supply of nuclear reactor fuel (low enriched uranium) at concessionary prices -- or even gratis -- in exchange for a comprehensive, verifiable freeze of Iran's uranium enrichment program.

Iran not only has strong interests in the future of Iraq but a powerful influence through its religious connections to the Shiite majority there. We should engage Iran about the future of Iraq, comparing our separate perspectives and emphasizing our joint interests. In that regard, the multilateral discussions over Iraq scheduled later this month at Sharm el-Sheikh should become the start of a dialogue, with U.N. participation. Those discussions could be broadened to include a Gulf security group of nations, blessed and supported by the United States. This could serve to assuage Iran's security concerns and temper its urge to acquire a nuclear capability.

Finally, the United States should indicate a willingness to modify its sanctions regime and thereby its relationship to Iran, were Iran willing to restrain Hezbollah and exercise its influence over other extremist groups. This would greatly minimize the risk that violence and other radical disruptions would hinder the Palestinian peace process.

The stakes are high. Progress in the region, in addition to being extremely critical for its own sake, holds the promise of making a substantial and lasting contribution to the war on terrorism.

The writer was national security adviser under presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. He is founder and president of the Forum for International Policy.