The Bush administration believes that a regime change in Iraq will revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In his speech at the American Enterprise Institute, George W. Bush argued that toppling Saddam Hussein will deprive Palestinian suicide bombers of a wealthy patron, which will alleviate the threat of terrorism in Israel and allow for the rise of a democratic Palestinian government that strives for peace. The president promises "to seize every opportunity in pursuit of peace. And the end of the present regime in Iraq would create such an opportunity." He would be wise to start now.
The administration seems to be establishing a new corporate model for post-war reconstruction efforts. There has been some talk about involving the United Nations in these efforts. But the administration is putting their money in a very different place. "At least to start, we intend to handle the big jobs ourselves," a senior administration official said. They have put almost all the emphasis and funding for humanitarian relief and reconstruction efforts in corporate hands: $1.5 billion in contracts to private companies, while only $50 million has gone to a small number of non-governmental groups. Officials intend to use Iraq's oil revenues and funds seized from Saddam Hussien's bank accounts to fund these corporate contracts.
While the world's attention is riveted on Iraq, the United States cannot afford to ignore the brewing crisis in Korea. The Bush administration's approach to North Korea is quickly moving from the inexplicable to the irresponsible. If it continues on the current course, America could soon find itself confronted with the unpalatable choice between a nuclear-armed North Korea and war.
Long before September 11, before the first inspections in Iraq had started, a small group of influential officials and experts in Washington were calling for regime change in Iraq. Some never wanted to end the 1991 war. Many are now administration officials. Their organization, dedication and brilliance offer much to admire, even for those who disagree with the policies they advocate.
<i>The following essay was provided by Mustafa Kibaroglu. Dr. Kibaroglu is assistant professor in the Department of International Relations at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. </i>President George Bush's plans to achieve regime change in Iraq were vastly complicated by Turkey's decision not to allow U.S. troops to stage operations in country. Although U.S. statesmen claim the decision is not important, Turkey's position has serious implications for the potential success of the war plans of the "coalition of the willing."
"Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term-namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic city target," said Robin Cook, former UK foreign secretary and leader of the House of Commons as he resigned his post in protest against the Iraq War. "It probably still has biological toxins and battlefield chemical munitions, but it has had them since the 1980s when US companies sold Saddam anthrax agents and the then British Government approved chemical and munitions factories. Why is it now so urgent that we should take military action to disarm a military capacity that has been there for 20 years, and which we helped to create? Why is it necessary to resort to war this week, while Saddam's ambition to complete his weapons programme is blocked by the presence of UN inspectors?"
It is hard not to be tantalized by the notion that with one hard blow in Iraq the United States could unleash a tidal wave of democracy in a region long gripped by intransigent autocracy. But although the United States can certainly oust Saddam Hussein and install a less repressive regime, Iraqi democracy would not be soon forthcoming.
The Bush administration's new "National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)," announced in December, is wise in some places, in need of small fixes in other places, and dangerously radical in still others.
Next week Jiang Zemin is expected formally to cede the presidency to Hu Juntao. Will China's low-profile foreign policy change too? It is time the leadership re-evaluated the geopolitical assumptions underlying Chinese foreign policy.
Multiple sources now confirm that Iran has an operational uranium-enrichment facility located in Nantanz, 200 miles south of Tehran. In late February, Mohammed ElBaradei, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency visited this facility, which will be placed under international inspection. The plant is currently equipped with 160 new gas centrifuges, with parts reportedly in place for an additional 1,000 machines. Iran has plans to eventually operate the plant with a total of 5,000 centrifuges. According to the <i>Washington Post</i>, when this plant is completed in 2005, Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for several bombs a year.